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Dewolff

Pablo van de Poel was born almost 30 years after the demise of Cream, the death of Jimi Hendrix and even the days when Ozzy Osbourne remembered his name and date of birth. But the passage of time hasn’t stopped van de Poel and his brother Luka from following in the footsteps of those classic psychedelic and stoner rock influences. “We also listen to a lot of new music, like Wolf People and Tame Impala,” says van de Poel from his home in Holland. “We have our own emotions and inspirations, so we will always be different to the past.”

Van de Poel’s father was a teenager in the ‘80s, immersing himself in the independent rock scene of the time. When van de Poel turned 12, his father gave him a Jimi Hendrix record; from there, van de Poel started to research ‘60s and ‘70s rock for inspiration. Van de Poel had started playing guitar when he was nine and a couple of years later began jamming with his younger brother, Luka. In 2007, with both van de Poel brothers still in their teenage years, they teamed up with bass player Robin Piso to form Dewolff. A couple of years later Dewolff released its debut album, Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants.

 

Dewolff eschewed the parochial temptation to sing in the band members’ native tongue, preferring the natural language of rock’n’roll, English. “I have never thought of [singing in Dutch], but maybe I will think about it in the future,” van de Poel says. “English fits the music that we play, but I don’t think the Dutch language does.”

 

The Dutch government’s support of the local music scene – something of a rarity in continental Europe – has ensured Dewolff has enough local venues to ply its musical wares. “Because the government supports local venues, those venues are in very good shape,” van de Poel says. “We’ve been playing the Dutch circuit for four or five years, as well as playing in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Hungary.”

 

Like any psychedelic-stoner rock band worth its salt, van de Poel says Dewolff use the opportunity provided by the live stage to explore and indulge its music. “We have lots of songs that are only five minutes long on the record, but that are 15 minutes live,” he says. “I always love it when bands do songs a lot differently live. In the studio it is better not to expand the songs too much – it is better to have compact songs. And in the studio you can try and catch that moment when everything comes together.”

 

On Dewolff’s latest record, Dewolff IV, the band enters true indulgent psychedelic rock territory, with a 20-minute track comprising a series of inter-linked musical chapters. “I was reading a lot about multi-dimensional theory at the time that song was written,” van de Poel explains. “I had made a story in my head, and I also had a three-minute song. Then I had another song, and I decided to put them together, and then another, and another, and I also had lyrics written, so that’s how that came about.”

 

While Dewolff may be constructing itself as a contemporary psychedelic rock band, it’s also playing the commercial endorsement game, with contractual arrangements with both Converse and Harley Davidson to promote the band’s name. So far, van de Poel isn’t aware of any negative commentary. “I think those comments may come, but I don’t care,” he says matter-of-factly. “We’re true to our music, and that’s what’s important.”

 

BY PATRICK EMERY

DEWOLFF play the Workers Club on Thursday March 21 and The Yarra Hotel in Geelong on Friday March 22. The double album Strange Fruits And Undiscovered Plants and Orchards/Lupine are out now on Goset Music/MGM.