In anticipation of their upcoming release Visions Of A Life later this month, Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell offers her take on politics, the music industry in the age of social media, and the importance of supporting the independent music scene.

With a headline UK tour commencing this coming month, Wolf Alice already have string of sold-out, “smaller, sweatier” intimate shows under their belts this summer. “We were scared to jump back into the touring cycle with new tunes, like straight away into thousand [capacity] rooms, so it kind of eased us in a little bit.”

The band took took these shows as an opportunity to promote UK music scenes that would otherwise enjoy little to no platform, inviting local artists from each town on the list to play an opening set. “It was good to support local, independent venues… To support local bands and go to towns and cities that don’t often get reached by bands of a certain level, or bands at all really.”

Wolf Alice’s own formative experiences of gigging helped to cultivate this attitude. “Touring as a support band to another band is invaluable, in terms of learning what to do and what not to do, onstage and also offstage. There’s so much to get to grips with. Even just regarding performing and watching other people’s shows, you can gather whether that’s something you like or don’t like, which songs you feel connect the most.That can help with songwriting and visuals.” Dirty Hit (home to Wolf Alice, The 1975, and The Japanese House to name a few) have a reputation for creating a supportive creative environment for young bands, with better-established artists almost exclusively taking their labelmates on tour with them. “Dirty Hit have very loyal fans, and the 1975, so yeah it’s really nice. I mean, Dirty Hit sign great bands, so you want to go on tour with them.”

One aspect of artistry that touring cannot prepare you for, is music videos – starring in these, Rowsell admits, can be off-putting at first. “You don’t really sign up to be an actor, so wearing f**king medieval costumes in the woods mouthing your lyrics, you’re a bit like ‘why the- why am I doing this? I just wanted to write songs, and now somehow I’m doing this, I look like a right tw*t.’ But then some days you’re like ‘Ah, I’ve got this really cool idea and I wanna see it come to life.’ [ Like] when we made the You’re A Germ video. I’ve always wanted to be in a horror movie, a zombie movie – that’s like my dream. I could to some extent bring that to life, so kind of took advantage of that, and it was really fun. It’s a tough one, they’re hard to get right.”

Sonically, there is a definite shift on the new record, but one that stays in tune with the shoegaze-y, grunge-folk sound of My Love Is Cool. The singles released so far see Rowsell harness anger and disillusionment in American hardcore-influenced Yuk Foo, and express a sense of doubt and vulnerability in the deeply introspective, whisper-sung Don’t Delete The Kisses. It is this mutability, and Rowsell’s lyrical resonance that sees the band so unassumingly capture the essence of a generation. “We just let ourselves be pulled in different directions. We let ourselves be inspired by different things. And that along with the fact that life is full of ups and downs – it’s mirrored in our music.”

Just as art is a product of personal ups and downs, it is also a product of shared social environment. The music industry as a whole is no exception to this, having undergone an immense transformation with the rise of social media – which, no doubt, has influenced musicianship and songwriting. “I think if your songwriting reflects your life itself, and your thoughts, then of course. It [social media] is quite hard to escape, at least as a young person. It’s just changed the way everything- it’s changed politics, it’s changed, like you say, relationships. it’s very hard to escape and that’s reflected in a lot of people’s songwriting.”

Alongside a fair number of artists, Wolf Alice have made substantial contributions to political discussion and action. Having expressed anti-Trump feelings, and been involved in the Labour campaign to encourage the younger generation to vote, Rowsell affirms that “politics affects everyone, so we should all be engaged.” Acknowledging the growing trend in musicians becoming more vocal on these issues, she continues, “whether you’re comfortable speaking up and using your platform as someone in the music industry, you should be encouraged to find that confidence and find that voice. Because, more and more, the mainstream media sources aren’t relied upon – we look toward people we know and people we admire to guide us, and that’s often musicians and other artists. So yeah, you have a great power in that respect – not to sound like spiderman’s uncle.”

Amidst all the political upheaval, within music there has been a notable indie revival of sorts that Wolf Alice’s debut record My Love Is Cool had a clear hand in leading in the UK. For those looking to add some exciting new bands to their record collection, Ellie offers “Vinyl Staircase, they’re really good if you like psychedelic music. We’re touring with Superfood and Sunflower Bean, they’re on their second albums now so they’re not young, but if anyone hasn’t heard of them they’re great as well. I really like Pixx’s new album, I think that’s really good kind of left field pop music. There’s some great bands coming out of America that we saw when we were over in Los Angeles, like Polly Plastic, Gateway Drugs. A band from London called Sorry who I really like. Alex G, who has loads of albums – but he’s influencing a lot of bands at the moment, I think.”

Preorder a limited edition signed copy of Visions Of A Life, out 29th Sept 2017. Catch Wolf Alice on their UK and European Tour.