The artist known as "Patrick Wolf" has had an interesting, if not somewhat fairytale-like journey in his transition from boy to Wolf. The background and tales of his inspirations enhance the entire listening experience, as is often the case with folk singer/songwriters.
Only a few short years ago in 1983, the Patrick cub was born in County Cork, Ireland. But soon after, he was transported to London, his adopted home. He began his musical education with the viola and violin at age six then travelled across Europe in an orchestra. By the age of 11, he started to write songs to escape from school troubles on a stolen four-track late at night on viola and theremin. He built a theremin during this time too and played in the Science Museum and with the pop group Minty.
At 15, he left for the countryside and learnt the harp. He was still playing in orchestras and composing late at night on organs and harps, living with horses and sheep and big hills. However, for the time being, he kept his voice a secret.
Returning to London at 16. the transition from schoolboy to man became quite troublesome, and the cub soon began to turn into a WOLF! He ran away from home to a run-down haunted house on the river in nearby Richmond. In this haunted house, he found an old, dusty, out-of-tune harpsichord, and started playing that too . He then caught the attention of Fat Cat Records and got given an Atari and mixing desk to start recording songs "properly". He found the writings of Angela Carter and the music of Joni Mitchell to be a great inspiration - the way that Mitchell brought the folk narrative and intimacy into pop electricity and the way Carter took fairytales and brought out all the symbols of wolves and ghosts to express her own emotions. "Mythology is the language of the inner world."
By this time, young Wolf was 17, and he formed a band called Maison Crimineaux making gabba-shouting-punk-pop music. They went to play in Paris, and on this day, he met a spirit medium telling Patrick to rename himself after a wolf and the transformation from boy to Wolf was complete.
On the same day, he also met Capitol K who loved Patrick's voice and enquired about any solo material. So Patrick played Capitol K his Atari, harpsichord and viola songs, which was enough for Capitol K to ask Patrick if he could release an LP for his new Faith and Industry label. Patrick went through years of four-track tapes and scores to put together an album that told his story of puberty and transformation from boy to wolf. His first full-length, "LYCANTHROPY" was born!
Patrick's musical family continues to grow. He has added an accordion that he found in an old curiosity shop in Cornwall, a ukelele he bought in Edinburgh, and probably, most importantly, a laptop - which Patrick believe is the most essential tool for a modern folk musician. To be able to record anywhere, at any time on a machine smaller than an accordion or guitar...well, it gives you the freedome to record in forests at midnight or on hills during a rainstorm. Certainly the kind of freedom a wolf needs to express himself musically!
Patrick Wolf at The Metro in Sydney 2007