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Wolf People

The quartet venture through warped folk, psyche-rock, blues, to 60s swing

It is always a thrill when something peculiar and exciting emerges from deep within those enchanted woods; Wolf People thrive on that spark which sets them apart from the hullabaloo of those who are content to remain distinctly within the realms of the expected. Released on Jagjaguwar upon February 22nd, the surging Tidings sees the quartet venture through a warped haze, digesting folk, psyche-rock, blues, 60s swing and samples plucked and strewn from throughout history. Even the muffled voices of dead relatives rear their otherworldly heads through the crackling feedback. It appears no genre can thwart their voyage and when seamlessly weaved together, it makes for an enthralling listen.  
Dazed Digital: What made you decide to release ‘Tidings’ as your debut, as opposed to a traditional album?
Jack Sharp (singer/guitarist): It was a bit of a selfish, cathartic thing for me. I’ve had these songs recorded for years and although most had been released, it feels really good to have them all next to each other on one album. It’s a strange way to start out on a new label but I’m really happy with it as an introduction to the general ethos of the band, even if it doesn’t capture fully what we’re up to at the moment.
DD: What inspired you go on such a musical adventure?
Jack Sharp: Me and Tom (Watt - drums) had been producing hip-hop for years and had been exposed to loads of different types of records for sampling, and we gradually became more interested in the records than the samples, started buying psych and folk and jazz and prog and discovering all these things that were new to us. I also moved out of London in 2005, started playing my guitar a lot more and got massively into the first Pentangle LP and Beefheart’s Safe as Milk at that time, so it's my naive attempt to recreate aspects of those records.
DD: How will this intricate compilation, an amalgamation of the weird and wondrous, translate live?
Jack Sharp: We’ve never set out to copy the records live, as long as the spirit of the recordings is there we tend to go with what sounds best. I recorded almost all the instruments on Tidings myself so I can’t expect people to play them in exactly the same way and get any enjoyment out of it. We extend parts, skew rhythms, change arrangements and keys to make it a more cohesive live set that’s more fun to play and hopefully listen to. There will be newer songs in the set too, from the forthcoming record, and there might be a few little surprises that we haven’t done before.
DD: Your artwork is peculiar and enchanting, as perhaps would be expected, what influences do you draw on for this aspect of the band?
Jack Sharp: Luke Insect did the artwork for our singles on Battered Ornaments records and we’ve tried to keep up the standard in the other stuff we’ve done. Joe has done a lot of our artwork for us, which is amazing. He’s an artist as his day job. We’re obviously obsessed with records so we want the sleeves to be as good as our favourite albums.
DD: Now that we’re all full to the brim with anticipation, what is next for Wolf People?
Jack Sharp: We’re almost finished with our first proper album, which will come out later this year.
DD: Who are your musical legends?
Jack Sharp: Dungen and especially Reine Fiske who is a woefully underrated guitarist. Mighty Baby, MF Doom, Pentangle, The Magic Band etc…
DD: And rogues?
Jack Sharp: If you’re talking loveable rogues, people who were probably a bit horrible but made some great music? John Martin, Frank Zappa, Robbie Robertson, Ike Turner.
DD: First musical memory?
Jack Sharp: Probably a cassette of Graceland that my parents had. We used to go to a lot of carnivals and CND rallies in London when I was very young so I probably took in a lot of 80’s reggae and dancehall too.
Dan Davies (bass): My sister and I ate the cut-out insert from Sgt Pepper's- I must've been about 3 or 4; I ate the cut-out moustache and the epaulettes.
Tom Watt: For me it was probably the theme to the BBC radio play of Lord Of The Rings; quite a simple piece of music but as a Tolkien-obsessed kid it used to completely draw me into Middle Earth... and still does.
Jack Sharp: Joe (Hollick - guitar) isn’t around to answer this but I know his dad used to play him 'First Girl I Loved' by Incredible String Band when he was really young.
DD: Fantastical future collaboration?
Jack Sharp: We’d love to play with Dungen, or even just stand near them while they play. I’d also be keen to do something with the Soundcarriers, they seem to have a really good attitude to making music.