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Interview: Wolf Alice

Ellie Roswell tells Music Editor Hannah Brierley that whilst sexism and inequality in the music industry is still rife, it’s the duty of women like her “raise other women up”

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Wolf Alice are set to release their eagerly anticipated album ‘Visions of a Life’ which is released on the 29th of September. The group are also going on a worldwide tour which includes a UK tour starting in November this year.

I asked leading lady Ellie Roswell a bit about the groups’ background and origins: “It’s a pretty boring story if I’m honest’. Ellie told me the four-piece met through a mutual friend, and laughs that she wishes it was a more exciting beginning. The name itself though comes from a book by Anthony Carter called The Bloody Chamber.

This summer has been a slightly quiet one for Wolf Alice, as they have been working on this new album release. However, they did find the time to do a surprise 30-minute set at Reading and Leeds (R&L).

“I love that festival because everyone is so much fun and up for anything.” She went on to explain that R&L is full of people celebrating as most of the people attending have just either finished their GCSE’s or A-Levels; it’s just a massive party.

She added that festivals like Knee Deep and 2000 Trees are great to go to too, despite them being a lot smaller in capacity: “everyone is there for the music, they appreciate it more”. However, it is Glastonbury festival that has a special place in Ellie’s heart as it was the first festival she ever attended, though if she could put together her own festival, her dream headliners would be: Kanye West, Nick Cave and Tame Impala. Who’d have guessed?

The new album itself has changed in many ways whilst remaining true to Wolf Alice’s sound that has been so successful, and that people know and love. They experiment with styles in guitar pop and rock and keeping the grungy undertones throughout. The album radiates with punk rage, that’ll want you to keep the album on repeat.

As comebacks go, a punch is hurled by the exhilarating rage rush of previously released single ‘YUK FOO’, briskly laying waste to all it meets in a little over two minutes. “You bore me, you bore me to death,” Ellie screams, “Well, deplore me. No, I don’t give a shit”.

Who the “you” is, is up to us. “We wanted to make it open to interpretation so that anyone who was frustrated at something or someone could have it as their anthem,” explains Ellie. She herself was inspired by “being sick and fed up of certain expectations; for me, a lot of it is about being a young woman. Even the everyday wolf-whistle thing. As I get older, I feel like ‘Why have I always put up with that?’ When I sing that kind of song, it’s everything that I want to do when stuff like that happens.”

There isn’t a huge female presence in the rock music genre, so for a lot of hopeful female musicians, she is a huge role model. Ellie told me “there’s nothing to stop girls changing it, it is always going to be intimidating but also at the same time really empowering.”

But for her, working in the music industry has really opened her eyes to the widespread bias and inequality, but as it is so ingrained in our culture sometimes it is easy to normalise and shrug things off.

“To change it, you just need to be the best you can be. Raise other women up along the way.”

The talented singer and guitarist, finished up by talking about the new release coming up that she recognizes that it is a lot mature, as they have all grown up along with it but it still has a fun side. “It’s hard to summarise your own music it’s so hard to do it justice.”

“The past two years were such amazing highs and then really extreme lows that we’ve never encountered before,” says Ellie. “That’s this album.”

‘VISIONS OF A LIFE’ is out on the 29th September.

Photo: Dirty Records

Photo: Dirty Records