Lunatic Wolf is a folk rock band from Johannesburg, South Africa. After performing and writing for a few years, the six-piece group released their debut album To the Adventure in 2014—and critics are loving it.
To the Adventure takes the best parts of rock and folk and mixes them together in a satisfying blend. The band’s sound has been described as “easy to listen to, yet energetic enough to keep you wanting more.”
Founding band member Richard Oldfield was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the experiences and ideas behind To the Adventure. Read our conversation below.
Ethan Weitz: How did Lunatic Wolf come to be?
Richard Oldfield: Gavin van den Berg and I have been writing and performing together for many years. After our last musical project disbanded, the two of us got together to work on something new. The result was a collection of musical ideas which would eventually become our debut album To the Adventure. We recruited our friends Jacques du Plessis, Adrian Erasmus, David Grevler, and Gavin Flaks to help out with a live show. We’ve known the guys for many years and we all have a strong bond musically.
Ethan: Tell us about the first song you guys ever wrote.
Richard: “The Tallest Tree” was the first song we wrote for To the Adventure. I had the initial idea for the lyrical theme when I was climbing in one of the trees I used to climb as a child. We then worked the music around the lyrics.
Emily Cardé: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Richard: We draw inspiration from a variety of places. None of us are particularly fixated on any genre or sound. Growing up, we were treated to bands such as The Beatles, Donovan, and Simon and Garfunkel. I think many of these bands laid the foundation for us musically.
Ethan: To the Adventure is a beautiful album. What was the inspiration for writing it?
Richard: Much of our inspiration for the album was taken from everyday moments and the impact that those moments had on our personal lives.
Emily: What’s the story behind “Roses”?
Richard: “Roses” was one of the first songs that Gavin and I wrote from start to finish in one sitting. We were asked to write a song for Gavin’s sister’s wedding and “Roses” was the outcome of that. The lyrics definitely parallel our own relationship experiences, though. We never expected it to make it on the album, but we’re happy it did.
Ethan: What’s your favorite song to play live?
Richard: “Sure As Hell” would be my favorite because it has a powerful simplicity to it—starting slowly and then opening up to a fuller and more inspiring tone.
Ethan: What’s the most memorable thing that has ever happened to you at a show?
Richard: Well, we are at the first stages of our performing career as Lunatic Wolf, and playing light alternative folk music doesn’t lead to many stories worth writing about. What I can say is that having the support of loved ones in the front row always makes my heart smile.
Emily: What is the hardest part of being a professional musician?
Richard: Finding the time to get six guys together who all work full-time jobs is the trickiest part. We are all very passionate about the music, but it’s tricky to align everyone’s diary.
Emily: What’s the most rewarding part of making music for a living?
Richard: It starts with the songwriting. It is very fulfilling for me to write music with someone like Gavin.
We work very well together and allow each other the space to try ideas, sometimes failing and sometimes creating something that works. We both have the same objectives when working together and we get the best out of one another.
Ethan: How’s the new album coming? Do you have an idea of what it’s going to sound like?
Richard: We’re currently in the pre-production phase, but things are moving along quite swiftly. The sound is taking shape too. We are moving back to a more alternative rock feel.
Photos courtesy of Warren Gibson of Plug Music Agency.