Tom Leighton, Dale Tonks and Karl Selickis, Wolf Jaw
Sarah caught up with Tom, Dale and Karl ahead of their set at Rebellion Manchester supporting the mighty Crobot. Here we talk Download festival, a change of pace, and playing in space…
“Hello guys! How are we tonight? How did last night go?”
Karl – Warm!
Dale – Very very warm!
Karl – Warm and Scottish…
Tom – So that’s warm, but full of whiskey.
“Did you not fancy partaking in some Buckfast whilst you were up there?”
Tom – No, not this time… I’ve had a past experience with that.
“And you learn from it! Wolf Jaw have had an incredible year so far. There’s been so much going on for you as a band which I want to talk about, but the first and most obvious thing I want to cover is the name change. What was the reason behind it?”
Tom – There’s a few reasons behind it really. First, there’s a band with a similar name in America and they are getting quite big. We took the decision to change our name because things were getting confusing with bookings. And we wanted to change the sound of the band a little bit as we grew, so it just the right opportunity to do it now before we release anything else.
“Wolf Jaw as a name certainly sounds a bit more aggressive and harder than The Bad Flowers. Has it had the desired effect?”
Karl – This reflects our new material. It’s a lot darker, and a lot grittier. But when we made the decision it was because of the similarly named band in the states
Dale – There was a lot of stuff that culminated to that one point. It all came to a point and we were just like “Right, let’s start again, fresh start, fresh sound, we’ll keep chugging on as the same three guys making a load of noise and let’s see what it does” . Luckily for us it has worked really well. Everybody got on board with it and opened up a few more doors…
Karl – And a few more merch designs!
Dale – The future is Wolf Jaw.
“You mentioned the new riffs and darker material. Are you working on a new album at the moment?”
Karl – The new album is on its way. It’s pretty much fully wrote. Fully recorded. That will be dropping in late October, November time. That will be going out through Listenable Records. After the back of this tour we’re just going to go back into the rehearsal rooms and make sure we’ve got that down absolutely solid running up to the album launch itself. After that it’ll be touring the album, whether that’s over here or in Europe. There’s a few things being thrown around at the moment.
“There’s a really cool photo pinned on your Facebook page of you guys after your Download set! Can you tell me about your Download experience? How did you land the set and how did you enjoy it?”
Tom – We just got a phone call from our booking agent saying “Do you want to do it” and we were like “……….. yeah?” and then a few months later we had another call saying “Do you want to play it twice?”, so they offered us the VIP stage. The day after they called again and said “Do you want to play it three times?”
Dale – They offered us the full Lionel Richie…
Tom – The full Richie. Three times at Download. We got to play the Carlsberg stage.
“The tiny stage in the Danish quarter? I loved it in there, it was always rammed. Did your set go down well there?”
Tom – yeah, it was good stuff.
“What bands are you listening to at the moment?”
Karl – Loads. We get the inspiration from the older bands, Sabbath, Zeppelin. There’s newer bands, like Monster Truck. Even the guys were on with tonight, Crobot.
*somebody opens the door below and we lose half the answer to Blind Haze. Sorry Wolf Jaw*
Tom – Interrupting this broadcast…
“With you coming from the UK, you’ll know what it’s like in the UK music scene at the moment and how quickly our unique venues and clubs seem to be shutting down across the country. Do you have any favourite unique venues across the country that you enjoy playing?”
Karl – I really enjoy The Live Rooms in Chester. The Camden Assembly, that’s another cool place. Apart from the stairs.
Tom – I like the Borderline in Soho, but that’s closing as well. That’s a shame. There’s so many cool little venues. The Deaf Institute here In Manchester, I like that place.
Dale – The Thekla in Bristol is like a boat. That’s a really cool venue. It’s something different.
“What would say your career highlight is?”
Karl – Probably Download. That’s the obvious one for any band.
Tom – Yeah, Download was incredible. But for me it would have been the debut album charting at number 17. I’ll never forget that. It was completely self-released. We did everything ourselves. We had no label, nothing. We did the lot. We had someone designing the artwork, and someone to help with the distribution of it. But it was such a big achievement for us, putting together all the little bits and pieces. It felt like we had really done well with it all.
“What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a band?”
Tom – That would be Karl keeping time with the drums!
Dale – I think when it comes to things that challenge us or things that cause us issues, we get it sorted out straight away there and then. We love a challenge because it just pushes us a bit more.
Tom – It’s good for us to take the next step every time. It’s so challenging in the music industry right now merely because there are so many good bands. You have to work extra hard to show people what you are about. That’s the biggest challenge for any band at the moment, it’s finding your niche and then be able to make some money from that. Without that you can’t carry on as a band. We’ve been so lucky with that, our fans have been great.
“You’ve not got any OTT stalkerish fans then?”
Tom – Not quite. Our fans are really cool.
Dale – We’ve got people that we see everywhere and it’s really nice to catch up with them, they ask us how we’re doing and what we’ve been up to. It’s nice to have that familiarity when you’re on the road. It helps us feel more settled any way.
Karl – We can’t thank those people enough. Without those kind of people, we’re nothing.
Dale – The fans keep bands like us on the road.
“Where do see yourselves in five years time?”
Dale – Japan!
“My interview on Wednesday last week gave the same answer!”
Dale – Because it’s the place to be.
Karl – In five years’ time I would like it to be that we were in a situation where this is it. We don’t have to get up on a Monday morning and go to work because this is our work. That’s the aim.
Tom – First band to play in space. International space station.
Dale – Or we could just be established in the European market. Tour Europe more. Get over to America. In five years’ time we could be five times bigger than we are now!
Tom – That is a LOT of pies mate.
Dale – I can handle it.
“Wolf Jaw, thank you so much for your time this evening”