Joel Amey (far left) discusses Wolf Alice's identity in 2017.Big Hassle

Speaking down the phone from his mum’s house on a sunny July afternoon, Wolf Alice’s drummer, Joel Amey, sounds like the sort of guy you’d want to go to the pub with. Honest, friendly, and effortlessly cool. “’Rock’ is a dirty word,” he asserts, “it would be nice to reclaim it from the misogyny and drugs it’s usually associated with and reinvent it for today.” Fans and critics alike have been trying to define Wolf Alice’s genre since their 2015 debut album, My Love is Cool, to no avail. Amey admits that their upcoming LP, Visions of Life, is just as eclectic. “We’re not trying to be a retro band,” he explains, “we don’t try to fit into a box. The new album features a mixture of our heaviest and our softest sounds. The decisions we made on this record are braver and more extreme than last time.”

“We’re not trying to be a retro band,” he explains, “we don’t try to fit into a box.”

Where did this step up in intensity come from? Amey explains that, although the album was written in London, the band recorded it in LA just after the presidential election, and the surrounding political activism and turmoil was a big inspiration. “We landed on the day of the Women’s March in Washington, and it made everything seem so real. Although there’s no direct link to politics on the album, the atmosphere was definitely really inspiring.” The band’s lead vocalist, Ellie Rowsell, is known for her political engagement, having spoken out about voter registration and endorsed Jeremy Corbyn. Does Amey share her views? “Growing up, I found it very difficult to engage in politics. I never felt intelligent or opinionated enough to get involved, but being around Ellie has changed that. It’s not only acceptable, but essential, for everyone to be involved with politics and have an opinion.” Amey has no interest in preaching about politics, and admits that he is not the most clued-up commentator, but “it’s important for bands and other ‘influencers’ to be engaged in current affairs. It’s good to have an opinion, you shouldn’t be intimidated to speak out.”

“It’s important for bands and other ‘influencers’ to be engaged in current affairs. It’s good to have an opinion, you shouldn’t be intimidated to speak out”

When asked which single from Visions of Life he’s most excited about, Amey struggles to answer. “It’s always hard to listen to a record immediately after it’s finished. We’re so hands-on with the mixing that the whole thing is very personal,” he explains. However, having recently been able to listen to the whole album during an American road trip with friends, Amey claims that “each track feels fresh. It’s difficult to choose.”

Speaking of ‘fresh’ music, Amey has a bone to pick with the music industry at the moment. Having played at Glastonbury three times, among several other festivals, Wolf Alice are no strangers to the music festival scene. What did they think of Ed Sheeran’s headline set this summer? “I’m not the biggest fan of Ed’s music, personally, although I respect what he’s doing. It seems like the big festivals are just recycling headliners a lot of the time. It’s stagnating a bit.” Amey favours smaller festivals, such as Latitude and End of the Road, where newer and younger artists get a time to shine. “Things like BBC Introducing are so important for the music industry right now. We don’t want the variety of music to get limited.” In terms of advice for any new musicians out there, Amey encourages the “follow your gut” approach. “I know it sounds cliché, but you’ve really got to believe in the track you’re happiest with, not necessarily the one you think will be a commercial ‘hit’. You only live to regret what you don’t do.”

Wise words and, by the sounds of it, we will only live to regret not listening to Visions of Life. It’s released on 29th September; the singles Yuk Foo, Beautifully Unconventional and Don’t Delete the Kisses are out now

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