An Interview with a Wolf

Miles Barker, singer and guitarist of Falmouth’s local band Pack of Wolves chatted to Kelsi Farrington about how the band started and where it is headed after losing its pack leader

Sat outside Falmouth’s Cafe Nero, Miles Barker is relaxed. He is a talented musician with a careless flair. The Cornish rain is bucketing down but his only concern is keeping his lovingly worn Jackson Browne t-shirt dry.

Miles Barker performing at 'The Night is Red' October 2010

Miles Barker is a 24-year-old who is surging with his passion about music. His obsession with musical classics: Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan and Neil Young is what kickstarts the conversation outside that cafe in February. He effortlessly begins talking about his influences which you can guess started with Mr. Jackson Browne:

“I have endless respect for historical classics like Browne whose music is in perspective to a personal aspiration within your own personal self…your own fears, your beliefs and all the difficulties one encounters. For me, that’s the most poignant.”

Miles, who was born and raised in Australia, is currently in his second year at the University College of Falmouth studying Film. Elliott Sutcliffe, studying film as well, approached Miles after an open mic night over a year ago at Falmouth’s local pub Jacob’s Ladder.

It was there, at the birthplace and den of the Pack, that the transformation from Elliott and the Wolf to Pack of Wolves began.

“When I use to do the open mic nights, I dreaded someone being really good coming on before me,” said Miles. “Elliott came on, played a Bob Dylan cover and I really didn’t want to go on next!”

Miles went up, said: “What a hard act to follow” then began his covers of his old favourites and Elliott began to sing along.

Becoming a pack created that sense of history founded in the older music that the audience could connect with said Miles. They also held the rare disinterest of becoming famous.

The Pack primarily stuck to working in the Falmouth area but tried alternating their audiences as often as possible.

“Performing in Falmouth creates a real family community but it can get a bit incestuous,” said Miles. “It’s much more of a challenge when you play gigs outside of Falmouth and play cold to people who have never heard you before. And for them to still think you’re really good.”

Last October, Miles, Elliott and their lineup played at the Poly in Falmouth in front of a seated audience for ‘The Night is Red’. There was a definite difference performing in front of a non-pub audience said Miles, “It was the most nervous at a gig I have ever been.”

The Night is Red
Pack of Wolves at 'the Night is Red' October 2010.

“You’re playing on a stage where everyone is sat down watching you and completely silent between songs. In pubs you get people singing along, clapping, heckling you, etc.”

After being together for over a year, the Pack are now in temporary hibernation. Elliott has moved back home to London after graduating from UCF to pursue his career in film.

The Pack did their ‘last’ performance at Jacob’s Ladder last December. “I’ve never played in a pub that packed before,” said Miles.

“The group are not necessarily together anymore,” said Miles but that his bond with Elliott goes beyond their similar taste in music. “There’s no ego involved. You just share that mutual love for music.

A lot of people have said that our voices gel well together but I had to stop and recognise how rare it is to meet someone you really gel well with musically as well as being friends,” said Miles.

I think myself and Elliott will always do something.”

Pack of Wolves, who will be doing a rare reunion performance on the 25th of March at the obvious venue, Jacob’s Ladder were a band with timeless taste in music. Consisting of Elliott, Miles, Michael Dryden (bass guitar), Paul Anthony (mandolin) and Cally Gibson (viola), the Pack built their popularity and likeability by winning local’s loyalty with their love of bluegrass, country and rock classics of the 60s and 70s.


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