December 2018

The Wolf

Patrick Wolf Patrick Wolf Patrick Wolf Patrick Wolf Text: Gabriel Knowles Images: Patrick Wolf

Patrick Wolf doesn’t normally do things by halves. Follow press reports, catch him in concert or his check out his latest film clip, ‘Vulture’. Emotionally, audibly, visibly – he’s no shrinking violet. But on stage spats and a firm stance on music piracy aside, he also doesn’t make make music by half. Until now.

Following a long schedule of touring to support his third studio album The Magic Position, Patrick returned home drained and promptly threw his passport away so he didn’t have to tour again. “It was total therapy. I was able to sit down and say ‘no more airports’ because I’d been to so many airports but hadn’t actually seen much of any cities or culture. I did it so I could stay in one place and then all the music came back to me.”

“I probably shouldn’t have been on stage, I really didn’t feel like I wanted to be on stage,” he admits now. It’s hearsay as to whether that, or his penchant for “living a champagne lifestyle on lemonade money” resulted in Universal dropping him in 2008. Regardless Patrick pushed on and set about funding his next album through Bandstocks.com, and with a confidence-inducing shot of funds from his fans he produced enough songs for not one but two albums. So he released half of those songs earlier this year as The Bachelor, an array of folksy, electronic and even industrial numbers.

“The whole experience has been a way of re-communicating with my audience again. Of feeling that intimacy that I had when I first started my musical journey. It’s tricky with the digital age to have any intimacy and closeness with your audience.” Patrick explains. “You don’t really have any idea who your audience is or who they might be unless you go out and do signings and things like that. It gave me a lot of confidence to know that people really cared about my music so much that they would pay for it before it was made.”

For a man who has proclaimed his desire to be the male Madonna ever since he rose to prominence in 2003 it’s somewhat surprising to find he ever lacks confidence, but as he confides he wasn’t himself then. “I was very lonely then, those emotions that were going on at the time were actually the influence for The Bachelor. I was working through those feelings of alienation of being alone on the other side of the planet from your home without really knowing what you’re doing with your life, or where your heart is, I had no idea where my heart or my head or body was.” The 26-year-old continues.

“And also going from England to Japan to Australia in the space of a week with no sleep and different journalists asking you their version of the same thing is just beyond belief. It’s just such a head fuck, a real head fuck. Especially when you’re single and you’ve got no one to call. You’re on this really weird self mutilating trip, it’s like you’re masturbating furiously just talking about yourself in a different country. It’s really, really strange.”

By the time I talk to him things are obviously back in place and his plans have evolved somewhat, “I either want to be the English Elvis or the male Madonna. Or a cross between the two. That’s my goal,” he announces before trailing off, “I love her so much. She’s the ultimate pantomime game. I love her.”

Love, it seems, has also played its part in maturing the young musician. Not that Patrick will discuss it in any detail, referring only briefly to William, the man he credits with making him “a better and more complete person now.” With The Bachelor now at peace the second half of Wolf’s songs are just waiting to come out, will The Conqueror be released with the aid of fan funding too?

“I can’t say anything right now and it has been quite empowering but because of that wonderful support there’s been a lot of people who want to sign me up but I can’t announce anything right now. I’m biting my tongue right now! I loved the experience and I’d go back to it if need be. I still think the music industry is a great place full of great people that passionately believe in music and the collaboration between an artist and a record label if you find the right people.” Part of that statement may have been tongue-in-cheek but the jokes stop there.

“At the end of the day I want to be the male Madonna and I’m not going to be able to do that running my own label with just me and my two managers.”

Patrick Wolf is touring Australia from December 9 through December 14

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