Wolf Culture was born out of the seaside town of Bournemouth, England. After the band performed and recorded a series of demos and covers of popular artists under different aliases, the band launched themselves into the scene in 2016 under the moniker ‘Wolf Culture.” In 2018, the band released their debut EP, and rapidly gained a huge momentum within the British alternative music scene. Over the past three years, the band has shared the stage with notable names such as Boston Manor, ROAM, WSTR, Tonight Alive, Jamie Lenman, Hawthorne Heights, Trophy Eyes, Like Pacific and The Dangerous Summer.
I got the chance to talk with the band about their brand new single “Spite”, how they originally came together, what 2020 holds for them in terms of new music and so much more! Keep reading to see what they had to say!
For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what it is now?
The version of Wolf Culture you see today has taken years of blood, sweat and tears to conjure. When we first started, we knew it was going to be a serious endeavour. It’s always been fun but it’s never been a joke to us at all. It all really began when Jay, Jake and I started trying to make music in Jay’s room one night and to be honest, it’s just risen from there. Loads of tours, a debut EP release and a line-up change later and here we are with Reece joining on the bass this year and already proven to be a perfect fit. Since starting the band, we’ve all matured a hell of a lot and I like to think the music shows a deeper understanding of the human experience because of that personal growth.
Where did the name Wolf Culture come from?
Unfortunately, if people are looking for a deeper meaning for the band name then they may be disappointed. I think we were throwing around ideas and were looking for something that could be interpreted differently, depending on the person reading it.
I know you guys are based out of England. What’s the alternative music scene like over there?
There’s some serious untapped talent over here that is just getting overlooked constantly. Every tour we’ve been on to date, I’ve looked at at least one of the bands we’ve shared the stage with and just thought, “How are they not famous already?”. I think England is a melting pot of genres and that creates the most “out there” music. Honestly, if a mate shares a band with you on Facebook, or whatever, please take the time to give them a listen because Britain, in particular, seems to be churning out some really great stuff and it will mean the world to the band in question. Listen to Wolf Culture first though, obviously.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. So if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I, personally, find it incredibly hard to define our music solely because I’m a part of the process. I wouldn’t ever really like to put a label on it just because I know that what lies ahead signifies the chains coming off of Wolf Culture and we’re ready to make the best tracks we can, even if it that means they sound completely different in genre to one another.
Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a group?
My taste in music has always been quite fickle, I think. I tend to binge a great album for a couple of weeks and then not want anything to do with it for a year. At the moment, I’m digging Sunny Day Real Estate quite a bit in my car as well as The Posies’ “Coming Right Along” to name a couple of bands. I think we’re all pretty open-minded musicians when it comes down to it but it was definitely the Alt/Punk bands that glued the band together in the early days.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Spite” What inspired this song?
I sat down to write the song on several occasions. I tend to work on a song over huge periods of time because I needed each line crafted to have the effect I want it to have on the listener. Every time, I would have the intention of writing with anger but also wanting to express the emotions I felt when having “adult life” hit me. I first started writing the song straight out of college during a lull that I think most of my age group had where you’ve now got money coming in and you just want to drink away your problems until you find your “calling”. Thankfully, I had the band to guide me through, but who knows where I would be if I didn’t. My favourite line, at least today, is definitely: “I’ll piss you all off out of spite, so I can feel the sting”. I just think it summarizes the situation of a person feeling so little that they feel the need to piss off the people they love just to get a reaction.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically?
I think I sat down with my acoustic guitar and wrote the guitar parts despite the fact that the guitar only had like 3 strings. When a song comes to me, I really just need to sit down and get it nailed, otherwise I feel like I won’t be able to capture the emotional intensity that I feel in that given moment. I remember wanting to have these verses that felt like they were sung through gritted teeth and a pre-chorus with grunge vibes to keep the mood quite dark and then break through to a more upbeat-sounding chorus to contrast and make the track quite bittersweet.
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you guys know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Spite” or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?
Once I had a general idea of the structure, we recorded a demo of the song just as guitar, bass and vocals. When approaching song ideas as a band, I always give the guys an idea of what vibe I’m going for. Even if the vibe is angry and all that means is we play as hard as we can, we think it makes all the difference. We try our best to make sure the emotion isn’t just expressed vocally.
Was there any major changes made to “Spite” once you guys got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
We had the pleasure of recording with Neil Kennedy at The Ranch just outside of Southampton (UK), which was exactly what we needed. We wanted to ensure certain emotions were conveyed and gave it to Neil who kept that in mind whilst producing the track. He really went out of his way to make sure that the song lived up to our vision, whilst making small changes here and there to bring it up to scratch.
You guys also got to film a music video for this song. What was your experience shooting that video like? Was that your first time shooting a music video?
“Spite” is actually our third ‘proper’ music video, the other two being “Wreck” and “Continents” from our debut. The shoot for the video was hectic but we’re pleased with how it turned out. Our good friend Nathan Roach (aka. Coal Poet) actually travelled down to us to co-direct the video with our guitarist Jay. It was shot over two days and the schedule was tight. The first day was shooting in an old disused barn. It was all very last-minute but thankfully the good people at the Coda Music Trust let us use it, which we’re eternally grateful for. Jay and Reece had spent a week or so, prior to this, constructing a living room set. Super DIY.
The second location was the Regent Centre, a local theatre, that also very kindly available helped us out. However, in typical Wolf Culture fashion, Max came down with some mystery illness that was a bit of a hurdle to overcome. Let’s just say that if he looks in pain in the video, it’s because he truly is.
What does 2020 hold for you guys in terms of new music? Any plans to release an EP or a full-length album?
There’s plenty more Wolf Culture to come, we can assure you. Let’s just say that the new year marks a new era of Wolf Culture and we’re not f*cking around.
You guys are still relatively new to the music game. What are some musicindustry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
We would like to be at the stage where we can rely on music as our sole income. I think that’s all any musician wants nowadays. We just want to write honest sh*t, put on a great show and come home and write more sh*t. We’ve got a few things coming up that we think people will really relate to.
Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
History. Me (Max), Jay and Reece watch a stupid amount of history programs. World War 2 in Colour is a personal favourite of mine at the moment on Netflix.