Wednesday, 3 October 2012
60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Elijah Wolf
SINGER / songwriter Elijah Wolf moved to Bridport in 2003 fresh from studying at Winchester Art College. Over the last five years he has performed over 1,500 gigs and has featured on national radio and primetime TV. Elijah runs the Howl Open Mic company across the South West, giving anyone of any ability the chance to perform in front of an audience. He lives with his daughter Dot, puppy Talullah and wife, Ava, who performs with Elijah in their band The Gravity Drive.
WHEN did you first discover you had a talent for music?
I grew up in a family who played a lot of great music – Bowie, Beatles, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac. My favourite hangout was under the table where the vinyl was kept. I would spend hours gazing at album sleeves and strumming my dad’s acoustic guitar with my ear to the sound hole listening. Music became a way of life at a very young age. I couldn’t do anything else.
WHAT were your early influences?
The Beatles were major. Dylan was played by my dad at a very loud volume every day. Bowie’s face was hung in a frame on the wall - I thought he was my uncle! I also had a fabulous headmaster at infant school who would walk around the school belting out songs. He had us all singing pop songs alongside hymns in assembly.
WHAT music do you listen to now?
My wife Ava plays a lot of new music all day, so she soundtracks our days which is great. I tend to fixate on an artist for a month or so. Recently its all been about the Maccabees and Plan B.
WHAT made you host open mic nights?
I was asked by Paul Hindes of No 10 to run one for him and it grew from there. I was very lucky to meet a man called Hum who runs open mic nights in Exeter. The way he supported each and every artist made a great impression on me. He built a community and I followed his ideals. It seems to have worked.
WHAT is the music scene like here in SW Dorset? Does it have its own identity?
The South West has a very vibrant music scene. There is a lot of opportunity. Does it have its own identity? I’m not sure how to answer that. Every artist is unique in their own way. I love Hush, Peter James Millson, Lucy 9mm and Anthony Lane.
DOES the music industry today still nurture talent?
It depends on what aspect of the industry you are talking about. There are labels and management companies who do. I was given time and backed as an artist by a management team. I think it’s important to know why you want to be in the music industry. Is it fame or is it expression? If the answer is expression – as it should be – you just need to nurture your own talent and find your own voice. Then people will listen.
WHAT qualities do aspiring musicians need today?
My advice would be this. Melody is everything. Listen to as much music as possible. Write lots of songs, develop your own voice as an artist. Read a lot. Rehearse and perform live a lot. Get organised. Believe in yourself but be aware of your weaknesses and have the courage and brains to improve.
IS THERE a musical instrument you wish you’d learned?
I wish to learn the sitar and study flamenco guitar when I grow up.
WHO would play you in the biopic movie based on your life?
Robert Downey Junior. That man is one hell of an actor. Watch ‘A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints’.
WHO would you most love to play at your open mic, living or dead?
That is a question. I like performers who perform on the edge. I like passion and seeing an artist give everything of themselves the good and bad, the dark and light, so for me it would be Jeff Buckley.
WHAT do you want for Christmas?
Peace on earth brother.
Storm in Heaven by Verve. It is their debut album and is the best thing I have ever heard. Stunning.
FAVOURITE album cover?
Is This It by The Strokes.
IS VINYL dead?
No way. Vinyl is THE format. There has been a massive resurgence in vinyl. Long may it last.
Gravity Drive released their debut single ‘Trick of the Light’ on September 30th as a free download from their website www.thegravitydrive.com Limited edition CD copies are also for sale at Bridport Music. The money from CD sales will help fund the band’s debut album. Details of Howl Open Mic nights can be found at www.howlopenmic.co.uk