Hear it here first before it's released everywhere tomorrow.
We are absolutely delighted to be able to offer the first listen to 'Dying In The Living Room', the brand new EP from South Coast emotional rockers Wolf Culture, set for release everywhere tomorrow (July 31) via Common Ground Collective.
Following up '18's debut EP 'The Devil's Plans For Idle Hands', 'Dying In The Living Room' finds the band more polished, passionate and punishing than ever before. Combining heartfelt storytelling with layer upon layer of British charm and creativity, it's a short and sharp snapshot of a band who are going from strength to strength with each complex composition they put together.
Get stuck in below:
To celebrate, we spoke to the whole band about the creation of the EP, what it represents for them and what they feel like the future looks like:
What changed in terms of your approach to the band between the writing of ‘The Devil’s Plans For Idle Hands’ and this EP?
Says Max Dervan (Vocals): "Bearing in mind, with the first EP we had all of the songs already written and just about recorded a year before we released them. By the time that came out we had been playing them live and become accustomed to having them in our set. It’s a little bit similar this time, almost a year after we recorded them. The difference was that this time we were really re-evaluating how we wanted to sound as a band and the topics we wanted to talk about. We were really trying to make sure everybody was on the same page in terms of how we wanted to come across as a band. I feel like we have definitely matured a lot since that first EP, even though whatever age you’re at you like to think that you’re quite mature. Though some of the songs on that EP I was writing when I was 14/15 in my bedroom.
"As a songwriter, I like to approach lyrics like it’s a biography. The therapy of writing songs from what is going on in my life at the time. To look back on those first songs and then look at these new songs, it’s now easy for me to distinguish exactly what each one is about and what was going on at that time in my life. The topics I’ve been delving into now are certainly a lot more mature than they were on the first EP. It’s something we were really conscious about doing."
Maturity comes out not just through the music, but through the way you all communicate with each other and learn from each other in ways you couldn’t before. Things become an awful lot more fluid…
Max: "Absolutely. We’re never been a band who says ‘We want to sound like this band’ or ‘Let’s do something like this genre’. But we certainly had an expectation on that first EP for what the parameters of the sound should be, just in terms of the other bands around us within the local scene. For this EP we knew that there were no parameters. We can write whatever we want and we can sound however we want to sound. We really don’t want to limit it now."
So when did the first seeds of this EP start getting planted? Where were the first glimmers of inspiration coming from?
Max: "The first seeds were definitely straight after the release of ‘The Devil’s Plans For Idle Hands’."
Says Jake Daniels (Drums): "We had ideas for some of the songs here even before that was out too. It was almost like within the writing process of that where new things were coming out."
Max: "Yeah it definitely was. I’m just a constant songwriter. I could write a song a day if it just pops into my mind. The way we went about preparing to go into the studio with these songs was a little different too though. The first EP was us saying ‘Let’s go to our practice room, have an idea and bash it all out’. This time it was more a case of building things straight into the demo process. I would write the bare bones of the song on an acoustic guitar and then build it up from there on Logic adding bits in."
Jake: "It’s the first time any of us had written music like that. It’s a very different sort of song writing. We ended up writing things that we necessarily wouldn’t have written if we were in the practice room. It’s pretty much how we roll now."
Max: "We’re quite a stubborn band in terms of wanting to make sure that every single little thing is perfect before we release. That’s both our biggest strength but also our biggest weakness. But yeah, we took our demos over to Neil Kennedy at The Ranch and he said “I really like this, let’s record it.’"
Says Reece Collins (Bass): "He did send some things back. He did some chops and changes and said ‘This bit works’ and ‘This bit doesn’t’. That’s because some of these demos were really long. I remember when I joined the band me and Jay sat in my car and he showed me all the demos and each song was nearly six minutes long."
Jake: "We will put all of our ideas into one big song and when it comes to cutting it down realise we don’t want to lose certain bits. It becomes so difficult."
Max: "It’s a longwinded process you know. We all had so much input on each song though. The song ‘Rain Dance’ started off with me just on the acoustic guitar but then I ended up spending some time with Alex Adam from ROAM and when we looked at that song he said ‘It’s like you’re going for Bohemian Rhapsody’. I think the biggest hurdle we have had is getting these ideas down to a point where they are actually consumable."
It’s all about the ambition though and that theatre and breadth shines through on this EP. It also feels as though the stories that you are telling are not just your own but other peoples. How did you set about putting those stories together?
Says Jay Dervan (Guitar): "I think a lot of it comes from Max’s mind. I think that originally the third person approach was more a way of making Max feel more comfortable in talking about so many things."
Max: "Something we have always wanted as a band is for each song to have its own space. Each song is its own novel, which when they were six minutes they kind of were. So I wanted to pull from certain personal experiences, but I’m also a huge fan of fiction. I think everything should be laid out in way where it’s plain to see what I’m talking about. It’s good to have metaphor and use of language to create characters that people can relate to in a way which they will understand."
Jay: "We know that not everybody is going to go through the same experiences and we know that people will describe their lives in different ways. But the underlying feeling and the emotion that we are trying to get across is hopefully as relatable for everybody who hears it."
So what does ‘Dying In The Living Room’ represent as a term to umbrella this collection of songs?
Max: "Below the obvious irony of it, it’s addressing the fact that you can feel like you’re in the prime of your life but you’re maybe not feeling as you should. Am I different to everybody else? That comes across in its own way in each of the songs. ‘Nervous’ is about struggles with anxiety and putting on a façade. ‘Ultimatum’ is about dealing with loss and how we should treat each other. I think the way that the title attaches itself to each of the songs definitely umbrellas what we are trying to convey, even though each song still has its own space to breathe."
It’s about bringing together all of these different parts of the human experience but doing so in a way that is unique to you as a band…
Max: "I think that even at the start of the song writing process, if I don’t feel the exact emotion that I’m trying to convey, like there have been some incredible powerful and overwhelming moments, the song isn’t for Wolf Culture. It’s not strong enough to get other people to like let alone ourselves. Wolf Culture is always going to be our way to get things off our chests."
Jay: "I think that back when we first started, we were using metaphors to disguise these things that were actually incredibly real to us. We may not always want to be so blunt about how we are feeling, but the music has always been a way for us to get that out there."
Ultimately, what do you want Wolf Culture to become as we all move forwards?
Max: "Where most bands have goals, we’ve never had anything that clear cut. We just want to release music that we feel emotionally attached to. It’s obviously important to connect with fans through the music because there are some things that we wouldn’t even talk to our closest friends about that we write about in some of these songs."
Jay: "You know, we were expecting to just be a normal local band who play the same venue every week for how many years beforehand. Then so many places picked up the first EP and ran with it and that gave us some opportunities that we never would have considered at that point. I think that the last couple of years have ticked so many of the boxes of what we wanted to do and what we thought would take years to achieve."
Jake: "Even just playing in another country or playing to hundreds of people instead of 50 people."
Jay: "Yeah, we’ve been super lucky up until this point. We’ve never really worried about being this big British rock band either. We’re just doing our own thing."
Reece: "I think we are all focused on what’s right in front of us. We’re making sure that we are making that the best that we can. Then we can move on to the next thing and make that the best we can too."