Fans of Patrick Wolf have been on a journey. His albums have swerved from precisely crafted folk instrumentation to hard electronic beats; his sound has been as diverse as his inspirations. The common theme throughout all of his work has been an underlying sense of melancholy, isolation and escapism. A restlessness, that has been narrated across his previous four albums. Therefore, when Patrick burst back on to the scene this year, fans were more than aware that something in him had changed. News of his forthcoming marriage and final self-acceptance became public knowledge and it is precisely this change that is set to make ‘Lupercalia’ his defining album.
The Patrick we speak to today seems tired, in the midst of a tour and promoting the release, he is preparing for his first holiday in four years and seems extremely excited to be “at the end of a long project of fulfilling work.”
‘Lupercalia’ is Patrick’s first album back on a major label (Hideout is a Part of Mercury Records). After his well publicised fall out with Polydor (circa ‘The Magic Position’) he became involved with Bandstocks; a site where fans could effectively help fund his next album. Eventually, the artist was able to close the account with 100 thousand pounds in stocks and 20 thousand in limited edition sales. Patrick reflects proudly: “People invested their money in a hypothetical album so that showed a real sense of faith and I feel unbelievably humbled and fulfilled.
“After singing, travelling and touring since I was a teenager, I feel my word is now established enough for me to stop constantly explaining myself, with everything, through Twitter, every day there are people out there living and breathing who are listening to me.”
This is the kind of album that Patrick Wolf has dreamed about making since he started in music, but it is represents a real “back to basics” approach. “This is my domestic record; written from my home and working on a beautiful grand piano that I’ve had for seven years that is right next to my kitchen where I love to cook,” he laughs. “I normally write on the road but this is my grounding and it’s actually my first fully orchestral record as well!”
There is no doubt that Patrick’s aural art communicates to people from all walks of life, but some long-time “Wolf pack” members might feel threatened by this new, more positive attitude. “All my other albums dwell on emotion and this one is no different,” he assures. “Because of the singles [including ‘This City’] people are only anticipating the elation that love brings. There is however a sadness to all of it, a loss. I am singing about all parts of love – the jeopardy, the pain, and the anger.”
The title ‘Lupercalia’ is referring to the Roman fertility and a cleansing ritual; Patrick sees the record as a way for him to embrace real ideas and move away from the mythology that his previous work has been based around. “It’s easy to grow complacent with writing what is expected, therefore to write honestly is a new world to me. There is a track on the album called ‘The Falcons’ – it’s about two lovers becoming intertwined and flying away as falcons; escaping across the Welsh countryside,” he concludes. “I have come to grips with reality and real themes [like love].”
Patrick’s reality; it would appear is still doused in the levels of romance we have grown to expect and nobody should fear him skipping into the distance in wedded bliss and writing jingles for happy people just yet.
Catch Patrick Wolf at Leeds and Reading Festivals 2011 from August 26-28, 2011.
For more information visit the official website: www.patrickwolf.com.