Just as the Camp Bestival signage comes down onsite, the Sunday Best team will quickly be replacing them with the signs for its bigger brother, Bestival. In the build-up to the event, I was kindly given some time to catch up with Stevie Red McMinn from Mt. Wolf. The band can be found in the Big Top, along with the likes of Jorja Smith, Django Django and Sundara Karma.
Could you tell me about how you initially got involved with music and who influenced you most?
My uncle Pete (mum’s twin brother) was a full-time musician, a brilliant singer/songwriter, and that was a huge influence on me growing up. I thought he was the coolest person in the world and was a big reason for why I wanted to learn to play the guitar and write songs. I think music has always been a big part of my life, we had a piano in the house so I’d play on that and my parents always had music on in the house – there are home videos of me attempting to dance before I could walk.
Could you tell me about how the band came to be formed?
I met Bassi at music college in London. At that point, I was ‘jamming’ with various different people at the music college but the moment Bassi and I started writing music together I knew he was totally on the same wavelength, and that I should form a band with him. When we were looking for a drummer Alex was rather conveniently my housemate at the time and had played drums in a previous band with me at Uni. Once Alex joined we were no longer a bedroom project, we were a proper band.
Can you describe how you felt whilst after you’d released your first single?
Our first single was ‘Life Size Ghosts‘ and though it feels like some time ago now I still remember the excitement at the very organic pick up / reaction that the song got. Shortly after releasing the Life Size Ghosts EP we were selling out shows in London, and suddenly for the first time the prospect of being a serious band felt very real. Nothing beats that feeling.
For those who are new to your music which three tracks would you encourage them to check out first and why?
‘Hamburg‘ is one of the first songs we wrote after taking a hiatus in 2014, but still one of our favourites. It signified a new era for Mt. Wolf. ‘Hex‘ felt like a breakthrough moment for us as a band. It was the first time we recorded in a proper recording studio as a full band and you can hear that ecstasy and delirium at the end of the track when we all thrash our instruments. ‘Bohemia‘ is taken from our debut album ‘Aetherlight’ and one of the songs we’re most proud of on the record.
What bands and artists are you currently listening to and how are they inspiring you to explore and implement new ideas with your music?
Bon Iver and The National are a constant source of inspiration for us, and we all love Pink Floyd, The Smiths, Coldplay and Sigur Ros. Besides that personally, I’m currently listening to a lot of Cigarettes After Sex, LANY and a lot of dreamy 80s / 90s music; from Chris Isaak and Mazzy Star to The Cars and Tears For Fears. I think we’re all craving simplicity in our writing at the moment, realising that less is more.
How do you feel when you share your music for the first time? Do you prefer to share new music live where you can see the crowd’s reaction first hand or online perhaps?
We often road test new songs, I think we always prefer to see the reaction live but releasing new music is really exciting to see the reaction, comments and messages online.
What can those fortunate enough to have tickets to Bestival expect from your live show?
We’re psyched about playing Bestival so will be bringing our A game. We’ll be playing songs from our album ‘Aetherlight’ as well as a new cover we’ve just worked out! We’re not saying what it is, that’ll be a surprise for anyone who comes to watch 😉
Do you get a chance to explore festivals when you are playing them?
Yes! It’s one of the most fun parts of our job, the fact we get to hang out at festivals and see/meet other musicians we’re fans of.
What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?
We finished the ‘Aetherlight’ campaign with a headline show at Scala a few backs, so we’re focusing on writing new music, and starting work on our second album. We hope to release some new music by the end of 2018 and are looking forward to getting back out on the road in 2019.