Hij is luid, gebruikt graag eigenzinnige elektronische effecten en is toch wat prettig gestoord. Michael Ulysses Wells brengt 'riff-heavy' rock met een scheut moderne blues, beïnvloedt door (vroege) The Black Keys en Jack White. Valt het jullie op dat de beste Britse muzikanten/bands net deze zijn die niet door hun pers worden gehyped? Laat dat eerste album maar vlug komen.
With so much new music bombarding listeners in 2019, it’s sheer talent and a loud personality that will really make an artist stand out. Ulysses Wells has both in spades.
Wells, who first picked up a guitar when he was five years old, draws on plenty of rock and roll greats for inspiration – from Eric Clapton to Jeff Beck. His use of quirky electronic effects and unusual guitar models, along with nods to other forward-thinking artists such as Tame Impala, Little Simz and the Black Keys, give his music a futuristic edge that, until now, has been sorely lacking in modern British rock music.
Yet out of all of these eclectic influences, it's Jack White that listeners are most likely to think of when they hear Wells’ music. “I love the attitude in his work, the manic brokenness,” Wells says. The pair share a similar ethos – one that panders little to current music trends and chooses instead to get results via true musicianship, and hard work.
Hailing from Oxford, Wells has spent the past few months locked away in a converted stable, working on new music. And it’s not like he didn’t have anything to write about, after the band he used to be in fell apart when his girlfriend of 10 years left Wells for his best friend.
“That was good writing material,” he admits. “I try to make the themes in my music quite varied, but I think there’s quite a lot of angry stuff out there. I’m not an angry person in real life, so putting it into a song feels quite cathartic.”
It’s the energy in the music that really matters to him. Wells is fast-building a deserved, formidable reputation as a fantastic live artist. And for those wondering about his unusual name, thank his father, an actor who has a particular fondness for the James Joyce novel.
Wells dabbled in acting before realising that music was his true calling, yet he still manages to find room for some drama onstage: “It’s an outlet for some madness,” he says. “My favourite musicians give it everything."
Following a summer in 2018 that saw him share festival stages with the likes of George Ezra, Jake Bugg, and fellow up-and-comers Sea Girls, Wells is raring to get back to live shows. “I’d love to make an album this year,” he says with a laugh. “But I also want to get the gigs going and make it onto as many festival stages as possible. I’ve got about 200 songs in the book, so it’s time to start letting people hear them.”