“It wasn’t just ‘Patrick Wolf’, it was ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’ – and then if they didn’t want to say ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’, they’d say ‘flamboyant’ or ‘camp’ musician”
daylight” to The Bachelor’s nocturnal mood. Songs such as the gentle folk of The Future and the disco synth sweep of Together, both underpinned by his distinctive quivering croon, are especially sweet.
“The last album was asking existential questions about myself, whereas this one is knowing myself more. I’m over always being the Little Boy Lost at this point. I don’t want to be stuck in that place mentally any more, and now I feel like I can take more responsibility for my emotions, in a way. I think it’s down to somebody coming into your life and saying, ‘Look, you’re worth more than what you tell yourself.’ So you make these changes for that other person, because you want to make them happy and proud of you. I went to therapy for a while, to understand a bit more about my life and the things that have changed mentally, and I could start to see the wood for the trees a bit more in my life. And that definitely influenced the writing.”
As with any non-heterosexual public figure (Wolf once proclaimed his sexuality to be “kind of liberal”), however, there’s also the matter of being classified by your sexuality.
“It’s only since the third album that people thought I was old enough to not be embarrassed to answer those questions. I think when I was younger and doing my first interviews, the last thing you ask an 18-yearold is about their private life or their sexuality. So later on when it started to happen, what I found quite strange was that suddenly all these prefixes came along in the press. It wasn’t just ‘Patrick Wolf’, it was ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’ – and then if they didn’t want to say ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’, they’d say ‘flamboyant’, or ‘camp musician’. I’d think ‘Well, are you just resting on the stereotype of what you think a gay man is?’ I’ve been confused by it a lot of the time, but it’s water off a duck’s back, really.
“I can’t get upset by it. You know, a lot of people that I really admire get it. PJ Harvey and Björk, two of my favourite musicians, still, at this point – after everything Björk has achieved in her life as a writer, and the respect that she commands – 90 per cent of the press label her as ‘crazy’ or ‘quirky’ or ‘bonkers’, while PJ Harvey gets ‘screaming banshee madwoman witch lady’,” he laughs.
“And the things people say about Kate Bush before they talk about her production or her lyrics . . . but if you’re a fan of those people, you don’t pay attention to that. I take it in my stride, really. People will think what they think, and as long as the right people hear my work, then I’m happy.” Not really. I think only one time – before I did Electric Blue, my first solo album – I was thinking of doing an album of Phil Spector cover versions. That album turned into Other People’s Songs, because Vince asked if it could be an Erasure project instead. There were some songs on there I wouldn’t personally have chosen, but at the same time I think he rescued me a bit, because then there was that big Phil Spector court case. So it was a bit of a blessing in disguise, ha ha. Apart from working with an innovator in Vince, I think it’s because I’ve been so upfront from the very beginning with my personal life, so we’ve never really had a battle with the press. There was a time we were on the television a lot, and now we’re hardly on at all – so in some ways, it made us a bit of a national treasure, a bit of a secret, and I think that makes people cherish us a bit. It’s not like a lot of these bands now, they’re schooled in how to do interviews – it’s all very safe. We’ve never been like that, and younger fans especially love that. It’s got a bit of that Lady Gaga aspect to it, where she sticks up for gay rights and stuff like that. We’ve always been champions of the underdog, and maybe that’s how people see us. Erasure have been in the system and been outside the system, and we quite like how it is now. And maybe that’s why it works.