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hear them howl

Photographs by Luc Coiffait
Styled by Sophie van der Welle

Wolf Alice were making a third album when Covid hit — now it’s arrived and its creators are itching to get back to business. They talk to Laura Barton about live music’s future, post-Mercury fame and that Marilyn Manson upskirting incident

In a far corner of an industrial estate in Tottenham, north London, beyond a skip piled high with Coca-Cola bottles, through a heavy metal door and up two flights of stairs, Ellie Rowsell stands awkwardly in the middle of the room. She has climbed out of the silver frock she was wearing for the camera and back into civvies: jeans, white vest and blue shirt. The silver dress hangs back on the rail and for a moment it seems as though all of Rowsell’s front-of-camera boldness might have been put away with it.

Today’s photo shoot comes a couple of weeks before the release of Wolf Alice’s new album, Blue Weekend, and as the band’s lead singer and only female member, Rowsell, 28, is once again navigating the glare of the spotlight. It is not an easy place for her. She recalls how just the day before, recording a session for Radio 1, the producer had encouraged her to speak between songs. ‘I just couldn’t say anything,’ she recalls. ‘And then I sang, and I felt so good. Just really confident. And I thought, “I wish I could be that all the time.”’

Wolf Alice formed in 2010 when Rowsell came across a video of Joff Oddie, 30, playing guitar online. She was already writing songs, largely influenced by the folk music of the north London Irish community in which she lived, but she lacked the confidence to play live. Oddie, a recent transplant from Devon, was impressed by Rowsell’s fledgling songwriting skills.

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Ellie wears Stand Jacket, £670. Wolford tights, £38. Gucci shoes, £700. Louise Olsen earrings, £240. Chloe belt, £595.
Joel wears Gucci cardigan, £860. Intimissimi vest, £10. Our Legacy trousers, £280. Margaret Howell shoes, £285
Joff wears Basic Rights shirt, £80
Theo wears Dunhill jumper, £595. Levis vintage jeans. George Cox shoes, £210. Coat and jewellery, Theo’s own
From left, Theo wears Dunhill jumper, £595. Jewellery, Theo’s own. Joel wears his own clothing and jewellery. Ellie wears Miu Miu
body suit and dress, both POA. Louise Olsen earrings £240. Joff wears AMI shirt, £180.

Hair by Hiroshi Matsushita.
Make-up by Jenny Glynn.
Photographer’s assistants: Joe Petini and Liam O’Connor.
Fashion assistant: Raphael Delbono