Friday 17th June, 2011 11:20AM

English band WU LYF (World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation) gained critical and blog attention internationally despite - and ironically because of - their initial refusals to grant interviews. They are due to release their debut album Go Tell Fire to the Mountain today, and UTR caught up with bassist and vocalist Tom McClung to discuss their revolutionary undertones, their name and sound, and what all the secrecy was all about.

Where are you guys at the moment?

I’m sat in a hotel with my boy Ellery Roberts and we’re good. We’re just hanging out doing interviews and stuff.

Have you been touring? What are you up to?

We’ve just done two shows in Sydney and then we’ve got three more days here and then we’re heading off to start our UK tour and then it’s pretty much solid touring for a long amount of time after that.

There’s very little information about you guys online. Tell me about how it started and what you guys are doing with the project.

Well, me and Ellery are estranged third cousins who kind of lost contact and regained contact three different times, and then the last time we met up and we vowed to not loose each other again. We found we both played music so we played in bands and stuff and we started to put together all our ideas from the past – you know the things we’d talked about – like never wanting to end up doing a shitty job you don’t want etc., and we realized we could probably make something by playing music together. And then I met Joseph (Manning) in college and Joseph new Evans (Kati) because when Evans came over from South America he needed an English tutor and that happened to be Jo and they formed a real brotherhood over it.

And we just ended up all at Jo’s house one day – we went to the same college – and got pretty wasted and then the next day I was in no fit state to move so I just stayed. They were having practise and I hadn’t started playing in the band yet, and they were like ‘Can you play bass?’ and I was like ‘Yes’, even though I couldn’t. And it went from there through the different incarnations and everything.

How did the name come about and what does it mean?

Well, we were called Vagina Wars and that name was awful, but also amazing. We then came up with the Wu lf Wu lf. And then I think it was a typo at first where we put the Y in between the L and the F and you take away everything else and it just looked good to start with. Then the idea for the foundation and stuff just came from us looking at what acronym you can make from that so it’s all pretty coincidental and opportunistic in the sense that you can apply all these ideas and things to it and try to make it more than a band.

All of the visual accompaniment to your music seems very issue-based. Is this accurate? What are you trying to say? Are you political?

I don’ think we have any agendas with the music. I think if there was a rebellion against anything it’s just that us four didn’t want to be doing the same thing that everybody else was doing because it didn’t seem like anybody was having any fun doing that in the first place. You know, go to uni, get a job, work your whole life to retire. We just didn’t want to do that. That’s the whole rebellion thing but with the foundation it’s like, if there’s anybody else that believes the same kind of things and really take control of their own life then it’s a way for them to join us and try to do what we’re trying to do.

That goes hand in hand with your music which is pretty eclectic. Tell me what inspired your sound?

Well I guess the whole reverb thing came from the fact that we’ve been into music that has a lot of atmosphere and has an ambient nature to it. I don’t know, it’s just something we’ve stumbled across, we’ve never sat down and sorted out exactly how we wanted to sound and exactly how we wanted to write music or anything. It was like when we were in my basement a couple of years ago we sat down and just started playing. I’d just bought a bass and we brought the keyboard and guitar down and the keyboard sounded like a church organ or something and we just sat down and played 'Heavy Pop'. In doing that we kind of realised how we wanted to sound because it was just something that happened. It was how we wanted the music to feel as well, because before we were a little aimless you know, just kind of waiting for that inspiration I guess. In one afternoon it formed everything that we wanted to sound like.

You’re about to release your debut album. Tell me a little bit about the recording process?

Well we recorded the album in a church and we really wanted it to have a live energy to it so we recorded it live and there was really minimal stuff done afterward. I think we did quite well in capturing what we were like at the time. I think the chemistry behind the recording was that we wanted it to sound exactly like us, we didn’t want to make a bunch of demos and then, like a lot of bands do, get all this money pumped into us and they try and make a professional sounding record because we were 'musical professionals' or whatever. For us there’s no point trying to cover anything up so our point was to make a raw sound. It was more a case of just getting in there and doing it because we only had three weeks to do it but that ended up being more than enough time.

How would you describe the album?

It’s hard because music journalists compare us with all these bands. But I’d say there’s more bass in this record since the Station to Station record but I don’t mean bass as in guitar I mean the frequency.

You said you don’t have an agenda but it’s hard to get pass the visual references: it seems revolutionary. Can you expand on where this stuff came from?

I guess it’s just that you make the music and then you think about what it would look like later. All the imagery comes from thinking about making stuff and making stuff and then finding what really best represents what you think you’re about. When you play music you try and pretty much be yourself or a manifestation of yourself and so there’s that reference in there too. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from.

Everything that has surfaced about you guys mentions the fact that you’ve been purposefully reclusive. Why was that? Was there a motive?

Um, I don’t think it was a motive in that it was a plan to be like ‘OK, we’re a mysterious band, and later we won't be, and after that we’re going to be commercial’. We didn’t really want to do interviews in the first place because we were still working on our record when people wanted to talk to us. They didn’t have any questions to ask because they didn’t know anything about us, whereas now people want to talk to us about the record because they like it rather than ‘You’re cool, apparently, why, and when did this start, and where did you drink that magical water that gave you those sunglasses?’ We really wanted to not be another hype band because we never felt we wanted to jump on anyone elses bandwagon and have our 15 minutes of fame.

The irony of that is that by avoiding interviews and press you became hyped.

Yeah definitely, there’s some things you can’t avoid and to be honest it could have gone a lot worse. I think we’ve done well and we’ve been given the chance to tell the press at least what we think we’re about and I think other people are listening and checking out the fact that we’re more interesting than being a mysterious band. We like talking about this stuff, it’s a passion. We’re not going to make some big stupid statements to everybody to force everybody to listen to us but if you’ve got questions to ask then we’re more than happy to answer them.

Courtney Sanders

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