'They represent integrity': Dirty Hit's Jamie Oborne on Mercury winners Wolf Alice

'They represent integrity': Dirty Hit's Jamie Oborne on Mercury winners Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice are targeting a Top 10 finish for their sophomore album Visions Of A Life, following their triumph at the Hyundai Mercury Prize last week (September 20). The album, which peaked at No.2 last October, has sales so far of 57,866, according to the Official Charts Company.

The indie rockers are continuing the campaign for the acclaimed album - their second consecutive nomination - with tour dates until the end of the year. Here, label bass Jamie Oborne, founder of Dirty Hit, opens up about the band’s Mercury win and post-prize ambitions... 

How do you feel about the win?

“I’m really happy for the band and for Ellie [Rowsell]. When we found out we’d won, her reaction was so pure that it really warmed my heart. It was a good moment.”

Why do you think they won? 

“They represent integrity and commitment to their form. It’s not often the best record in a category wins the category - and I definitely think they had the best album. The Mercury for me has definitely always been about an album expression.”

They weren’t seen as a front-runner, did you think they could win?

“Maybe because we’ve missed out on a BRIT a couple of times and missed out on the Mercury once before, none of us really allowed ourselves to get too excited about it – but it feels really good to win.”

Have you got a plan in place for them winning?

“Of course, we have a marketing plan that we were activating around the Mercurys anyway. They’re still in cycle for this album, they have a tour at the end of this year, some final dates. So yes, but I’m a bit in shock actually.”

It’s really special for me because they laboured over that record 

Jamie Oborne

What marketing will you do? 

“It will probably be a mixture of digital and outdoor rather than TV. It’s nearly silver, it’s sold just under 60,000. I think this will obviously have an impact on sales, but what that will be is impossible to dictate. But winning the Mercury Prize can only raise awareness, it can only be a good thing, it’s a positive PR message, it’s really exciting. I’m so happy for the band, I can’t really believe it. They really deserve it. Every other artist who was nominated, Wolf Alice would be thinking have the right to win it over them because they’re that type of band. They’re quite a humble bunch. I’m really happy for them because those records don’t often get the recognition they deserve. It’s really special for me because they laboured over that record and we’re all really proud of it.”

At the start of the campaign you said you hoped it would be a crossover record. Will this be the trigger for that to happen?

“Yeah. Wolf Alice reside in a genre that faces challenges in the modern music landscape so it’s a welcome piece of exposure. But as you know my value in art is never really quantified by how many people consume it. It’s more about whether or not we feel it’s a body of work that we’re proud of so I’m really happy for the guys.”

It’s the first indie rock winner in a while: does this mean rock is on the way back? 

“I don’t think it’s ever really gone away, but I hope so. Ellie is a great songwriter and lyricist along with the rest of the guys and they thoroughly deserve it.”

You’ve got The 1975 album coming out as well…

We’re going to be pretty busy! We’re hiring, if anyone’s interested…

To read Music Week’s Mercury Prize coverage pick up the latest issue - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here

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