“It was teen self-indulgence in a way, if that makes sense. When you’re 16 and you hate your parents, boys don’t fancy you and your friends didn’t invite you to their sleepover. You think you’re going through something no one understands so you write a song about it and it makes you feel better. Also I just wanted to be Avril Lavigne…obviously.” And so, Counteract is fully introduced to the origins of Wolf Alice through Ellie Rowsell.
Of course, Wolf Alice is Ellie Rowsell and Ellie Rowsell is Wolf Alice. But where did this alter-ego come from? Ellie has a pretty simple explanation: “I just picked a book off a shelf”. This isn’t the only little coincidence that worked out for the best. Her unique sound came about through experimentation: “Well it started off as a lack of equipment and not really knowing anyone who could play any instruments. I always wanted to be in a band and I kind of thought I could manipulate my acoustic guitar to sound like a couple of electrics and make my electronic beats sound like live drums but I couldn’t… but as it was, I liked what came out instead and so kept that style.”
It has become more and more apparent to me that her music can resonate with just about anyone. “We used to do a monthly night at a pub in North London called The Floirin. It’s an old Irish drinker’s pub and we didn’t quite fit the scene but for some reason it worked. We became best friends with all the locals and they knew all the words and would dance jigs to our songs and stuff even though we were singing about cute boys and period pains.”
They even got to play alongside the king of rock’n’roll. “We played with Elvis Presley once, he’s a local on the Holloway Road where we come from. Basically he’s just this sweet old guy who dresses as Elvis. He was on X Factor actually. We were on the same bill as him to turn on the Christmas lights in Holloway and he drew a bigger crowd than us which was depressing. So actually we didn’t enjoy playing with him at all, in fact I’m really jealous of him. He’s been on TV and everything.” Ellie would sooner collaborate with Justin Timberlake however. “We’d make a movie together then probably get married or something. But seriously I really would love to work with Justin.”
It doesn’t feel ludicrous to imagine Ellie in duetting with Justin over some fresh beats in the near future. Stranger things have happened.
Wolf Alice are set to headline a Communion show in London 3rd June. They are also playing a few festivals in the summer too: Hop Farm, Knee Deep, Barn On The Farm and Peace In The Park.
About Jack Parker
I am a new music fan more than anything else: the latest thing is the greatest thing for me. But I still have time for the golden oldies of music. My favourite band of all time has to be Weird Dreams.