Interview with Tree Of Wolves

Tree of Wolves are a new five piece from the depths of South West Wales.

Their first single ‘Icy Water’ was released in May and it’s an epic sounding track with a pounding rhythm. The song has been played on BBC radio and they have received glowing reviews from many different media sources.

The band are hard at work preparing for the next single release so we took the chance to get to know them.

Who are you and what do you do?  I’m Gruff Owen. I play lead guitar in Tree of Wolves with Aled Thomas vocals/guitar, Mark Howells bass guitar, Gareth Ingram drums, and Charli Bicknell keys/vocals.

Where did the bands name come from?  It came from one of the first songs we wrote together ‘Light in the Tree of Wolves’ . The song disappeared but the name stuck. Funnily enough, a couple of weeks ago Aled found a book from his childhood about Merlin the wizard in Carmarthen where  a tree turned into wolves so I guess it was meant to be!

How did you get started?  We have all been friends, some from school days, and always been in bands, but never together. If feels like all the people that should have been making music together  are finally. It was luck we were all free at the same time last year from other musical commitments and after the first jam it all fell together, which has never happened to us before.  It helps that we’re friends and there is an outspoken trust and we have a shared creative vision.

What have you got going on at the moment?  We’re really active band when it comes to writing/jamming and recording. We’re going back to the studio with producer John Lawrence in next few days to mix and master our second single, ‘Eyes Wide Open’. We’re also in the middle of a prolific writing patch so we’re stock piling ideas for the studio in August. We are also arranging final details of our first UK tour in September / October. It’s all really busy in our world!!

Favourite music and why?  We are all really really eclectic, Mark and Aled actually run music venues that are at the heart of the growing scene around Carmarthenshire and Wales, Y Glyndwr and the Parrot. So as a band we are always exposed to so much new music it’s amazing.  I’m always accused of being the hipster of the band!! But my favourite albums are ‘Brighter Later’ by Nick Drake, ‘Murmur’ by  REM, ‘The Queen is Dead’ by The Smiths and ‘Horses’ by Patti Smith ‘.

Favourite book and why?  Has to be ‘Pride and Prejudice’ beautifully written and I’m a hopeless romantic.

Favourite film and why?  ‘High Fidelity’ basically that was my teenage years hanging around record shops.

Best experience in the business so far?  Getting signed and months of free studio time, basically heaven!

Why should Soundscape readers care?  By the fact that they are reading Soundscape it means that they care about music so that’s awesome in the first place.

Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?  Gareth won’t play drums unless we get him a cake every practice. I’m not joking!!

What’s the best and worst things about touring?  Well apart from the obvious of playing shows it’s just brilliant to meet different people, get to know other bands, and feel like you’re a part of a creative community. It’s a time when your music comes alive. Worst: well, only one — having to listen to our drummer’s choice of music!! Haha.

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band?  Well I thought it was a really good idea in an old band to have an all night drinking session with the drummer before playing at 9.00am on a kids TV show in front 200 screaming seven year olds.  Not a good day!

What’s your writing and recording process?  We tend to write in two specific ways:  Aled or myself bring in a musical idea and we jam them through with all the band. That is always exciting as you never know where it will end. It’s like building a jigsaw without a picture. The other is siting around the kitchen table with acoustic guitars. I always carry notepads around with me, always writing lyrics that we cut and paste to the music. It’s important that we have strong imaginative imagery to go with the music.

We have been really lucky to be working with John Lawrence  (ex Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) at Nant y Benglog studio in middle of Snowdonia. You can really cut your self away from the outside world there. It’s quickly becoming a second home for us.  We have a very inquisitive experimental nature as a band so working with John, who is full of ideas, is perfect; the word NO doesn’t apply to working in the studio.

What inspires you?  What inspires anyone? To tell you the truth, I find it hard not to write; life makes far more sense inside songs. There is a Nick Drake lyric: “If songs were lines / In a conversation / The situation would be fine.”

Best thing about coming from Wales?  I’m still here as Wales is so much who I am and therefore who I am creatively. I think we as Welsh people are very passionate about the arts especially music: it’s in our blood. The audiences you get here are so much more into it, you get so much back from shows, which makes it all worthwhile.

Who are your role models or idols?  The Scottish singer songwriter John Martin: he was single minded in following his own creative path regardless of trends; therefore, his work has transcended time. Total role model.

Hardest thing about the current business?  The music industry is always a nightmare but I always will love it. For me, pop songs are the perfect art form.

What are the bands future plans?  We have our second single coming out on July 20th and a double a side vinyl single in October and the UK tour to coincide. We just want to get as much of our music out there as possible and with every release progress musically. It’s like being in the sweet shop!

Who is your favourite Batman actor?  Heath Ledger as the Joker.

You can download ‘Icy Water’ for free right here –

Like the band on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

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