posted on 02 Jun 2012 01:17 by wadoiji23 in WolfGang directory Entertainment
A Word with Wolf Gang
by Nicole Pajer and Catie Laffoon
April 18, 2012
Source : http://www.chinashopmag.com/2012/04/a-word-with-wolf-gang/
Max McElligott made music in his bedroom, as a hobby, and fully intended to continue studying social anthropology and politics at the London School of Economics. Life had a different plan for McElligott and he quickly realized that the world was interested in making his music more than just a side project. He dropped out of school and began to focus on music full time, calling his project Wolf Gang. After creating a buzz in the UK scene, McElligott sought out a band through friends in London and has been building up a fan base ever since.
Wolf Gang recently arrived in the US to take the stage at Coachella where they performed for thousands on Friday of weekend one. The alt rockers are also supporting Miike Snow in Los Angles on April 18th and playing Coachella weekend two before jumping on a summer tour with Coldplay.
We huddled up with McElligott and the rest of the Wolf Gang guys (Lasse Petersen, James Wood, and Gavin Slater) at a picnic table in the Coachella VIP area to discuss annoying neighbors with their bedroom recordings, romantic terrorist songs, and their upcoming tour with Coldplay.
Max, is it your sister that is a designer? We saw a link that you posted to your Facebook page showing off her work.
Max: Yes. She was a while ago. She’s not anymore.
Are you very fashionable yourself since you have a sister that is into that?
Max: I wouldn’t say that I was very fashionable but it’s quite nice to try and wear sharp clothes and stuff. I’ve got two sisters so they’ve been helping me out I guess. When I was growing up, the 12-16 years they were helping me out.
Lasse: Now it’s me. That’s actually my shirt.
Max: Lasse is like my mother.
Lasse: I actually ironed his shirt this morning.
Max: Lasse does the cooking…
Is that really your shirt?
Lasse: Yes it is. And I ironed it!
That is dedicated – ironing the shirt of the fellow band members.
Lasse: I’m kind of the hen mother. We’re writing at the moment so I’m always cooking for everyone.
Gavin: Yeah we get the drums done and then he makes dinner.
That’s a good deal. Is it true that your debut album came to you in a dream?
Max: The name did, “Suego Faults” It was kind of bizarre. I wake up and I had this name. It was a name of a place that I had completely made up. I have quite vivid dreams. They can be quite intense.
Was it just the name that came to you or was there a scene associated with it?
Max: Yeah it was like a story. It was one of those dreams that seem to last for years and then you wake up and it was probably only two minutes. It was a whole kind of thing. It was like a utopia kind of dreamy place that you go to and it was called “Suego Faults.”
Was that hard to explain to people at first?
Max: A little bit.
Max, you didn’t intend to make music for a living when you first started out. Were you just doing it in your bedroom and putting it online?
Max: Yeah, completely. It was just something that I’ve always really loved and never thought that I could do as a career. It’s great that it’s going so well now.
What was your reaction when you found out that people were into your stuff and wanted to sign you and work with you?
Max: It was very exciting and it all happened quite quickly. I just dropped out of University in my last year and six months later I signed a deal with Atlantic. It all happened – everything was spinning around.
So, you were making music by yourself and then decided to add a full band? How did you hook up with the rest of the guys?
Max: We all met through friends of friends really, just in London. Lasse was playing with another band before, so was Gavin. James was up writing in Newcastle and stuff so we had friends of friends and they sort of put us together and we’ve been playing for 2-3 years together.
Lasse: Sometimes it just clicks. It’s nice.
That’s great that it was an instant thing. There are so many bands we talk to that go through different members in the beginning and have to try out a new drummer or guitar player…
Max: Oh yeah.
Gavin: The guitar player isn’t really working in this band either. There’s nothing going on behind these eyes.
Max: We’re gonna have to talk about that.
Do you still make demos in your bedroom or does the label make you go in the studio now?
Max: Yeah. It’s the best way. We were in Berlin for a couple of months just writing there but we came back and we’re just doing it from my bedroom in London and that’s where I think we’ve done the most work. It’s just so simple and there’s no pressure of being in the studio.
James: The next-door neighbors don’t really like it.
Gavin: There’s this really horrible woman next store who is always banging on the door. You try to do a vocal take and all you can hear is pounding.
Max: One neighbor loves it and one hates it. We test the waters with her. She comes out of the house, “That song was very lyrical. I really enjoyed that.”
That’s how you know you have good material, when the neighbor comes over?
Max: Yeah. And the other one just bangs on the wall. She’s a woman of few words.
What’s the last record that you guys bought? Do you still buy records or do you just do iTunes now?
Lasse: I buy vinyl.
Gavin: A band called Field Music – their new album, “Plumb.” It’s very good.
Are they from the UK?
Gavin: Yeah they are from Sunderland.
Lasse: I actually found a whole – I didn’t actually buy it – vinyl set of Nick Drake in my garbage bin. It was brand new.
Max: During your weekly scouring of bins?’
Lasse: It was still wrapped in the plastic.
Gavin: That’s so annoying. Those are the most expensive records I’ve ever bought. They are like 50 pounds each and he found it in his bin.
Lasse: It was all his three albums and he’s amazing.
That’s crazy. Just waiting in the trashcan for you?
James: I bought a Don Henley album for “The Boys of Summer” and that’s it. I wouldn’t recommend the whole album.
Max: I bought some 80’s records in Oxford, Simple Minds records.
Max, you’ve mentioned that you’re a big fan of 80’s cheesy music and proud of it. Any bands in particular?
Lasse: That’s some of the best music.
Max: I think we all love it. It was great songwriting wasn’t it? That’s why you hear all these covers these days of someone singing it on a piano and it’s an 80’s song that they’ve rehashed and the choruses are so good and the verses are undisputable.
What is “The King and All of His Men” about?
Max: It started off being about terrorism – addressing a terrorist – and then it kind of just went through an imaginative process and a romantical tune came out kind of sounding like a love song. I wrote it about terrorism and a man at our gig came up to me afterwards and said, “Man that song ‘The King and All of His Men’ – I’m splitting up with my girlfriend and it’s just exactly what’s happening in my life.” It wasn’t about that at all but I love that he interpreted it that way.
So it was a terrorist song turned romantic love story?
Gavin: We’re not romanticizing terrorism though.
So it has nothing to do with terrorism anymore?
Max: No it does. It’s addressing someone like a terrorist about sort of having a fight thrust on you and it’s like why are you fighting me? It’s got nothing to do with me. It’s not my fight.
Lasse: It’s always good when songwriting gets to be ambiguous for others to interpret it as they like.
Yeah that really sucks in the fans and they associate it with what is going on in their life. Then they read an interview and are like, “Oh that’s what that song means?”
Max: Yeah. [Laughs]
I saw a girl post on her Facebook page that your music makes her want to take over the world. What do you guys hope to accomplish with your music?
Gavin: Well we hope she’s not a terrorist!
Max: I think what we enjoy most is traveling with it and touring and being in places like this and just seeing if we can keep doing that.
James: Performing in front of as many people as possible.
Max: We want to keep playing bigger and bigger stages. I think we’re all sort of hungry for our music to reach out to as many people as possible.
Lasse: It’s the most fun job you can have I think.
Gavin: It’s great when we’re playing live, which is what we’re really pushing at the moment – just seeing people really enjoying themselves like we enjoy ourselves when we play. You see so many people go up and look bored when they play.
Lasse: I love looking over at James and he’s sweating his mind out and he’s just going for it with a massive smile on his face.
Gavin: I swear he’s the happiest guy in the world when he’s on the stage. This guy’s got some serious moves. He can cut a rug.
Max, when you were in school, what were you studying? What was your plan before the music thing took over?
Max: I was studying social anthropology and politics at the LSE in London and I guess I didn’t really know what I was going to be. It was social science I guess. I had some weird fantasy about joining the foreign office and kind of being like a James Bond – just a real boyish kind of ambition. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. That was my degree.
What else is on the agenda for Wolf Gang for 2012?
Max: We’re coming back to America in June to support Coldplay. We’re doing twelve of their dates on the US tour.
Are you excited to play with Coldplay?
Have you met the Coldplay guys before?
Max: Not yet.
James: We’re looking forward to it.
Are you big Coldplay fans?
Max: Yeah. I love their first album.
Gavin: Their first two albums are soundtracks to a very good time in my life.
Are you nervous at all to meet them?
Gavin: I usually get very nervous so I’m going to be.
Max: Gav has a few drinks before he goes on stage.
You’ll have to take some shots….
Gavin: I can’t control the anxiety. I’m very shaky, even at small gigs and stuff; I’m not very good at going on stage.
Max: But when you’re on stage, you’re fine.
Gavin: I just look at James and then I’m off.
It will get easier as you play more.
Gavin: Well that’s the thing. If it gets easier then maybe you’ve lost it a bit. I like to try and be as nervous as possible before shows. That means I’m still enjoying it.
Max: Gav’s a strange man.
Gavin: I give myself Chinese burns and everything. I punish myself.
Max: Yeah let’s just stop there.
What bands have you guys caught this weekend?
Max: Bon Iver last night was amazing.
Gavin: That was incredible!
Lasse: Really really good.
Gavin: And then a bit of Radiohead.
Lasse: Me and Gav went to see The Shins.
Max: Can you even remember that Gav?
Gavin: I’ve been told I went to see The Shins. No I remember. It was incredible. All three bands we saw yesterday were incredible.
Lasse: You know, we’re making it up. You didn’t go. You were trapped in the toilet for two hours.
Gavin: I’m not even here right now am I?
Was there a lot of after show celebrating?
Gavin: There was yeah!
It’s all good. It’s Coachella!