INTERVIEW: Muddy Wolfe

Hailing from Canberra, Australia, six-piece indie band Muddy Wolfe have evolved from covering blues classics to releasing their own body of work with their new EP, Volume I.

Rich with triumphant choruses, washes of vocal harmonies and soulful guitar solos, Volume I takes you on a nostalgic journey through the bands many influences, whilst sprinkling something unique on top.

I had a chat to lead vocalist and songwriter Steve Smith to find out more…

Hi Muddy Wolfe! Introduce yourselves to our readers…

We’re an indie blues band from Canberra, Australia. We’ve evolved from a blues rock band covering tunes by Jimi Hendrix and other blues artists to carving out our own unique sound blending rock, blues, jazz and folk, country and gospel.

We’re influenced by a huge list of bands including Tedeschi Trucks Band, Marcus King Band, Led Zeppelin, Doyle Bramhall II, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Cox Family and Fleetwood Mac.

Our music is as diverse as our members and our debut EP is a true reflection of that. Our roots are firmly in the blues, but with rock, jazz, gospel and country influences.

Muddy Wolfe is Steve Smith – guitar & vocals, Kim Yang – guitar & vocals, Caitlin Magee – vocals, Jonah Myers – keys/organ, Dean James – bass and Aidan Bairstow – drums.

What’s the story behind the band name?

We stole it from Joe Bonamassa actually. He did a series of tribute concerts to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and combined their names for the name of the band that he put together for those shows.

At the time that we thought of it, there were a couple of other bands floating around on the interweb with the same name so we added the ‘e’ to the end of ours to make it slightly different. We’re not a traditional-sounding blues band, but those influences are still there.

You’ve recently released your new EP, Volume I – congrats! Can you tell me a bit about how the songs were written and recorded?

Four out of the five songs were written by me (Steve) over the course of the last five or so years.

I write all my songs on the computer, usually starting out with some chords or a guitar riff and then building from there. I have more of a producer approach than a typical singer/songwriter approach.

I have my own studio at my house where we rehearse, and we also recorded and mixed everything there, too. The studio is too small to track the band live for recording, so next time we’ll be going to 2410 Records to track most of the band live, which I think will sound better and have a cool vibe.

What’s your favourite track from the EP?

Track 4: Life of a Working Man is everybody’s favourite. Not only is Kim awesome on vocals, but this is one of the songs we’ve collaborated the most on.

Kim wrote it for a music school assignment. I heard it once on her personal SoundCloud page and we convinced her it had a lot of potential. So we worked on it and came up with a groove and a bridge. This song has had national airplay on Triple J twice now, so we’re really proud of it.

Can we expect a Volume II at some point?

Yes, we’re going to start working on Volume II very soon with 2410 Records. It should be a full length album this time though. There will be more songs featuring the women in the band this time, too.

Do you have any live shows coming up soon to celebrate?

We had a launch gig when the EP first came out at one of my favourite venues in Canberra called Smith’s Alternative. Now we’re trying to line up some gigs in Sydney and Melbourne to promote the EP.

If you could tour with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Tedeschi Trucks Band – collectively, they’re our favourites. We cover at least one of their songs when we play a gig. Susan and Derek are such great role models, they’re amazingly humble and great human beings and also outstanding musicians.

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