We talk with alt folk and country singer songwriter Timothy Wolf about writing, his inspirations and his upcoming performance at the Brunswick Ballroom.
While we knew and loved Wolf & Willow, as a solo artist the introspective and soulful blues musician Timothy Wolf appeared on our radar last year, bursting onto the scene with his debut single ‘In Your Arms Again’. Since then, the singer songwriter has sold out shows at the Night Cat and the Northcote Social Club and delighted audiences with festival and support performances for The Pierce Brothers. Timothy Wolf is performing at the Brunswick Ballroom on Thursday May 5 with his nine piece band The Howlers, ahead of his upcoming tour in celebration of his debut self-titled album in November. Curious about this rising star’s inspirations and trajectory, we sat down to chat with Wolf about his music writing process and the forthcoming year.
How did you get started in music and when did you think, I want this to be my career?
“Growing up in a musical family I inherited the allure and dreams that is being a performer. In my teens and early 20’s I followed this as it was just what I found myself to be so passionate about. It probably took me to 24 or 25 when I made the conscious and intentional decision that music was a career path I wanted to pursue.”
How did your period with Wolf & Willow evolve your song writing, what are some of the more noteworthy differences in a solo career?
“Music has a beautiful way of cataloguing life and its seasons. Wolf and Willow was truly such a youthful and growing experience in every sense of the sentiment. In this new solo project I definitely want to sing about different things and express musicality in a way that is a bit different to what people came to expect of Wolf and Willow. In every sense I think Timothy Wolf is an evolution of Wolf and Willow. I’m so thankful the process has remained quite similar with lots of room for collaboration – most notably with Wolf and Willow bromance duo partner James Difabrizio. Whilst Timothy Wolf is currently not as pop focused or accessible as some of the Wolf and Willow material, I have absolute peace with that.”
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You’ve previously mentioned your grandparents’ long relationships, alongside 50s soul icons like Otis Redding and Etta James among your inspirations. Then you also had Wolf & Willow in your videoclip for ‘Life Is, Better’. It seems there is an inherent nostalgia in your work, what do you believe that brings you from an emotive perspective?
“I think as humans we all like to pull from familiar things and reimagine them in innovative ways. ’Life is, better’ is the song that pulls from Wolf and Willow influences the most and with some very serendipitous timing of its release, it felt appropriate to pay that homage to my roots. It was originally a song championing my own journey of navigating mental health. I found a lot of peace and empowerment releasing it at the end of a two year journey of Covid lockdowns and as the final single for the album released right before our Corner Hotel album launch. The film clip was a change of seasons of sorts, paying homage to everything I’d learnt along the way and looking ahead to new things to come. It was also just released in a time where we couldn’t get out to make film clips. Three film clip production schedules cancelled through 2021, I thought a better option was to just scour my old hard drives for whatever footage I could find.”
What do you want people to take from your music more broadly?
“I think the world can do a pretty good job of making things hard for itself. Providing some social narration whilst presenting it in a way that pulls people together is something I’ve tried to be intentional about.”
What sort of reaction do you get and most enjoy when playing live?
“That our group – Timothy Wolf and the Howlers – just love playing together. We’re a very tight knit group who thrive off each other’s energy. My favourite and most popularly received response is along the lines of; you guys are having so much fun on stage, how could we not in the audience?”
What about your lyrical inspirations? Where do you source your subjects from, and do you have a lyric so far that you’re proudest of?
“I will always write about things that I know, I’m not sure I’m clever enough for anything else. My favourite lyrics of my own are probably from ‘Our tomorrow’ featured on the Timothy Wolf album. Its 3/4 folk/country ballad which allows me to fit far too many words and hyper specific jokes into phrases. Each verse is a social commentary that walks the past forty years and some of its challenges landing with a final verse and an overarching message presented from my own personal experience in present time. ‘If we love a little more as we’re all on our, way we might leave the world a little better than it looked today. We all weave into this tapestry that’s our tomorrow.”
“Our Brunswick Ballroom show is going to be a bit of a change of seasons in itself,” Timothy Wolf says on his show tomorrow night. “We’ll be celebrating all of the songs from this album one last time whilst also introducing some of what’s to come. The past couple of years we’ve missed the opportunity to road test new songs so I’m really excited to be able to play some unreleased material and get some feedback.”
Catch Timothy Wolf & The Howlers at the Brunswick Ballroom on Thursday May 5 at 6:30. Grab your tickets by heading here.
In partnership with Brunswick Ballroom.