What are 5 big tunes you’ll be playing this weekend?
The National – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Sylvan Esso – Signal
The War On Drugs – Thinking Of A Place
Aldous Harding – Imagining My Man
Conz – Sun Up
What’s the best set/gig you’ve ever been at?
Rage Against The Machine at Reading in 2008 stands out, or Bon Iver at Glastonbury in 2011.
How was SXSW? You had done it before, right?
Yeah we played it last year as well. It’s such a good festival – so much to see and do and consume! The food and drink offering in Austin is incredible as it’s home to some wicked food trucks like La Barbecue and local breweries like Lazarus. Of course it’s a chance to see some great music as well. A few of our favourites we saw this year include Billie Eilish, Kano, Future Islands, CHINAH and Phoria.
This year we felt we played better slots in better venues – perhaps this was thanks to playing two years on the trot. It’s a great way to make new fans as people stumble upon the stage you’re playing at, and a good festival for your existing fans as you play multiple shows, so if they miss you the first time round as they’re watching another act, then theres always another chance!
Oh, and the weather is glorious!
What artist do you think is most commonly underappreciated?
I think a lot of our favourite artists tend to be under-appreciated, I guess it’s because it’s part of an alternative music scene which you could say as a whole is commonly under-appreciated. The fact that such artists are rarely played on commercial radio or recognised at award ceremonies such as The Brits and The Grammys etc, and for artists like that it can take years and years until you breakthrough. Some examples of artists like this; Arthur Beatrice, Solomon Grey, Phoria, Susanne Sundfor, Keaton Henson.
What is next for Mt. Wolf?
We’re releasing our debut album ‘Aetherlight’ on 26th May, playing album launch shows in London, Manchester and Bristol on 8th, 9th & 10th June. We’re planning more extensive tours for the end of the year in Europe, and hopefully America.
Your video for ‘Heavenbound’ is amazing – where did the idea come from?
Thank you very much! The basic idea was that we wanted to show something something positive coming from a really dark & horrific situati. Heavenbound deals with the different journeys entangled with death. The song is largely about letting go and moving on, while the video takes a slightly different approach: compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love for others can triumph in the face of hate and violence.
Bohemia’s lack of decipherable language is similar to Sigur Ros’ use of Hope-landic. Have they been an influence on the band?
Yes they have for sure – their soundscapes are amazing. With Bohemia, the intention was for the song to have lyrics but Bassi didn’t really really like the lyrics he wrote. As the song was a call for help to the heavens, we decided the chanty guide vocals worked.
The band’s sound has developed across those early releases to today: do you feel that the album represents Mt. Wolf as you had always wanted to hear them?
We’ve changed a lot as a band over the years. With our earliest releases we were essentially a different band in many ways, we had a different singer and we had different influences. Since we reformed at the end of 2014 we’ve taken a different path, and this album represents the journey along that new path. It’s good to feel like you’re constantly moving and developing; we feel we achieved absolutely everything that we wanted to with this album but we are also looking forward to seeing where the future takes Mt. Wolf and for us to work on many more albums together.
If you wanted someone to listen to the band for the first time – but they could only hear three songs, which would those be and why would you pick each?
We intentionally released our first 3 album singles to be a preview of what was instore. So would have to say ‘The Electric’, ‘Heavenbound’ and ‘Bohemia’.
Your album arrives out at a difficult time for the world. With further cuts to the arts world looking likely under the next government, what is music’s place right now? Where will it be in 100 years?
It’s not over yet, just as long as people vote! You have to always remain positive, and hopeful. Hopeful in people and in humanity as whole and the arts are vitally important for that. Music and the arts in general kill fascism, because as Nietzsche said it can “break the hardest of hearts with the softest of its melancholy tones”, and it can act as a counter to all the darkness in the world. As long as we can survive and look after this planet, in 100 years time music will be just as important – for as long as there are humans on this planet, there will be music.