“I was learning to be an adult in a childish way.” Intervista al Manchester Online del 2003

28 09 2009

Una delle prime interviste su Manchester Online,poco prima dell’uscita di “Lycanthropy”:

Leader of the pack
Paul Cockerton

WHO is Patrick Wolf?  He’s a 19-year-old wandering minstrel who sees himself as a 21st Century folk artist. He carries his laptop everywhere to record himself playing the viola, accordion and ukulele.

He’s just about to release Lycanthropy, his debut LP named after a transformation from human to wolf, a mix of haunting folk, crackly beats and escapist lyrics.

And this Friday, June 27, he makes an appearance at leftfield dance night Club Suicide. ManchesterOnline contacted him to find out more about the boy behind the wolf.

You play lots of folk instruments and you’re only young. How did you get started?
I’d come from a classical background, playing in orchestras, where you had to think intellectually. So when I was 11 I unlearned everything and started making long electronic tracks using a junior keyboard, theremin and a four track recorder.

What made you choose the instruments you wanted to play?
Folk instruments are simpler, more instinctive, and you can learn communally. When I was growing up I fantasised about three instruments – the accordion, the hurdy gurdy which makes a vulgar pagan sound, and I was intrigued by the violin and how the bow made the music come out. When I was cycling to Cornwall one day I saw an accordion in a curiosity shop for £30 so I bought it and took it to Paris. I’ve still not learned the hurdy gurdy yet, though.

How come you went to Paris?
I left home when I was 15 and ran away to the countryside and then to Paris. I was learning to be an adult in a childish way. The album documents my life from 11 to 19 so it covers whatever emotions fell into that category – romance, reality, chaos… just whatever feelings I had growing up.

It’s interesting you say that because I thought the album has a woozy feel of the outdoors and it’s quite romantic in places, like Paris is supposed to be…

There’s a mystical side to the album as well, isn’t there?
I’m more interested in reality but you can communicate that in a mythical way. There’s lots of symbolism on the album but it’s expressing real things.

So is Patrick Wolf your real name?
It’s my real name now. The person I was before had lots of bad things happen so I wanted to leave that behind. The name was given to me by a spirit medium in Paris, who said I had to change my name so I could move on with my life.

You’re playing a club night in Manchester – won’t that be a bit strange for your kind of music?
I think doing PAs is like a modern day version of a folk club so I’ve done plenty of them.

What can we expect from the gig?
I’ll be doing three songs plus maybe an acoustic track and then doing some somersaults. For the rest of the tour I have an excellent cello player and a virtuoso recorder player who also plays the organ and I play viola, accordion, ukulele as well as running around and jumping about.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Everything comes by instinct, there’s nothing premeditative. I don’t sit down and plan ‘I’m going to do a sex book’ or whatever.

So will you be doing a sex book next?
Maybe, who knows? I’ve been writing two albums since Lycanthropy. One is documenting dark English passion – a bit like Thomas Hardy – the other is a ukulele pop album. But I think I might combine the two again. The next album’s going to be shorter and less confessional, but still something people can escape into. I’m also working with people on beats like Mike Paradinas of Mu-ziq.

The only interview I’ve read with you mentioned that you love Michael Jackson. Is that still the case?
Yes, I’m a big fan of him even recently, though not particularly his music. He’s like a character in a Tim Burton film and he’s a symbol of how to escape from reality.

Patrick Wolf appears at Club Suicide at Charlie’s (formerly Rockinghams) on Friday, June 27. The album Lycanthropy will be released in mid July.