Patrick Wolf
E-mail interview, April 2009
Words : Alan Smith
Live Pix : Steve Bateman

Patrick Wolf returns this summer with the release of his 4th album. This follows on from Lycanthropy, Wind in The Wire and The Magic Position. All of which were stunning in their own way, all based around Patrick's lyrics, which can be both haunting and hypnotic. It was 2007's The Magic Position which brought the most critical acclaim, resulting in heightened anticipation for his new record.

Originally entitled Battle, it was going to be a fairly bleak record, based on how Patrick was feeling during writing. However, upon entering the recording studio, he embarked on a new relationship. This led to the production of enough material for two albums. The first of these will be entitled The Bachelor, and will be released on June 1st 2009. The second record, The Conqueror, will follow next year.

Having previously been on a major label, he has now launched his own label Bloody Chamber Music. He has also made shares available to buy on the website An potentially important innovation in these tough times for artists and the recording industry as a whole.

The first single from The Bachelor, Vulture, will be released on April 20th.

Patrick has kindly taken time out from preparing for the release of his new album, and an upcoming tour, to take part in a Repeat Q&A where he discussed everything from the themes of his new songs to his love of Britney.

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1) Firstly, thanks for taking the time to speak to Repeat. I consider you to be the most exciting singer songwriter out there at the moment, so it’s an honour to get the chance to put some questions to you. I’m certainly excited about this year’s two new albums, but how does the run up to a new release make you feel?
Thank you very much my dear.. it's a pleasure. I'm finding the whole run up process really easy... I'm very well settled domestically this time around and have my head screwed on properly.. no drama so far. I found the whole magic position promo period quite stressful, I was falling apart at the seams, having alot of behind the scenes chaos with management and personal life. You should always make sure you enter publicity with your feet well connected to the earth, there is always a danger that if you're not in a good headspace before your album comes out then you are not in a good place to deal with all the madness that comes, everything from paparazzi attention to bad or good reviews or even stalkers... bonkers things can happen, but life can really only get bad if you are crazy to start with, and thank god I'm not this time!

2) I saw you play at St Georges church in Brighton in 2007, which created quite a unique event. Do you feel a venue can have a significant role in musical performance? And do you have any plans to play in any unusual surroundings in the future?
I loved that concert so much... I love churches, I was a choirboy in my youth.. I played a lot of cathedrals, I love the acoustics.. I would love to do a tour of churches as there is a lot of church organ on the new album. I have a dream list of venues, the biggest problem with playing unusual places can mainly be financial or acoustic... it's very hard to make a heavy electronic show in a cavernous acoustic space... and a lot of prestigious venues cost a small fortune to hire... I have many many years of shows ahead of me, many stages to explore.

3) You originally planned to release a double album, but have decided to split it into two releases. Why was this? And do you see the two as standalone records or still part of an overall project?
Both, I think with double albums both parts should work separately as well as together. I think that's what's exciting about releasing the two discs separately at first and then repackaging them later as a double album... it will be a bit like watching a movie and then a year later watching the sequel, then buying the dvd boxset I guess. Like Neverending story 1 and 2.

4) On your last album you collaborated with Marianne Faithfull on the superb track Magpie. Can you talk us through who you worked with this time around?
The duet for this album was with the singer and fiddle player Eliza Carthy. I wrote a song called "The Bachelor" for two voices, for a spinster and a bachelor. She is the spinster voice.. she originally came in to Olympic studios to play fiddle and I had these lyrics and threw them her way at the end of the day... it was a spontaneous duet, we were just totally communicating this story without having to discuss or prepare anything, that's how a good duet should be I think. She is an amazing story teller.. one of the world's greatest folk singers I think.. It was such an honor to work with her.

5) Your lyrics are what fascinate me most about your recordings. There always seems to me to be a wonderful mystery about them that leave the listener to tease out possible meanings. Can you give me an idea of the themes for your new songs?
Loneliness, self destruction and pessimism.. The songs are from a time when I had closed my heart off from any romantic feelings or from the idea or possibility of love. There is an exploration of male stereotypes and archetypes.. the selfish male bastard who fucks around and breaks hearts and never wants to marry (the bachelor, Theseus) the career obsessed lonely business man (Theseus, oblivion), the suicidal poet (the sun is often out), the boy who is becoming man and looking for a bond with his father (Blackdown), the Catholic son of a vicar who chooses his duty to his religion over true love (Damaris), the American soldier boy who wants to go to Iraq and play war, shoot to kill (Oblivion), the political/social activist (Hard Times/Battle)... the list goes on!

6) Do you feel these albums capture specific times and places in your life?

All the albums are like chapters of a diary.. I just reached chapter four with this last album.

7) It has been said that your last album gained more attention because it was apparently more "accessible". I don't think that's entirely true, and like to think its qualities are enough on their own to gain merit, regardless of how it fits into the commercial scene. Does the perception of your albums concern you?
It just had a huge marketing budget behind it... I don't think the sound is particularly commercial in hindsight.. I think in about ten years people will be able to hear the album for what it is and maybe see and enjoy the more experimental side to the album. I am not concerned with being misunderstood or misinterpreted anymore.. it is something that comes with age and experience, my duty is only now to keep my focus on producing and writing the best music that I can.. to not let any fear of ridicule or commercial failure into the creative process.

8) Who have you been listening to recently? And have any of these artists had any impact on this album?
I only really start listening to other music once my albums are finished... I listen to a lot of "classical" music to de-stress or to take on walking trips or get to sleep to while making an album.. composers like meredith monk, henry purcell and stephen micus. On the flip side I listen to a lot of music like recent Britney or Lil Kim to dance to.. any hard super electronic produced pop or hip hop...I really like a group called Brick and Lace and I still have a big thing for late 90's 2step garage...

9) If you were, somewhat unrealistically, only allowed three albums, desert-island-discs style, what would they be? And what is it about those albums that captivate you?
That is a bloody hard question to answer so I'm going to go from the top of my head....
Joni Mitchell "Ladies of The Canyon". a recording of Henry Purcell "Dido and Aenas" Kate Bush "The Dreaming"

10) You've already announced four dates in March. Do you have an extensive tour in the pipeline? And would you like to play some of the summer festivals?
I've just confirmed about 9 or 10 festivals over the summer across europe and a huge american tour.... all to be announced very soon. I'm very excited to playing many states and cities I have never ever played before.. It's going to be one hell of a journey and I plan to enjoy every moment.

11) Good luck with both records, I for one can’t wait to hear them.
Finally, which do you prefer, chips or cream buns?
Chips all the way... with mayo. I once got fired from a restaurant for sticking my finger in the mayo all the time, my bad.

Thanks to Patrick for his time and to Heather at Big Machine Media for setting it all up.

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?