The most exciting thing to see in music is to watch an artist rise seemingly overnight to become a bona fide sensation. This is the not-so-strange case of Wolf Alice, an English alt-rock quartet (vocalist-guitarist Ellie Rowsell, guitarist Joff Oddie, drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis) that has officially come blazing into American music.
Having cultivated a following in its native England, the band’s debut record, “My Love is Cool,” exploded onto alternative radio in the States and was met with near-universal critical acclaim.
The band, playing Kerfuffle Before Christmas on Friday in the First Niagara Center, is being hailed as a renaissance of 1990s grunge and alternative mixed with modern indie sounds. The band is now nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance, for a Mercury Award in the UK, and was voted Apple Music’s Best New Artist. I spoke with frontwoman Rowsell on the band’s skyward shot here in the States and its unique sense of creativity.
Question: It seems that Wolf Alice is in the middle of a very fast rise. How does it feel to be in that position right now?
Answer: It feels great. We’re on the road so much playing shows and we really haven’t had time to stop and think about it. We’re all having a great time and we’re so grateful everything that’s gone our way.
Q: You guys were not only nominated for a Grammy, but you’re also nominated for the Mercury Prize, which is awarded to the best album from the UK and Ireland. How did you find out about that?
A: Our manager told us the day before it was released so we had a little head start to take it in, but we were completely surprised and we celebrated. It’s insane. For the Grammy, we had no idea. None of us expected it in the slightest. We just woke up and everyone was just like, “Congratulations.”
Q: Having a very large following in England before coming to the States, how was the experience of playing to a less familiar audience here?
A: It’s insane. I don’t think we really expected to get over to the States in our career. Not many British bands get the opportunity and make it work out here. It takes a lot of time. You can’t look at it in terms of smaller shows as opposed to London. We’ll play for anyone out here.
Q: When you write lyrics, are you pulling more from your own experiences in life or from things you observe around you perhaps in other people’s lives?
A: I think I do a mixture of both. Some songs are personal to me and some are about other people. Sometimes I merge the two together and I’ll take inspiration from someone else’s experience and add my own feelings. There’s no one way.
Q: Your music videos are really refreshingly unique and funny at times. Do you have a clear plan of what story you want to tell when you make one?
A: We think of a story sometimes from the lyrics or sometimes completely alien from that. But we don’t set any limits. We won’t think about budget, and that will come later. We just try and have fun, because sometimes it can be a bit awkward when you’re in a video and all you want to do is write songs. So we have fun with it until you can learn how to do it well.
Q: You’ve played fairly large venues and medium-sized ones as well, but what’s your plan of attack looking like for a venue like First Niagara?
A: We treat every venue the same, kind of. We’ll just go in with as much energy as possible and try to play as well as possible while having a good time.
Who: Wolf Alice
What: Kerfuffle Before Christmas
When: Doors at 5 p.m. Dec. 18
Where: First Niagara Center