Wolf Alice talk hmv.com through the making of new album Visions Of A Life...
Much was expected of North London foursome Wolf Alice when they released their debut LP My Love Is Cool, but they surpassed all expectations. The record went gold, yielded five hit singles and propelled the band around the world for a non-stop tour that ended up lasting more than two years.
After a short break, they returned to the studio to begin work on new album Visions Of Life, an album which arrives on shelves this week.
To find out how it all came together we sat down with guitarist Joff Oddie...
How did you want Visions Of A Life to move on from My Love Is Cool?
“On the first record, we were only willing to go so far with how we pushed things. If I listen back to that record now I hear things that we should have done, but we didn’t have the time or the confidence to do. This time we were adamant that we wanted to be brave and to push things as far as we wanted to push things. There were no feelings of regret this time, this is a record that’s just to please ourselves, it’s our only gauge of what’s good.”
You toured very, very hard for the first album, over two years, were you collecting songs all that time or did you have to go home and decompress?
“Little snippets were written on the road, so we were collecting a lot, but you never finish anything, it’s very difficult to finish songs on tour, there’s no privacy, nowhere to work and it’s very hard to get all four of us in a room to work, which is how we work best. So we finished touring, had a couple of weeks off and then we went through all that material and tried to make sense of it.”
You recorded in Los Angeles, how was living and working out there?
“I think if it was up to us, we’d have stayed in London, but Justin (Meldal-Johnsen, producer) was out there and it was easier for us to go to him than the other way round. He was the only factor in that decision, we knew he was the guy to do the job.”
Which made you decide on Justin Meldal-Johnsen to produce the album?
“He’s got an amazing and really wide-ranging palette. He can do so many different things, it’s almost like he doesn’t have a sound as a producer, he can completely facilitate you and bring out a band’s sound. M83 is this big, polished, lush sounding world and then you’ve bands like The Raveonettes which is raw and gnarly, so rough and tough. He can do so much and we like to cover a lot of ground in our music and we needed someone who could facilitate that."
How was he to work with?
“It was wonderful. He’s an amazing musician. He’s probably the best session player in the world and he knows music completely. To work with someone of that pedigree and calibre was incredible.”
Was it a long process to make this album?
“We were there for three months in all. It was over double the amount of time it took to do My Love Is Cool. It was what we needed. You don’t have a very long time to write the second record, which is exacerbated by the fact that it’s a new process and you work completely differently from how you wrote before, so it was really nice to be allowed some extra time in the studio to make sure no stone has been left unturned.”
When did you settle on Visions Of A Life for the album title?
“It was quite late on during recording. It was a lyric in a song, then it became the song title and it was a phrase that stuck in our heads. It’s a series of snapshots of the last two years, little chapters, it’s just a name that fits everything.”
You toured relentlessly last time, will it be the same again? And what kind of live set are you planning?
“We’ll do the same. We’re going to gig ourselves into the ground. We just want to pick up where we left off and keep the momentum. We did this secret set at Reading and Leeds and it was very hard to decide what to put in the half an hour, so we’re looking forward to having more to choose from.”