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Phone a Friend: Advice from Wolf Alice.

Phone a Friend: Advice from Wolf Alice.

"I ain't afraid though my steps appear tentative, I scope it out then I throw myself into it / I ain't ashamed in the fact that I'm sensitive, I believe that is the perfect adjective," opens Wolf Alice frontwoman Ellie Rowsell on empowering new song, 'Smile'. "I am what I am and I'm good at it / And you don't like me well that isn't fucking relevant," she continues, unapologetic and unashamedly confident in her self-worth. Via email, Rowsell explains: "I think the lyrics are there to remind both myself and anyone who's listening that you are no less important than anyone else, and that if someone disrespects you, you don't have to always grin and bear it. Unfortunately it isn't always easy to live by this mantra but I guess that's why I put it in a song so I can go back to it and remind myself."
 
Calling out the endless microaggressions that women must endure in professional situations (or from just simply existing), Rowsell's lyrics in 'Smile' are among her very best: "Don't call me mad there's a difference I am angry / And your choice to call me cute has offended me / I have power there are people who depend on me / And even you have time you wish to spend on me." Reflecting on the best way to reclaim power in a situation where someone has knowingly or unknowingly belittled you, Rowsell says: "I think if I was belittling someone unknowingly I would want to be made aware of it (although my palms are already getting sweaty just thinking about that confrontation), so I think you should probably explain to them how whatever it is they have done has made you feel. It's a lot trickier when someone is knowingly belittling you - I guess that's why we need to diversify industries much more than we do, so that people learn empathy by being around different people and their stories and hopefully no longer want to do things like belittle people anymore."

As to if it's gotten any easier for women to be taken seriously as masters of their craft and to leave behind the perception of women musicians as being the puppets of by male producers/songwriters, Rowsell voices her thoughts: "I feel like this is a really important question that I don't feel well equipped enough to answer properly, but no, it doesn't feel like we have left that perception far enough in the past. At the Grammys this year it seemed encouragingly female-led with Beyoncé, Dua, and Taylor having the most nominations, yet only 198 nominees out of 853 nominees at this year's Grammys identified as women? In the UK, PRS membership is 80% male even if some of our biggest selling artists are female. Behind the scenes it still seems to be predominately male, right? There needs to be more encouragement and more spotlight for women in music who are working behind the scenes - producers, managers, engineers, songwriters, session players - and there needs to be focus on asking female popstars about their writing process which would be inspiring for other female musicians, performers, and songwriters to hear."

On 'The Last Man On Earth', the first single from Wolf Alice's forthcoming 'Blue Weekend' album out June 4th, Rowsell reminds us that we are each the unreliable narrator of our own lives ("Every book you take and you dust off from the shelf / Has lines between lines between lines that you read about yourself / But does a light shine on you?") - finding meaning in what we want to find meaning in, and closing our eyes to anything we want to ignore. "I've always enjoyed reading my horoscope in the same way I enjoyed doing things like the Myers Briggs personality tests and stuff," explains Rowsell. "I don't believe in them but I think they are helpful in that they give language to feelings, thoughts and behaviours that might be difficult for us to make sense of."

Rowsell also examines the yearning of humans wanting to be recognised as special ("Always seeking what you don't have like what you do ain't enough"), and the danger that feelings of self-validation are so often tied to an anxiety-inducing tendency to mirrorball or showboat in order to prove that we are just as worthy as our peers, or better. She concludes, "That's why social media sucks 'cos we have people's showboating on tap lol! Society has to do better to show people they are worthy, then perhaps we wouldn't feel such a need to be validated all the time."

And about that new Wolf Alice album? "'Blue Weekend' is sitting there all ready to go. She's been mixed and mastered and even has a visual accompaniment to each song. We can't wait for people to hear it, we really put so much into this record, I feel really proud of us."

ADVICE FROM A GIRL YOU REALLY SHOULD NOT TAKE ANY ADVICE FROM:

1. Read…
Or if you find that hard, listen to audiobooks, podcasts, radio shows. Learning new words is good for your emotional wellbeing - having the language to describe how you are feeling, especially when it sits somewhere in-between good and bad is hugely beneficial in making sense of yourself and of others.

2. Write down quotes.
If you hear, see, or think of something that resonates with you - write it down 'cuz chances are you'll forget it. If you’re a creative these quotes might be a foundation for you to build something upon when you’re looking for inspiration. I feel like Tumblr made quotes something to be embarrassed about, but Matt Haig raised a really good point about how when you’re in dark place it can be really hard to focus on anything, so the idea of reading a book is really not appealing but reading quotes kinda does the hard work for you and can make you feel seen or inspired, or at least make you laugh.

3. Eat like you are your own guest.
This doesn’t have to be fancy, it basically just means take the noodles out of the pan before you tuck in because even though it's tempting to save on washing up, when you're in your pants watching true crime docs with the curtains drawn at 2pm you are still worthy of a bowl.

4. Go at your own pace.
If you’re living by someone else’s clock you’re only gonna have to do it all again on your own terms later down the line.

5. I know I said to read and to write and to eat well bla bla bla but it's also okay if you wanna watch 12 hours of 'Game Of Thrones' with your hand stuck inside a tube of Pringles on a Saturday if that's what’s gonna make you happy. xxx

Wolf Alice's new album 'Blue Weekend' is out June 4.

Watch the 'No Hard Feelings' music video below...

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