Around March 2020 the world took a break from live music with the onset of a worldwide pandemic, in case you hadn’t heard? When the world stage shut down, WOLFMOTHER’s Andrew Stockdale took to the home studio playing all of the instruments, crafting out album number six, Rock Out. With mental health becoming one of the most prevalent issues during the pandemic, Stockdale used the majesty of rock with all of its chakra healing qualities to guide himself with the creation of Rock Out. The idea of Rock ’n Roll giving pure transportation to a better place amidst all of the monotony of daily Covid life became a self-help cathartic release delivered with a New York Cab driver twang.
If a new album isn’t enough WOLFMOTHER are also headlining the UNCAGED Festival in March and April 2022. Uncaged (Presented by Silverback Touring) is the newest rock festival on the Australian festival circuit and packs a punch of musical diversity catering to fans of hard rock, alternative, pop punk, prog, metal and everything in between.
The first line up offering features heavyweights, WOLFMOTHER, who headline Uncaged after spending the majority of their career touring and selling out theatres, stadiums and festivals the world over. Uncaged marks the bands return to Australian festival stages following their last major Australian tour in late 2019 and early 2020. Andrew Stockdale talks to Hi Fi Way about the album and playing Uncaged Festival.
It sounds like it’s all happening for Wolfmother, which is fantastic?
Yeah. This record’s picking up a bit of momentum. The response has been pretty positive so far. So yeah, it’s been good.
Has this been one of the most satisfying records that you’ve made, given that you you’re doing it your own way, no real label or distributor or any of those mechanics that run in the background?
Very true. Yeah. I am enjoying it. I’ve been going for a while, but even in the back of your head you think, is this even possible? Can you do this? Just because I’ve been working with the labels, you have to be sensitive to how that all works. So far, so good. It’s great to be hearing some good feedback, and getting it played a bit on the radio, people downloading and listening to it on Spotify and iTunes. It’s great…
Did you have that feeling that as you’re working on these songs, that you were on to something that’s going to end up being quite special?
It changes from day to day. When you make a record, I guess you’re quite isolated, so you’re just going off your own ear, fixing up things that need attention and working on stuff. One thing I’ve learned is never have too high or lower expectations with putting out music. You never know, but it is good to have that. That’s the beauty of the music industry that it’s an unknown result. No one can predict the future. You just make something that you like, or that you feel comfortable with, then you share it with the world and see what comes back. If I said I knew that people were going to like it, I don’t know about that.
I tell you what, one thing I will add, we played Rock Out and Feelin Love at two or three shows, and I haven’t seen that reaction since Woman and Joker. The crowd is pumped up and moving and it’s instantaneous. I’m probably prone to exaggeration because I’m in the band and I’m trying to talk it up or whatever. Even people who aren’t in the band are like, oh yeah, someone went to the gig and they’re saying the new ones are really good and blah, blah, blah. When you hear it from someone who doesn’t have invested interest, then you think, ah, maybe it’s all right, maybe it’s working.
Has this set a bit of a new blueprint in terms of how you might approach the next album, whether it’s an EP or whatever it might turn out to be?
I’ve since put out a song called Midnight Train. I put that out two weeks after I put out Rock Out and it’s had almost double the amount of streams of everything on Rock Out. The more stuff you put out, the more the Spotify playlist and algorithms respond to it. Okay, let’s play this game, let’s just make something, you can put it out. It seems to have worked pretty well. I’m definitely just going to keep putting out as much stuff as possible.
Do you think the whole idea of a vinyl record, or even a CD, is a bit of a dead concept now?
I think you can confidently say, yes it is, when you buy a new car and there isn’t a CD player, or you buy a laptop and there’s no CD drive. It’s all good and well that people like records and like putting it on their bookshelf, or whatever, and they like having this tactile experience or whatever. But man, if you want a tactile experience, go to a show.
Talking about shows, you must be pretty excited about headlining the Uncaged Festival?
Totally! It’s great to see Aussie bands playing at an Australian festival without the need to have a international headline, so to speak. That’s a big step forward in Australia’s confidence in itself, in our culture, and what we’re creating. We don’t have to count out to American artists and English artists. I tour in America and the UK and all that kind of stuff. It’s always a thing in Australia that we always feel inferior because we are Australia, or something. But, I think, this has a good precedence to show that we can do it.
Are there any other bands on that Uncaged line-up that really impress you and think, yeah, wow, I’ve got to get there a bit early to watch them play?
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Hard-Ons. They’re pretty cool. You Am I’s playing up in Brisbane, Tex Perkins and I’m trying to think who else is on there that I wouldn’t mind checking out. If I wasn’t playing, I’d sit there all day and watch every band. For sure.
What is next for Wolfmother? Are you planning on releasing any more music early in 2022?
We’ve played a show at the Forum which we filmed. Hopefully that live footage we’ll put on Wolfmother Music YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. We’ll have some new footage of Rock Out and Feelin Love. Get that out, and then, keep recording new songs and set up more cameras in the rehearsal space. I just used a GoPro the other night and the lens looks really, really great. We’re just looking at doing more live recordings in our studio and putting out those live recordings, filming it with better cameras and syncing it up. Just having fun with all the platforms that you can share content on these days.
It’s great all the content being put up on Facebook as it keep the fans connected and still feeling like we are still part of it, riding the journey along with you as well.
Yeah. Cheers. Thanks. It’s like the old model of a band, thirty, forty years into their career going, here’s a picture of my pedal board and go, oh my God, he’s taken a picture of his pedal board. I think bands need to share their process once a week, at least and just engage with the community that’s supporting them and feed off the feedback, be more creative, have more output and just participate in the whole experience, so to speak.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Wolfmother at Uncaged Festival, tickets at https://uncagedfestival.com/