Patrick Wolf (born Patrick Denis Apps, 30 June 1983) is an English singer-songwriter from South London. Patrick utilises a wide variety of instruments in his music, most commonly the ukulele, piano and viola. He is known for combining electronic sampling with classical instruments. Wolf’s styles range from electronic pop to Baroque chamber music.
Wolf’s ongoing writing and recordings brought him to the attention of Fat Cat Records, who provided him with an Atari computer and a mixing console. During the recording of Lycanthropy, Wolf studied composition at Trinity College of Music for one year. Lycanthropy was released in the summer of 2003. He also made some guest appearances as a viola player with Chicks on Speed, Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, CocoRosie and The Hidden Cameras. The Germany-based Tomlab later released the album in America and Europe. His second album of 2005, Wind in the Wires, which was inspired by Patrick’s Cornish and Irish roots, was released on the same label and likewise met with critical acclaim. The single Tristan, based on the Cornish legend, Tristram of Lyonesse, received significant attention from critics and remains a fan favourite.
Following the success of Wind in the Wires, Wolf signed a record deal with Loog in 2005 and began recording his third album, The Magic Position, which featured collaborations with Marianne Faithfull and Edward Larrikin of Larrikin Love. Its official release on 26 February met with critical acclaim, and gained a degree of commercial success due to the relative accessibility compared to his previous works. The Magic Position was released in the United States on Low Altitude Records on 1 May 2007. A concept album on the theme of love, the majority of the album was written after the end of a long term intimate relationship. In January 2007, the first of six vodcasts was made available on iTunes. The series included live performances of old and new material and interviews. Wolf promoted the album with a concert tour in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, culminating in two sold out nights at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire. Both of these shows, which were shot and directed by photographer Brantley Gutierrez, are in development to be shown on a Virgin channel and then released on DVD.
Wolf began work on his next album, initially titled Battle, immediately after The Magic Position tour ended. The album was originally conceived as a political album. The focus then shifted to the depression experienced by Wolf during the tour. However, before entering the studio, he fell in love, changing the direction of the album again, and eventually providing enough material for two releases. Wolf parted ways with Universal Records, and on 10 December 2008 announced to NME his plan to sell £10 shares of the album on bandstocks.com: “Basically, you can invest in the finishing of the album and the production of it, and you get a share in the album. So you almost become part of the record company, like a co-owner of the album.” On 12 February 2009, Wolf announced that the two discs would be titled The Bachelor and The Conqueror (although the latter album title has subsequently been changed). The Bachelor’s first single, “Vulture“, was released on 2 April 2009, on vinyl and digital download. The B-sides include new song, “The Tinderbox”, and remixes of the title track.
In April 2010 it was announced that Wolf had signed a record deal with Hideout, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, who will release his fifth album, Lupercalia. The final title was announced via Twitter on 23 December 2010.
On 4 November 2010, Wolf announced that the first single from Lupercalia was to be “Time of My Life” and the song was uploaded onto YouTube. Of the song, Wolf said: “‘Time of My Life’ is a song that I began writing at the end of a relationship in 2006 and then finished three years later during a temporary break-up in my current relationship. The new album has a direct narrative about love and optimism surviving through adversity and recession. I wanted to celebrate the love and hope I have found in the last few years.” The song was released on 6 December 2010. He also announced that Lupercalia would be released in May 2011.
On 10 January 2011, Wolf announced on his official Twitter account that the second single from the album, “The City”, would be released on 14 March 2011.
On 6 April 2011, Wolf released Lupercalia 20 June 2011 worldwide (excluding USA, where it was released 28 June 2011). In the same month, Wolf was featured on the cover of national UK publication Notion), which included an interview conducted by writer Alex Lee Thomson, clothes by James Long, and photos by James Moriarty.
In October 2011, Wolf accepted an “Outstanding Contribution To the Arts” award from Trinity LGBT.
On 18 May 2012 Wolf announced that he was working on his next album, to be released later in the year: “I’m going back to the studio and recording my jubilee record… The album will be totally, totally, totally stripped down. It’s time for me to be retrospective about the last ten years before I move onto the next ten. I’m 28 and I think it’s quite fun to sing the songs you wrote as a teenager.”
It was announced on 9 August that his next release would be a double album entitled Sundark and Riverlight, celebrating Wolf’s 10 years as a recording artist. The album will feature acoustic re-recordings of songs from throughout his career, as well as previously unheard tracks. It will be released on 25 September. The title song, a remake of Overture originally from the album The Magic Position, was released on YouTube and then on iTunes on 7 September. Sundark and Riverlight is now available to stream in full online.
In March 2012 he announced on BBC Radio 6’s Tom Robinson Show that he would be taking the first sabbatical of his career before pursuing the next chapter of his musical journey. The Sundark and Riveright tour ended on 6 April at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
In August 2015, Wolf was struck by a car and seriously injured. As of August 17, he was still recovering, but had no plans of canceling a performance scheduled for the end of that month.
Wolf reflects that as a teenager, he was bullied at school in Wimbledon for his perceived eccentricity and effeminacy. He stated: “Wimbledon is my trauma area.” At the time, he was unsure whether he was gay or bisexual. Mentors at school treated him with disdain when he came to them for support on the issue. The bullying problem was only rectified after his mother changed schools. Wolf comments, “With gay or bi people, I think education still wonders if it’s a nature-versus-nurture thing. If you were black, they’d know they couldn’t change you, and racist bullying would never be condoned, but if someone is quite feminine or knows they might be gay at 13, they think they can change you with a bit of rugby.”
On 27 February 2007, in an interview with thelondonpaper, Wolf raised questions about his sexuality: “In the same way I don’t know if my sixth album is going to be a death-metal record or children’s pop, I don’t know whether I’m destined to live my life with a horse, a woman or a man. It makes life easier.” In a 5 July 2007 interview with the Sydney Star Observer, he confirmed his sexuality: “My sexuality is kind of liberal. I fall in love with men and women. I guess you would call me bisexual. I like to have sex and fall in love—I don’t like giving terminology for my sexuality.” Later, in 2009, Wolf told The Guardian that though in the past he has had relationships with women, he currently identifies himself as gay. As an artist, Wolf reflects that he doesn’t like to worry about whether he makes a record “too gay or too straight or too this or too that.”
In September 2008, Wolf claimed that he was beaten up by security guards for kissing his boyfriend at a Madonna concert in London. Wolf told Electroqueer: “We were beaten up outside Wembley [Stadium], handcuffed. […] The police came and it just went on and on and on. My man’s face covered in blood. […] They totally twisted my arm and my legs – it was just mad. They are currently researching the CCTV – it just really nuts. [— sic] We basically got beaten up by the police.”
On 31 December 2010, Patrick Wolf announced via Twitter that he was set to enter a civil partnership with his boyfriend William Pollock.
Wolf has also worked with a variety of designers at London Fashion Week 2009.