“The way I see it is, you can put us anywhere and we will make the best of the situation and try to connect with whoever the audience is. Our music appeals to a mainstream audience, it’s not a niche market.”
After being thrown immediately in the spotlight due to their esteemed 2005 self titled debut release gaining over 1.5 million sales worldwide, it has been a crazy ride for Sydney act Wolfmother. With extensive line-up changes over the last decade, the band stripped it back to basics for their 2016 release Victorious, with front man and founding member Andrew Stockdale writing the album completely by himself.
“I always start with a riff. I do the riff and then the drums and then the bass and then the vocals last. When I do the vocals, I don’t have lyrics written yet, I kind of just improvise on the microphone and sing, just make believe words and make believe sounds and then I write down what I think I’m saying and it just turns into a song,” Stockdale says.
“I have tried writing songs about specific things: I wrote ‘Save the Whales’ for a Sea Shepard thing,” he laughs, “I also wrote a song once called ‘Let’s Hear It For the Mothers’ as a Mothers Day song. You can definitely start with a theme and then write around that theme, but you can literally try anything when you’re writing. Those kinds of songs seem a little bit too literal and just don’t have that kind of magic like when I don’t force it around a theme. I find it a lot more compelling when it’s more of a stream of consciousness.”
Drawing inspiration from all sorts of genres, Victorious proves to be one of Wolfmother’s most diverse albums yet, from the guitar heavy riff of title track ‘Victorious’ to nostalgia that fuels tracks such as ‘The Best of a Bad Situation’. It is apparent that Victorious, much like Stockdale’s approach to lyrics, doesn’t follow a specific theme.
“I think with ‘The Best of a Bad Situation’ I was listening to a lot of early Rod Stewart and I wanted to write a song like that. With ‘Pretty Peggy’ I thought, ‘what if I do a Lumineers [American act] kind of song’ and then I made that,” he says. “Victorious’ was a lot more Wolfmother/Dio rock opera sort of approach, but sometimes I’m just searching through YouTube and I find a song that I think ‘I wouldn’t mind writing a song like that’ and kind of use it as inspiration.”
In support of Victorious, Wolfmother will be embarking on the ‘Gypsy Caravan’ tour around Australia playing a stack of rural shows. According to Stockdale, rural shows are a lot of fun to play due to the diversity of crowds and venues that may not often get live acts to their town.
“I think people really underestimate regional areas; there are a lot of people spread out across our land that came out in droves if you play close to where they live. They are usually guaranteed to be great shows.”
When & Where: The Wool Exchange, Geelong – May 19
Written by Alex Callan