“There are some dicks out there,” states Dan Croll. “I’d say there are more dicks than bad bands at the moment. A lot of them have something in their music which is great, but sometimes the people ruin it for you.” This may seem like a needless attack on other bands in the area, but it isn’t. It’s simply questioning why so many bands can take the fun out of making music. Welcome to the mindset of DIRE WOLFE.
The band came together over the giving of a business card (Dan: “Tarek acting the big I am”), an acoustic guitar and a room full of LIPA freshers. Drawing on influences like Youthmovies and Foals (DW’s arsenal originally included a trumpet), Dan (vocals, guitar), Joe Wills (guitar), John Stark (bass) and Tarek Musa (drums) have become one of the city’s most energetic and exciting bands. Their perfectly formed songs change from dream-like, airy masterpieces to unhinged breakouts, and then back again – probably similar characteristics to the Pleistocene extinct carnivorous mammal, with which they share their name.
Bido Lito! sat down with DW three hours before they set themselves on Blackburn, 20 hours before doing the same to Middlesbrough, and six days before sneaking up on an unsuspecting Standon Calling festival. It’s what they love.
“Most of the bands are out there to get famous and they think famous means flight cases with the band name on and having your dad drive your van around for you,” says Tarek, before Joe steps in: “The more we see bands taking themselves seriously, the more we just want to fuck about.” It’s this ignorance to what other bands think of them which sets Dire Wolfe apart. However, fucking about is all well and good but it can only get you so far. “We want to be seen as having a good time but we’re not a band that’s having pillow fights in photo-shoots, y’know? We’re about having fun, it’s what we’re all here for, but we leave that off stage,” says Tarek.
Their songs focus mainly on girls (”I like writing about girls,” laughs Dan), be it fictional or real. Come Home was written about Dan’s sister leaving home and Gloria tells the tale of a girl who doesn’t get out enough. Associate comes with an almighty stomping intro and highlights the band’s heavenly melodies in all their glory, yet still feels like they’re kicking you in the stomach, similarly with Regret and its newly sculptured intro. It’s dangerously close to perfection. “I think Regret is a good song to define Dire Wolfe,” admits Dan. “Not every song has to have a real story behind it – sometimes the lyrics can just fit and it will seem right, but that song seems to be the direction we’re headed in.”
That brings us to their live shows. More often that not at least one band member will end up inches away from your nose, providing energy that Crash Bandicoot would appreciate. “Our gigs are like circuses,” says Dan, “they’re even more energetic if the promoters let us play on the floor. We’re getting better as performers too, plus we’re with the songs so much that we can tweak them each time we play them.” It’s this familiarity with their own catalogue that has made the band so exciting to watch, it’s quite possible that they don’t know what will happen either. “We haven’t had a set-list for the past 10-15 gigs,” states John (it should be noted that John is wearing a pair of tartan shorts that The Proclaimers might break out on holiday), “Dan introduces a song and we just run away with it.”
The band recorded their first EP but didn’t think it captured the true Dire Wolfe spirit. “It was very polished and quite fancy, so now we’re going back to record it again live.” That recording is due to take place at the Northern College of Music in Manchester, in a recording studio of orchestra hall proportions, lead by Dave Coyle who recently worked with Everything Everything. It should be interesting. “He saw us at the Night and Day Café in Manchester and must have liked us,” smiles Dan.
By the time you read this, the band will have sunken their fangs into a few festivals. It shouldn’t be long before the rest of the country is captured by Dire Wolfe’s enthusiasm, charm and down right charisma. They may not be from Liverpool originally, but the city would be out of its mind not to claim them as its own. This Wolfe could actually run away with your heart in its mouth – try stopping it.