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An Interview with We Came From Wolves

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With an EP ready to go on sale on 3 March, Scottish rockers, We Came From Wolves (WCFW), are gearing up for their UK and European tour that will span from 13 March to 26 April. Eager to find out how the band are feeling about their busy 2014, HOLDUPNOW caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Kyle Charles James Burgess to quiz him on music, touring and even a bit about politics.

HOLDUPNOW: How does it feel to be playing the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) launch party this year?

WCFW: It’s great to be involved with something so prestigious within the Scottish music scene. If I’m being honest I’m not really a big fan of music awards or any sort of music related contest like battle of the bands, etc. Personally, I believe music is purely taste and there can never be a “best.” However, I totally understand the value of rewarding those who have had a great year, career or record. The SAMAs really seem to have their finger on the pulse with their nominees and usually represent a pretty fair reflection of who has been working their arse off, so I’m all for those who deserve it being recognised and we are stoked to be kicking off the party!

HOLDUPNOW: You’re set to tour in March and April this year. What’s the pre-tour thoughts and feelings at the moment at base-camp?

WCFW: We are all super-excited to be hitting the road again. We had quite a quiet spell in 2013 after a jam packed 2012 for a number of reasons so it was great to get the EP sorted and a few shows under our belt in the final third of the year to set us up for what we knew would be a full-on 2014. We are working hard to be at our best and cant wait to see some new places and meet some new people.

HOLDUPNOW: Have you visited any of these locations or venues before? Which ones do you most identify with/have you enjoyed the most in the past? Why?

WCFW: We have been to most of the major cities in the UK (and Paris) already, however I think it’s only Dublin Castle in London that we are returning to venue-wise this time round. In terms of relating to a place I think you can always find a bit of familiarity in any surrounding, or at least I think it’s a natural instinct to try and look for something familiar. People in the northern English cities like Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, etc have a similar personality to Scottish people; warm, welcoming, proud and fiery! In terms of bigger cities like London, I don’t know if you would call it familiar, but the people there are so ambitious, driven and un-apologetically so. I guess it takes a certain type of person to seek out that environment and coming from Scotland we naturally try to play down our ambition or desires. We are the underdogs of the world. I guess it can be comforting to be around people who encourage the dreamer in you. That’s what I enjoy about London.

HOLDUPNOW: Which show are you most looking forward to and why?

WCFW: I’m really looking forward to our release show in Glasgow as it’s going to be great to play to a big crowd with lots of familiar faces and let people get their hands on our new EP and start hearing the reaction! Also our hometown of Perth as the crowd is always awesome and we will be playing with the band, Fatherson, who are a great band and quality guys. We are also stoked to be playing our first German date in Karlsruhe. I’ve checked out the city on Wikipedia and stuff and it looks awesome, really futuristic looking and the Europeans know how to look after touring bands in terms of both crowd reception and hospitality, so it’s (hopefully) going to be a great show!

HOLDUPNOW: How do you think this tour will compare with past experiences? Why?

WCFW: It will certainly be a new experience, despite us being pretty well travelled so far. It will be the first tour dates outside of Scotland with our two newer members who replaced two of our original members. The integration has been fantastic and we are in a great place but personally there is more responsibility on my shoulders now. I used to be the youngest in the band. The two guys who were in originally were experienced at touring and I was kind of able to enjoy the ride. I’m now the second oldest so I need to step it up and use my experience to ensure things go smoothly, that people’s spirits are high and we are always bringing our A-game. Not that I foresee any problems. As I said, we are in a great place and it’s healthy to have to rise to a personal challenge and come out of my shell a bit!

HOLDUPNOW: Who can we expect to see touring with you as support? What makes them a good warm-up act for We Came From Wolves?

WCFW: We don’t really have a set support for the whole tour, but when we have been in a position to choose who we play with, we have picked bands we know, respect and enjoy listening to. Some bands we will be playing with are our label mates, Poor Things, our good friends Vasa, our old label-mates IRIS, our hometown buds GoodCopGreatCop, the awesome Fatherson, and for the European shows and returning Scottish dates at the end of the tour, our friends from Paris “Crackity Flynn”.

We just enjoy playing shows with bands that inspire us through their energy, attitude and originality and try to surround ourselves with these types of bands when we have the chance!

HOLDUPNOW: What is the most enjoyable thing about touring in general and why?

WCFW: Seeing new places, meeting new people, growing tighter than you could have imagined possible as a band and as brothers. Most importantly, though, getting through a healthy amount of Football Manager in the van!

HOLDUPNOW: Your last EP, Cope, possessed quite an emo-punk sort of feel, whereas the title track for the forthcoming Paradise Place EP sounds generally more relaxed and mature. Why the change in sound? Is this something we can expect from the album as a whole too?

WCFW: I think Paradise Place as a whole isn’t a million miles away in overall genre than Cope, but there is definitely a progression in terms of writing and playing ability, more maturity and thoughtfulness in the arrangement and construction of the songs, and of course more experience in the subject matter. Paradise Place (the song) was the final song we wrote for the EP, despite the fact i have had the title for this and the theme for years in my head. It was also the first song we wrote as a band with the two new members, therefore I don’t think it’s a mistake or coincidence it sounds slightly different. I do, however, think there is real progression there, and possibly the start of us honing into our own style and way of doing things. There is a lot that is new and different within the song but when it kicks into the crescendo during the final third of the song, the melody shines through in a signature WCFW fashion so I don’t feel we are abandoning the ingredients that have shaped our sound thus far.

HOLDUPNOW: Which tracks are you most excited for the fans to hear and why?

WCFW: Literally each track on the EP. We chose four. We had around eight but we wanted it to be all killer. Cliché but true. Each song has a distinct style and message but each one links into each other and flows together intrinsically theme-wise. The EP deals with a lot of self evaluation, looking at how I can progress and where I’ve gone wrong with a lot of things, looking at my surroundings and realising how they have shaped a lot of my, and my friends, personality and situations, for better and for worse. However, the triumph of each song is the realisation that all of these factors in life are required to allow progression. It was our first time working with a new producer in Bruce Rintoul and we are so happy with his work. On a personal level, for my band-mates, for our label and for Bruce I’m extremely proud of this EP.

HOLDUPNOW: With the name We Came From Wolves and an EP called Paradise Place, it seems you might take quite a bit of inspiration from your natural surroundings. Is this the case? What is your inspiration and why?

WCFW: We certainly do. I find it alien to write about anything other than what I know and what I see or feel. There is a lot in there about personal relationships, triumphant or tragic, there is also a lot of commentary about the places we live and have grown up, the attitudes and characters of these places and how they have shaped us for better or worse.

A lot of my lyrics are darker than they might seem. A lot of our music is purposefully light and melodic, so that the undertones of the lyrics can slip under the radar a little better. I guess this was originally so I could disguise the issues I was trying to confront, to save offending those I was addressing in each song. However, it has become something I enjoy playing around with a little bit more now. I don’t know if anyone cares to look within my lyrics, but if they do, I’d like to imagine that they are open to being interpreted in a number of ways, and that people will have their different theories for how they should be read.

HOLDUPNOW: Cope was produced by Engineer Records who have worked with bands like Gaslight Anthem and Funeral For A Friend. Why the change to Saraseto Records for Paradise Place?

WCFW: Engineer records will always have a very special place in our hearts and they are lovely guys who still put a lot of effort and their own time in promoting us and flying our flag. We will always be grateful to them for taking us on and giving us such a great experience for our first label release. However, the fact they are so generous with their time and their love for up and coming bands meant their roster is continuing to grow and grow at a time where we feel we need that extra push and backing. We sought out a label who could give us a bit more of their focus. We had some promising offers on the table but nothing gave us any more than we could have had by staying where we were. Our manager runs Saraseto Records as well as looking after us, and puts in a huge effort with his bands as well as ensuring our calendar is always full. That enthusiasm and work-rate he has eventually flicked on the little light bulb above his and our heads. We decided to put out the EP on his label having first-hand knowledge of his passion, drive and expertise over the last three years working with him. We know how each other work and can be sure of the efforts all parties are putting in to ensure this record has the best chance possible of being heard by as many as many people as possible!

HOLDUPNOW: Scotland has a habit of producing successful rock bands like Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic. Who would you say is the next new Scottish group to keep a look out for this year and why?

WCFW: Fatherson. They have been making great strides over the last couple of years and are just on that last rung of the ladder before they blow up. I reckon that fuse will be lit in 2014. Ross Leighton is just a fantastic writer, his melodies are great, their sound is unique and the production of their debut album is spot on. It was produced by Bruce Rintoul, who as I mentioned earlier produced our new EP, Paradise Place, so we got a sneak listen to the Fatherson album a few months ago in the studio and I cant wait to grab a copy when it’s out!

HOLDUPNOW: Let’s get political! Where do you guys stand on the issue of Scottish independence and why?

WCFW: I don’t wanna put words in the mouth of my band mates, but for myself it’s a 100% “Yes” vote.

There is a lot of negativity surrounding those who are supporting the “Yes” campaign, most of it aimed at an apparent naivety and tunnel vision towards a braveheart-inspired romanticism for a free Scotland. We are told again and again that it wont work, that we can’t support ourselves but there can be no facts to support this. There is risk, of course, with going it alone but we bring a lot to the coffers of the UK and in population alone and get a miserly return for our contributions.

There are smarter, more educated people than myself presenting the facts and figures for why our independence will or won’t work. The reality is, it’s a gamble but the bottom line is this: are we happy with how the country is being run, or what those in power stand for? No. Do we want the ability to choose our own future, affect our own change and have a true democracy focusing on the matters that affect us? Of course, so for me there is only one outcome. It has to be “Yes.”

We have to be brave, and I believe, take this rare chance to truly shape our own futures and the futures of our children. We are not closing the door on the past but opening another door to a better future. We will not sever ties but forge new ones that serve and help ourselves. We will not be drawn into conflicts which do not affect us and can be true to the values of our own people, rather than being corralled into the assumed opinions and tendencies of “The British.” We are not the same in our attitudes and our culture and therefore we should make our own decisions for our own lives. Deciding to stay as we are, as lodgers on our own soil, nails shut the coffin lid on any chance we have of a true democracy.

It sounds romantic, and too good to be true but it is there for the taking. We just need to be brave.

HOLDUPNOW: For the readers of HOLDUPNOW, in your opinion, what does the essential tour survival kit consist of?

WCFW: (Not including amps, equipment or instruments (obviously), or clean clothes as a Primark in every town has ensured a full wardrobe change can be achieved for £3.27)

- Laptop with a well stocked hard-drive of films, music & football manager (and charger) to offset the long drives
- Echinacea tablets to combat tour plague
- Headphones for when you need a bit of “you” time
- Phone charger
- Wet wipes (for those unfortunate occasions when there is no shower)
- Energy drinks (we are lucky enough to get caseloads from the guys at Rockstar UK, which certainly helps on mornings after nights of 3 hour sleeps before its time to move!)
- Sleeping bag
- Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste & mouthwash….there is NEVER an excuse to be smelly!
- Manuka honey & liquorice tea for the impending vocal fatigue
- Your manners & a positive attitude…never leave home without them!

It sounds like We Came From Wolves have their work cut out for them this year. If you’re planning on catching them while on tour, why not check out the video below of the title track of their Cope EP

For more We Came From Wolves, check them out on:

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About The Author

Currently a 3rd year Journalism student at the University of the West of England. Real life just around the corner and getting excited about new Journalism opportunities! The more music involved, the better.

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