Wolf People: The real story behind Ruins
Inspired by the raw, extreme power of nature, Wolf People’s new album strips away their folky origins in favour of heavy riffs and a post-apocalyptic concept. Jack Sharp tells Prog more.
Wolf People are the “pagan folk psyche prog” frontiersmen whose inspiration goes back to nature, and whose geographical DNA is as old as the Domesday Book. The town of Clophill in Bedfordshire, where frontman Jack Sharp and drummer Tom Watt were raised, is mentioned as Clopelle, or “tree stump”, built on land owned by a Norman knight. Now the four-piece are unleashing their most powerful piece of work to date in the Ruins album, which foresees a post-human world that has returned to the land.
As Sharp reveals, the driving, persuasive opening track Ninth Night, released as an early outrider for the new album, has a strikingly distorted vocal sound that almost literally came out of the garbage.
“That vocal effect, someone gave me a tape machine to record stuff on that they’d found in a skip,” he says. “It never worked, but it came with a really terrible microphone. So I started recording stuff. I’ve recorded guitars through it as well because it just distorts it massively and makes it sound really odd.
“That one is a bit different from the others,” says Sharp of the song, “because I made a demo at home and showed it to everyone. They were really into it, and we started playing it together. We’re really happy playing it live now but we never really got a recording that was as exciting as the demo, so we just went back to that and built up from there.”
The follow-up to 2013’s Fain paints a picture of a modern society where you can have any colour as long as it’s black. But have no fear, Wolf People are here, “emerging from the woodlands, riverbanks and the dales like the grizzled ‘green men’ resistance fighters of the post-Norman invasions”.
Or, as Sharp says somewhat more prosaically about the supposedly post-apocalyptic nature of Ruins:“A few people have said that, but it’s not something that I’ve done on purpose. As always, it’s just that whatever was going on at the time goes in there. Yeah, there seems to be a bit of a ‘power of nature’ feel to the record. It’s just whatever tended to be in my head.”
So while the album could have been a dark vision of the future, it’s actually the score for an optimistic vista in which music and nature combine to reclaim a land that we’ve trashed.
“Often when people are describing the natural world, and talking about birds and trees and stuff like that, it tends to be quite gentle, and the natural world isn’t like that. It’s this powerful, extreme thing, and I think we wanted to reflect that with the music.