2018 has been a monumental year for Bournemouth based quartet Wolf Culture. Touring alongside the likes of WSTR, Milestones, and ROAM, the lads have been relentlessly playing shows around the country to spread their name.
We managed to catch up with drummer Jake Daniels and vocalist/guitarist Max Dervan just hours before their biggest show to date with Tonight Alive to discuss their inception, their debut EP, and what’s planned for 2019.
DP!: So you guys have been a band for quite a while now, the first time I remember seeing you was your As It Is cover from 2015. Can you tell us more about the formation of Wolf Culture?
M: That was a throwback all the way back. Me and our guitarist Jay are brothers, so growing up we were always interested in music and would play together. Then Jake and Jay met at college.
J: Yeah. Me and Jay went to college together and were in bands together beforehand. We didn’t really like the direction that those bands were going in, so we decided to form a new one. We thought “Max can sing”, and our projects ended up merging as we all wanted to do the same thing.
M: You could call it a ‘family band’, and then we adopted Josh who was in college with us as well. I’ve known him for years, so it all sort of fell into place.
DP!: You’re here in London tonight at the O2 Islington Academy to support Tonight Alive. These must be some of the biggest shows of your career so far. How does it feel to be on this line-up?
J: It’s scary, but great. Obviously it’s the biggest show that we’ve ever done so far, so we’re definitely a little nervous about it.
DP!: How is the process of preparing/playing a show in venues and to crowds of this size any different to your usual shows?
M: I guess we do the same thing really.
J: It’s just a lot more pressure.
M: In preparation for tonight, two us of have practically lost our voices.
J: I haven’t eaten all day, but we did have a great soundcheck which was an hour long.
M: Exactly. We haven’t eaten, but the music comes first.
J: Drink lots of water, stay hydrated.
DP!: Your name has quite deservedly started to spread in this past year, and a big contributor to that would be your debut EP, ‘The Devil’s Plans For Idle Hands’. What was the process of making this EP like?
J: Tough, that was rocky road.
M: It’s sort of like the preparation we had for tonight. I pretty much had glandular fever for the majority of the recording process, so I was in and out of the hospital a lot throughout the process.
J: We did record it a long time before it was released. We were sitting on it for quite a while.
M: We were waiting for the right moment to release it.
DP!: Do you remember roughly when you recorded it?
M: It was at least a year before we released it.
J: We didn’t want to release anything that was subpar. As it was our first record, we wanted to take the time to ensure that we came out and made a good first impression, instead of looking back and thinking “I wish I didn’t release that first one.”
DP!: Obviously, the musicianship across this entire record is phenomenal, and it goes without saying that each of you are incredibly talented in your chosen instrument. But one thing that massively stood out to me was the eloquence of the lyrical content.
J: That was all this guy.
M: Well, we all do contribute ideas and bounce off of each other, but thank you. We were going for a bittersweet vibe across the EP. If it sounded like a happy song, I didn’t want it to have happy lyrics. I like the idea of contrasting the lyrical content and the emotion of the music to create a happy/sad vibe.
DP!: Were there any particular themes or messages you wanted to address?
Max: The songs represent how I was feeling in a space of time in my life. Obviously, it was written quite a while ago when I was a few years younger, so my teenage angst years. But, yeah, each song has a different meaning and relates to something happening from around that time.
DP!: So you recently released a music video for ‘The Side Effects Of Being Happy’ which compiles some footage from your tour with ROAM. How did that support slot come about for you? Are you close to those guys?
J: We are now.
M: The tour came about as we were writing with Alex Adam (ROAM vocalist/guitarist), and he was just really fond of the band.
J: We jokingly said “When are you taking us on tour then?” and he was like “July?”
M: We were shocked. He’d already run it past the band, which was awesome.
J: It pays to be super forward. As soon as it came out of my mouth, I was like “No, don’t say that.”
M: I think the fact that we were writing with him, he really liked what we were doing and we all got along really well helped. It just made sense.
J: We’re still writing stuff with him now.
DP!: Is there anything more that you can tell us about that just yet? Is EP number two in the works?
M: Yeah. I mean, there’s definitely stuff being written. We’re writing constantly, whether we’re touring or not. It’s all the same to us. We never want to release the same thing twice.
J: We don’t want the songs to feel the same or to feel like a rehash of EP 1.
DP!: Do you feel your sound is moving in a particularly different direction with the songs that you’re writing now?
M: Our aim as band has always been to write songs to strive out of our comfort zone, and to write songs that don’t all fit into one genre.
J: We don’t want to be that band that stick to what they know. We want to push ourselves. We’re just writing with an open mind.
M: If it sounds good then it works for us.
DP!: Are there any plans for more shows once this tour wraps up? What are the next few months looking like for you guys?
M: Tomorrow night and the last nights of tour we’re doing acoustic shows, and we didn’t actually have an acoustic set until last night. We’re thinking we might do a couple of acoustic shows, but at the minute we’re just trying to write.
J: It won’t be long until we’re playing shows. I mean, it’s crazy that we’ve been able to tour as extensively as we have on just four songs.
M: It’s been quite surreal, but it’s time for us to get back into the studio and get more stuff out. When we get given a half an hour slot, that’s all of our songs.
DP!: Finally, is there anything that you’d like to say to your fanbase and our readers?
J: Stay hydrated.
M: Stay hydrated and buy merch.
J: I like that one. If you buy merch, we get to have Nando’s.
The band’s debut EP, ‘The Devil’s Plans For Idle Hands’, is out now through Common Ground Records.
You can stream and listen to it now across all major streaming platforms, and you can also purchase it online from iTunes (here).
Writing Contributor for Dead Press.| Vocalist/Guitarist in Over My Head. | Binger of Brooklyn 99. | Enthusiast of all things doggo.