Having recently returned from a trip to the US to immerse himself in music, Phil Barlow is back on our golden shores with a brand new album The Awakening which features some of the Gold Coast’s most accomplished musicians: local legend Scotty French on guitar, Karl Evans on bass, Cvitan Barac on drums.
Tell me about how you got into music?
I started by breaking from my 9-5 work life and started song writing and working on music. I then crashed myself into the music industry with my solo EP Shades of Grey and had the songs of my next album Phoenix Rising already written. I wrote most of them while travelling in Europe and decided some of the songs needed a band.
What have you been doing lately and how has this influenced your music?
Last year I went to Chicago and New Orleans to study music, spent five nights a week at whiskey dive bars and didn’t drink whiskey, ‘cause I was out five nights a week listening to the music and during the day I would just go through licks and get inspiration. I feel like I came home with a new fibre and outlook on how I conceptualise music and how I play it. Everything came from blues and to have that foundation deeply embedded in there has just locked in something pretty special. I am not interested in writing old school traditional blues but there is something pretty satisfying about understanding it.
There is a huge development from your first EP Shades of Grey and this second album ‘Phoenix Rising’ to ‘The Awakening’ which is so much more gutsy. Aside form working closely with the band what else changed to inspire this new sound?
I moved from an acoustic guitar to a Gibson Les Paul electric and that changed the way I write and just opened up a whole different world of tones and what comes out of the song as the end result. Also what I was listening to in the earlier years like The Doors and Led Zeppelin, which really influenced those first two albums. Working with the band changed a lot of the sound also.
Do you play any blues covers in your sets?
We are just developing our cover song repertoire, we really have a few favourites we all love to play just to mix them into our longer sets. We usually have to throw some in when we play three set gigs, we love doing those ‘cause usually the first we are warming, the second one everyone gets into the vibe and the third one you just blow everyone’s heads off and fall to the ground out of exhaustion at the end of it all.
What is it that you are awakening out of?
It is an awakening out of the human mind, out of the illusions we often live in. For me it was one particular track; Bold Sea Eagle is a song about breaking out of fear and fear can stagnate you and breaking free from that feeling, liberated and following what you want to do.
What are you listening to backstage to prepare for a gig? What are you a music fan of?
It depends who’s got control of the music and if it’s me I am still processing that 70’s era, there is so much great stuff there. Canned Heat has some amazing stuff, and Led Zeppelin I cant get out of my head. I like well-written songs with good riffs.
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You can expect some wild wolf pack action at The Awakening album launch on 15 May at Miami Marketta, which will have Nicole Brophy formerly of Killing Heidi supporting on the night. Phil Barlow and The Wolf will be playing two epic sets as a five piece.
You can find out more on the official website where you can even join the wolf pack and access members only gigs and merchandise. For upcoming gigs or to connect with Phil Barlow and The Wolf head to their Facebook page and give them a like.
Images courtesy Leisen Standen | Lamp Phogotraphy