pop-rock quartet wolf alice want to play truth or dare...
Named after a short story in which a girl is raised by wolves, Wolf Alice are four super cool friends in their early 20s living in London and tearing their way into our hearts with their grunge-rock-riot-grrrl songs.
Wolf Alice by Amber Grace Dixon
Ellie (on guitar and main vocals) - a very pretty Suzy Bishop-alike with an enviable wardrobe and a lovely voice, Joff - her longtime collaborator who dropped his former teaching plans in favour of playing guitar in the band, Joel the drummer and Theo the bassist all went to the same The Horrors gig when they were 14. They didn't speak to each other then but something supernatural must have gone down because a few years later their pop-rock melodies are travelling the airwaves of radio 1 and (hopefully) the heatwaves of the summer music festivals. As we can't get enough of their new Creature Songs EP, we grabbed the young Londoners for a coffee and a chat. Much like a teen sleepover, topics of conversation covered dance routines, The Simpsons, truth or dare… oh and playing Glastonbury this weekend. We wanna be in your crew, Wolf Alice!
You started out just the two of you right? How did you find the rest of the group?
Joff: We had a drummer too, but I broke his arm… well, he fell off my shoulders at a festival. We lived together for a while. It was a little bit fractious but he put on a brave face! Our manager at the time was friends with Joel, so he stepped in and just stayed. Then we auditioned for ages for a girl bassist and eventually we got Theo.
Ellie: Our in-between!
Joff: Our metro-sexual bass player!
And did you keep Joel because he can sing AND drum at the same time?
Joff: No, just for his hair.
Ellie: I think it's one of THE most impressive things in music though. I can't get my head around it. I can't even play two hands on the piano at the same time!
You're playing Glastonbury this week. Who are you excited about seeing?
Joel: We wanted to see Lana Del Rey but we clash with her.
Joff: The big one for me is Dolly Parton. I can't wait to see her.
Are you going to try and meet her backstage?
Joff: No, I'm not into that.
Theo: I wanna see Jack White. I wanna meet him as well… and get a selfie. These guys will be off seeing the 1975 and I'll be tripping out in Shangri-La. You know those stupid travelling trousers?
Ellie: The ones that Joel wore for Fieldview?
Theo: I'm going to find some of them and get dreads, henna and change my name to… Wetherspoon Lovechild.
Have you thought about this before?
Theo: I've dreamt about it! If you were gonna change your name, what would you change it to?
When I was a child I always wished I was called Snow White. Maybe that?
Theo: Snow's a cool name! I don't know anyone called Snow.
What about the rest of you?
Theo: Ellie would be Suzette!
Ellie: I knew this would spiral out of control! One day I decided I was gonna change my name to Suzette - I don't know why.
Joff: It was our first tour and Ellie was like 'not many people know about us… I might change my name to Suzette!'
Ellie: I thought I had an epiphany.
Theo: But you just had a cold.
In the video for Moaning Lisa Smile there's an amazing dance routine. What're your favourite moves ever?
Ellie: I love the routine in the first OK Go video, the one before the treadmill one. I tried to learn it with a group of my friends at school before the talent show but we were too rubbish.
Joff: The Macarena!
Theo: Jason Derulo's got this new video, and despite the fact that he's an awful misogynist, but the 2 seconds of dancing in it is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Chris Brown too! I'm really inspired by Jason Derulo and Chris Brown's dancing! I hate them, but their moves are incredible.
Do you have any tour bus games?
Ellie: We were driving back from Holland once and we played truth or dare but we called it truth or mare. It was the most fun few hours of my life. It was incredible.
Joff: The most disgusting few hours!
What did you have to do?
Joff: I don't know if a lot of these things should be mentioned really…
Ellie: Well truth or dare is normally a bit boring isn't it? But this was the best ever.
Joff: We were sucking air out of each other's noses!
Sounds very Marina Abramovi?…
Joff: Yeah, it was her dare!
Theo: I snorted a crisp.
Ellie: Someone snorted ham. That was definitely the best tour bus game.
If you were all Simpsons characters. who would you be?
Joff: Ralph, because I'm still learnding.
Ellie: No Joff, you'd definitely be both Patti AND Selma. I like to think I'd be Lisa but I probably wouldn't. Maybe Mr Burns?
Joel: I'd be Snake.
Ellie: Theo would be Bart because they have the same hair.
Which is the greatest, episode, ever?
Joff: The softball episode.
Joel: I used to love the Treehouse of Horrors ones - the one with The Shining was the best.
I like the one where they go to Japan for that gameshow! Did any of you ever fancy a cartoon character?
Ellie: I used to fancy the son in the Goofy movie… he was really hot. He had sunglasses and stuff. And the mum in Aristocats is so beautiful.
She's a sexy cat.
Theo: I used to fancy the Biker Mice From Mars but they were dudes and mice. Plus they were from Mars so it would never had worked.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Theo: This is a contentious issue in this band. I'm shit scared of them but not everyone feels the same way.
Joff: My granddad saw a ghost once.
Ellie: I thought I did once when we stayed in a horrible motel in Newcastle. I had a horrible bunk bed and I woke up and saw someone hovering over me but then kind of woke up more so it might have been a dream.
What's the best feeling in the world?
Theo: That feeling of elation when you've played an amazing show. The 10 seconds of absolute buzz. I think that's why sometimes musicians can take a down route because how do you switch off after you feel that? You can't really replace it with drugs.
Joff: I was riding a bike through Hyde Park the other day in the sunshine. That was pretty good.
As you've only been a band for the past year or so, are you still discovering each other's deep, dark secrets or amusing habits?
Joff: You get to know people almost too intimately when you tour with them.
Joel: Yeah, we're growing up together doing a pretty bizarre thing.
Ellie: We recently found out that a few of us went to the same gig when we were younger. We were all at the same Horrors gig at The Coronet when we were like 14, which is pretty cool!
Wolf Alice are playing Glastonbury this Saturday.
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Amber Grace Dixon