Now reduced to a duo of Andrew Gray and Michael Allen, The Wolfgang Press have finally returned with a new album, “Funky Little Demons.” The LP was originally slated for a September 1994 release, but even if it had come out then, the band says that it still took longer to finish than anticipated. Keyboardist Mark Cox does appear on the album but left after its completion.
“There were musical differences, and he decided that he didn’t feel right in the group any more,” explains Allen. “It was just the way we were writing the music really. He wanted to write between the three of us, and that wasn’t really working anymore. And what happened was each of us went away and started the bare bones of the track, and he didn’t feel comfortable with that.”
In making “Funky Little Demons” The Wolfgang Press strived to write more structured songs than on past albums. This time around, they recorded about twice as much material as they needed, so they were able to go back and just use that material they liked the best. The group has evolved quite a bit since they first signed to 4AD in the early 80’s, and they attribute change to their longevity.
“I feel confident that we’re mature enough now to carry on, because I feel we’re making better records each time,” says Allen. “I suppose if there comes a time when we feel we’re not progressing in any way , then that’s the time to either stop the group or just stop what we’re doing.”
One song that didn’t seem to fit in on “Funky Little Demons” ended up being recorded in a very different form – it was recorded with Tom Jones.
The Wolfgang Press try to keep things interesting by taking different approaches to writing each song. For example, “11 Years” started with drum and guitar and bass was added. “Chains,” on the other band, started with a guitar line and was then loaded up with samples. Although heavy use of sampling makes some tracks difficult to play live (such as “Heavens gate”), the group doesn’t see it as a particularly big problem . The group also likes working with different producers in order to keep their sound fresh.
Allen has a unique approach to vocals, as he focuses on the way the words themselves sound rather than starting to work on a song with an idea of what it will be about.
“Mainly, they come after the music,” he explains. “The music is never finished but the bones of the song are there. I listen to it and try and just mess around and make noises to the track. I might have an idea, or a few words, or a title that I want to work with. It’s like a stream of consciousness. I don’t write words outside of music, I don’t sit at home writing words, it has to be with the music.”