We chat to Jacub Slater of Wunderhorse about life in Cornwall, new music, and much more!
The name Jacob Slater may ring bells with some music fans, as he was the frontman of the very popular punk outfit the Dead Pretties. The band were hugely successful around the South London area and beyond but the project burnt out and Jacob found himself washed on the shores of Cornwall. It was here he embraced his love for surfing and the more relaxed lifestyle this county has to offer, however, it wasn’t long before new music came flowing through him. Fast forward a few years an Wunderhorse has released their debut album ‘Cub’, and played a sell-out show in London’s The Lafayette.
With all this in mind we were eager to chat to Jacob to pinch his ear about his love for Cornwall, life after London, new music and much more!
Kieran: Thanks so much for having a chat with us, how are things going?
Jacub: Things are going well thanks, thank you for making the time.
Kieran: So, ‘Cub’ has been out in the wild for a bit now, how does it feel and what’s the response been like so far?
Jacub: The response has been really positive, which I’m happy about because you never know how these things that have been sat in your brain for so long are going to be received by the wider world.
Kieran: The album had been eight years in the making so I am curious to know when you knew the right time to release it?
Jacub: We were going to release a while back, but COVID put a stop to that. We got into the studio in Rockfield as soon as we could; we just wanted to get it out as soon as possible without necessarily waiting for the right time, just ASAP.
Kieran: There is an obvious clear distinction between what you’re doing with Wunderhorse in comparison to the Dead Pretties, but is there anything you feel has crossed the border into the music you’re creating now?
Jacub: There’s some overlap. Songs like ‘Leader of the Pack’ were written toward the end of Dead Pretties, but never really found a place in the Dead Pretties repertoire or in the live set: Wunderhorse was a better home for that. We definitely carried over some of the live energy from those shows and the work ethic – that’s one think that DP taught me, graft.
Kieran: After the Dead Pretties came to an end what was it that drew you to Cornwall?
Jacub: I’ve been coming to Cornwall since I was about nine years old – surfing and stuff – I’ve always loved it, it’s always felt like home more than anywhere else in the world. So it made it very happy to be able to finally call it home properly, it’s a good place for me to create, be quiet and just be who I am… I feel like the most genuine version of myself when I’m down here.
“I feel like the most genuine version of myself when I’m down here“Jacob Slater – Wunderhorse
Kieran: How has your experience been so far and did you surf before arriving on our golden shores?
Jacub: I’ve been surfing since I was about nine years, but I’ve done it more and more since I’ve been down here. Maximising my time in the water was another reason for me moving down here; along with music, surfing is my true love really.
Kieran: What was it that drew you towards surfing?
Jacub: You get a feeling from it that you don’t really get from anything else in the world. It’s an are of my life where I have the freedom to fail and I don’t put too much pressure on myself to be the best: it’s just something I do for the pure love of it without any specific end goal, and I feel like everyone should have something like that in their life.
Kieran: Did Cornwall influence your writing or creativity in any way?
Jacub: Yeah certainly, I think it’s really helped being out of London. Some people are suited to that kind of city environment, but I feel like I need to be able to see the horizon and be around people who don’t necessarily think about music in the same way that the London scene does. Music is a big part of people’s lives down here, but it isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all and they’re not obsessed with what’s cool and what isn’t – which gives you the freedom and space of mind to be able to develop your own things without too much negative outside influence.
Kieran: Do you still like playing in London and is there anything you miss?
Jacub: I like going back to play the odd show, but I don’t really miss London. It’s nice to catch up with old friends and stuff, but it’s definitely not for me.
Kieran: You’re heading on a UK headline tour next year, are there any spots, in particular, you’re looking forward to playing?
Jacub: Glasgow and Newquay. Andy (our booking agent) was wise enough to get us some gigs down here. I think it’s important to play to what is essentially our home crowd, I don’t think that many people down here know about Wunderhorse yet, but I wanna change that; I’m proud to be from Newquay and I want to share that with everyone. Everyone down here has indirectly influenced me in some way, and I want everyone to be a part of it. And Glasgow is always a laugh, it’s the best major city in the UK to play.
Kieran: What can we expect from a Wunderhorse live show?
Jacub: We give 100%. alongside the other guys in the band, Jamie, Harry and Pete – we aim to leave our bodies on the stage after the set. We want people to leave feeling fulfilled; like they’ve witnessed something that is unique and different every night.
“We want people to leave feeling fulfilled; like they’ve witnessed something that is unique and different every night“Jacob Slater – Wunderhorse
Kieran: What are your five essentials for a tour?
Jacub: Instruments. Not getting sick. Boxing gloves: me and Harry, the guitarist (we’ve have been friends since we were like fourteen) want to keep fit in some way and it’s good to smack the shit out of each other a bit to keep the blood pumping before shows and not get too bored. Decent hotel bookings is another essential: they don’t have to be ‘decent’ hotels, but they need to be booked properly. There’ve been too many occasions in the past where you turn up, our room’s been booked for the wrong month and you have to sleep in the van – which is pretty gnarly in the winter. Final essential is keeping an eye on everyone in the band: keeping the social equilibrium and making sure everyone’s happy.
Kieran: Lastly, what’s in store for Wunderhorse for 2023 and beyond?
Jacub: More music. 2023 is going to be a big year for us for live shows too, we have the Pixies tour, our headline tour, and perhaps we’ll head back to America. Then – if we have enough beans left in us – we’ll record the next album.