INTERVIEW | Wølffe
I think it’s awesome that you work with Guy Chambers at Sleeper Sounds Studio. From what I hear, I really like the studio setup that you work at. I’m so happy that Arthur Delaney, from HÆLOS, connected me to you.
He’s such an incredible guy! We are really good friends and I opened up for his band a year and a half ago. I’m so grateful he put us in touch!
What kind of music advice did you receive from Arthur?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else thinks about your music, including when management and record labels tell you what you want to hear. He said, “The truer you are to your art and the less you give a shit about what everyone else thinks, the happier you will be and the more you will achieve.”
HÆLOS did a great job with the use of samples on their record. I also think your production was intriguing! Tell me more about how you approach production on your record.
The closest I’ve ever got to producing is by communicating what I like to hear to producers who I tend to have a connection with. I think I’ve found a solid sound by working with certain producers over and over again. In terms of production, I am in the studio listening to thousands of samples and banks of sounds and I’ll pick out those I like or I’ll reference sounds from another artist’s track that I love.
That’s fascinating! I love hearing about your process. How did you get started making music?
I grew up in a musical household: my dad would play incredible piano and my mom could always identify hit songs on the radio when I was growing up. I started playing piano and when I was six, and I continued to learn.
When I was twelve-years-old, in one of my music classes in school, we were all paired up to write a song. I hadn’t done this before, so I paired up with my friend to write a song. I found the process incredible! We wrote songs that were terrible, but we carried on writing. I played keys and sang harmonies, and my friend would sing lead in our band.
When I got to the age of seventeen, all I wanted to do was get out to write and perform on my own. At that time, I didn’t want to carry on with school, all I wanted to get out and perform. I was so uninterested to finish my studies, I wanted to go to London and learn song-writing properly. In my school, all you could learn was classical music, so we had no lessons on modern pop music and how to write.
Weirdly, I met this guy on a train when I was 18, going down to London for my interview with Goldsmiths College, which is a music and arts college in London. He mentioned that his friend was a music manager, and so I sent over some demos to him and he agreed to take me on. I moved to London when I finished school. I dropped out early at Goldsmiths pretty quickly because I was actually put on the wrong course. It was a course for music computing like learn how to build a computer and how to build synths. I was like “Noo! I just want to learn how to write songs.” I left Uni and I’ve been here ever since doing my thing.
It’s great to hear about your background to understand how far you’ve come! I know a lot of musicians that have dropped out of school because it wasn’t the right thing for them. They could pursue making music without dropping a ton of money on a degree.
Exactly. I was so unenthused by my course. I was in a rock band when I was 18 and we would tour with Blondie and it was cool, but it was very guitar driven music.
It was so fun! But looking back on it know (I am 24 now), I felt so young! We never really performed, until a booking agent contacted us to be a UK support act for Blondie four days later. So we rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed until we opened for Blondie for 7,000 people.
My stage shows now are so different because the music I am making now has changed. I was literally rooted to the microphone on the stand. I would never really move around. Now, I would never stay rooted to the stand.
I wasn’t in control of the writing process when I was in a band. Because I didn’t play guitar, because I was relying on others to come up with cool riffs and ideas, I felt really disconnected. I realized I wasn’t happy with the band: at that stage I was really into electronic music. I was obsessed with vocal production and sampling, and I couldn’t really do that with rock music and the band I had. I spent six months thinking of ways to come up with a new identity before the idea of Wølffe was born. I think I’m one of the happiest people in the world, but my writing is never from a happy place.
I’d love to hear more about where your music comes from. What experiences or topics are you drawing from to create this potent lyricism?
In terms of my writing, I read a lot and am in tune with my friend’s emotions and what they go through. I am easily inspired by things and I love the idea of storytelling. The basis of my writing is by the direct experiences. I have several friends who have battled drinking and drug addiction and I’ve been lucky that most of them are okay, but I find their recovery experience so inspiring. I couldn’t understand how people could feel a certain way that they did and how they could put themselves through that.
Can you walk me through what your live performance is like, for those who haven’t had the chance to see you live yet? What do you like to do to engage and captivate an audience?
The live shows, at the moment, are me giving my artistry on stage. I have created this dark character that talks about particularly dark things. On stage, especially when you have friends coming (especially to the earlier shows) you have to stay in this role. When you’re on stage singing those badass bitch songs, you bring it! I think that the movement on stage is due to growing up as a performer.
It’s the little things in performance that showcase the talent of a performer. It’s so difficult to nail it! So that’s why I was curious about your live performance, I think there’s a lot to learn from your experiences.
I try to connect with the audience as much as I can. I would never want a separation between the audience and I. I want it to be intrusive. I begin the set walking through the crowd before walking on stage. When people come to watch my performance, I’m not just going to be standing up on stage stuck in one spot. I’ve just designed a neon W sculpture for on stage, and ordered strip lighting for the floor, so that it is an immersive experience.
I love that! So then you have other musicians joining you on stage?
I want to be live-produced on stage. I don’t like the idea of pressing a button and pre-programmed sounds come out.
What venues have you performed? Where do you perform?
I could also see your music transcending London, UK and branching out internationally. I hear it floating over the water to the States. Have you ever considered touring the US?
That’s my ultimate goal to have as many people hearing my music. I am obsessed with traveling when I can. To be able to go to America or anywhere around the world to play (and being paid to do so) is the grand plan.
Where do you like to travel?
I spent time in New York and Los Angeles working on songwriting, which was amazing! I loved LA, but if anything, NYC was so much more my kind of vibe.
One thing I definitely want to highlight is you just dropped a new music video and it was sooo EPIC! Tell me more about the choreography and who you worked with?
The choreographer is my best girlfriend in the world, Olivia Brown. The dancers involved were all professional dancers, so I was blown away with that aspect of the music video.
You were also featured in the video! You were the one that had to wear the elaborate costume makeup.
I know! We probably spent four to five sessions to fit these prosthetics on my cheeks! We basically used liquid latex to stick them down. Eventually we had an effects artists on the day of the shoot.
The transformation of the characters were swift and seamless, especially with the darkness in your eyes and cheek implants reminded me of Lady Gaga.
The film came together In the last two weeks. It was the most intense experience in my life, I am not sure if I could ever work in film again because it’s utterly crazy. Everyone on the team was so focused. We made the video on a budget of 1,000 pounds. I shot the film in my house, in South London. The biggest expense was ordering the food for a crew of 25 people!
I noticed you posted the “Fuck With Me” music video with the caption: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” What was your message in the video?
On the surface, the concept seems like this girl is encouraging this masochistic love from this guy. What I didn’t want was to show a woman not in power or in control. This song is all about this girl who loves being fucked around by this guy; she’d rather be with him whilst he’s screwing her around, than not be with him.
The focus of the video was on the power that women have in the relationship. It depicts the rise and the fall of manipulation in love. It perhaps physicalized the relationship. On the subject, I’ve had friends who have been through that, so I was conscious, I wanted to depict that in a way that wasn’t offensive or in bad taste, but I did want it to be an element of the film. Bottom line, the message is, “you can fuck with me, but you can’t actually fuck with me.”
I sense a lot of confidence from you, especially in how you carry yourself visually and in your style. Tell me how you’ve cultivated your style and brand? I am also dying to know where you got that sweater you’re wearing!
This sweater is from a charity shop and cost me three pounds! You can find the most interesting things at a thrift store or a charity shop! I’ve spent a long time as an artist [not making that much money], so I’ve had to improvise on fashion. Eighty percent of my wardrobe is my friend’s clothes (or even my boyfriend’s clothes). I get obsessed with street style, especially walking around in New York and Paris. I could be on the London underground and see someone looking incredible, and then I will try to emulate their style.
My step-grandmother was a Swedish supermodel and so I was handed down a load of her clothes, and her wardrobe was amazing! So I am fascinated by these beautiful, vintage clothes.
That’s awesome how you approach fashion, I admire it! To wrap up, what’s your domination plan into 2018? What are you dreaming about?
I’ve never let go of the dream to tour the world, and I think it’s going to be a tough road, but I’ve been so dedicated to my art and creating. I hope to have three singles out by the end of the year. I hope to have an album out in 2018.
Here’s her latest music video for her single, “Fuck with Me,” available on VEVO.
Check out her newest single “I Want U,” which is available digitally via iTunes and Spotify today!