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Interview with Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice

by Jordan Mahoney

It’s been quite a journey for the indie rock band Wolf Alice so far. The initial inception of the group was as an acoustic duo, consisting of Joff Oddie and lead singer Ellie Rowsell. They’ve since evolved to a more electric four-piece, with incredible response from critics and fans alike. Their first studio release in 2015, My Love Is Cool, earned them a Mercury Prize nomination, given to the best album of the year for acts in the UK and Ireland. Past winners include: Portishead, Pulp, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and The XX. It’s a big damn deal.

Needless to say, we’re beyond excited to welcome Wolf Alice to The Shelter on March 31 for their first headlining show in Detroit. We spoke with Ellie Rowsell about music and life.

HWID: When you first formed Wolf Alice, you were an acoustic act. What made your original duo decide to add more to your band?
Ellie Rowsell: We were playing acoustically mainly out of necessity. It was what we had in our houses and what you needed to rock up to an open mic and play some tunes. With confidence in our tunes we then changed to electric which seemed more exciting than playing acoustic songs.

HWID: Your song “Moaning Lisa Smile” peaked at #9 on the Billboard Alternative chart in 2015, and was nominated for a Best Rock Performance Grammy that year. What was your initial reaction to those accomplishments?
ER: I don’t know much about awards and charts, I guess only now with hindsight, I realize how great that was for us. It gives you additional exposure which is helpful. It was flattering to be recognize something like the Grammys, I still feel really surprised by it.

HWID: What are your most essential things to bring on tour?
ER: I bring my computer to make music and to watch films. Books to read, notepads to jot down ideas.

HWID: Being a successful woman in a somewhat male dominated scene, what are some struggles you’ve face?
ER: Sometimes it’s annoying that fashion seems so heavily involved in being a band, and in particular a woman in a band.

HWID: We had “3WW” by alt-J listed as one of our top songs of 2017. How was it working with those guys?
ER: Yeah I love that song and was really happy I got to be a part of it. I was in the studio for about an hour, quick and painless and really enjoyable.

Check them out at The Shelter on March 31!

Listen to their new album, Visions of a Life

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