Interview: Wolf Gang

By on Tuesday, 3rd November 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Wolf Gang (side)We’ve been loving Wolf Gang a lot here at TGTF of late. Yesterday we were fortunate enough to sit down and get a few questions to Max McElligott, the brainchild of Wolf Gang…

Hello Max, what are you up to today?
Today has been a pretty ordinary day spent in rehearsals with my band. When we are not spending hours getting totally lost in crazy and endless guitar solos and rhythmic exploration, there is a cafe where we can chill. A lady there bakes very good carrot cake.

I’ve seen some pretty crazy descriptions of your sound. How would you describe your music?
It’s incredible how descriptive some people can be isn’t it. I would just settle for British pop I suppose. Nice and broad.

I can’t get enough of “The King and All of his Men”. What’s the story behind it?
The song is fundamentally about a battle between good and evil, but I try with lyrics to avoid being too literal, I enjoy playing around with metaphors so that the meaning can be interpreted differently by various people. Having a woman as some source of focus seems to creep into my writing quite a lot though…The video was great because Dan the director knew exactly what I wanted, which was something different, a little arty and theatrical. It was a good laugh to shoot on the day too because a lot of the dancers were my mates, it was all pretty light hearted stuff. I think as a first statement of intent it gets the idea across quite well that the Wolf Gang project is a little different to the more generic band experience that people are used to.

On the subject of song-writing, how does it work for you? Lyrical concept? A riff?
I almost always start with the idea of the music, melodies and chord progressions are what normally pop into my head first. Then I can get a sense of the atmosphere of the song, whether it’s upbeat or slow etc, and start to come up with a theme and some lyrics. Then it’s a case of fitting these lyrics to the rhythm of the music.

Before going on stage do you have any rituals or things you like to do?
I always feel a bit distracted before I play, hate the waiting around, I always want to just go on. I don’t really have any rituals though, I’d love to say we all gather outside right before the gig and howl under the moon, but this would be a lie. Occasionally I go to the loo just before we start, nothing too exciting.

We’re five years down the line. Wolf Gang are huge, selling out arenas and academies like there’s no tomorrow. What’s the Wolf Gang live experience like?
Well, if we are going to be completely hypothetical and imaginative about this, then the first thing I think I want is a huge brass section, and some incredible backing singers like the ones David Bowie used for Young Americans. An orchestra? Might be pushing it a little, but I don’t think it would be unreasonable to have a rhythm section of some talented percussionists. A crazy and well thought out lighting display would be a must, and I’m not ruling out pyrotechnics either. Dancers dressed in otherworldly costumes, be rude not to. Maybe a ghostly Scottish pipe-band to kick start the show with an overture to ‘The King and All Of His Men’, maybe not. I would probably have to change my outfit at least three times throughout the show, I’m not sure. Anway I don’t want to give too much away…

What would be a cool location you’d like to do a gig at?
Umm, the pyramid stage at Glastonbury…?

Finally, what books, music and TV / films are you enjoying at the moment?
A friend recently lent me ‘Tales of the Unexpected‘ which is a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl. They are amazing little gems, pretty dark, but really hilarious and incredibly well written. Short too which is good because my attention span is quite limited these days. I really enjoyed that Spanish film ‘Broken Embraces‘ that was in the cinemas recently, not least because Penelope Cruz looked utterly incredible throughout…Not really bothered by TV if I’m honest.

MP3: Wolf Gang – The King And All Of His Men
MP3: Wolf Gang – Night Flying
MP3: Wolf Gang – Pieces of You

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2 Responses

[…] other news, Wolf Gang (who I’ve been getting a bit obsessive over lately – read our interview here) has just had his new single, The King and All of His Men, remxed twice. Personally I prefer the […]

2:58 am
9th March 2012

[…] It was also played as we were heading to pick the girls up from day care.  This time, the dj preceded it with a mini interview with the songwriter, a British guy with a Mac last name.  He told a story about someone telling him that it was the perfect song for him and his girlfriend, their relationship.  He laughed, saying the song was about terrorism, the fundamental battle between good and evil. […]

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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