William the Conquerer – Interview

We recently had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with band William the Conquerer again, and it was great to see the band doing so well and going from strength to strength from the last time we spoke to them. Find out just how well they’re doing below!

By Jane Howkins

You recently announced a new tour for November. Are you excited about that?

Of course. Our attitude towards touring is that we get paid to travel, so the music comes free. We wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t any passion for the live aspect so yeah, we’re excited to play some new music and share some stories.

You’re playing at the Oporto in Leeds, which is probably the closest date to us. Is this an area you enjoy playing in and are you looking forward to the show?

After ten years of touring you start to form relationships with certain parts of the country. My mum is from Wakefield and I lived in Bridlington when I was younger so there’s a strange home coming feel to our northern jaunts.

You also have a new album coming out soon – what can you tell us about that?

We recorded it in March with Ethan Johns at Real World Studios which was several career goals ticked off in one swoop. It was all recorded live and charts chapter two of the William trilogy, based around the adolescent years of growing up in a broken home and trying to find something to hang your hope on. Music was the key then and it remains so now. It made sense to draw on the influences of our younger selves for it so there’s some grunge, some blues, a bit of rock n’roll, no fuss and plenty of heart.

The album was produced by Ethan Johns. How was working with him, and how did that add to the recording process?

He knows exactly when to steer you away from the rocks or have you charge straight for them guns blazing. There’s a reason he’s such a sought after producer. He’s a musician first and knows the drill.

The lead single is titled Bleeding on the Soundtrack. What can you tell us about that, and what is the title a reference to?

It’s about digging through your history and trying to figure out why or how you came to be the way you are, bleeding yourself dry so you can at least try and find some answers from the mess you made.

We hear the single was recorded in one take, which is very rare! How did that come about, and how did it feel? Did you record any of the other album tracks in one take?

Most of the tracks are second take, some third, but this one just didn’t need another so we left it. It must’ve been boiling under the surface for us as it was something we hadn’t really done live before or thought too much about in detail. It’s all about the narrative and being honest in your performance. We got lucky but Ethan creates that environment where you learn to trust your instincts rather than over think anything.

You’re originally from Cornwall, which isn’t an area we often think of when thinking of musical hotspots. What is the music scene like down there, and are there any up and coming bands you can recommend we check out?

The scene comes in waves where there’ll be a hub of excitement and buzz but then the reality of trying to maintain a career when you’re so cut off means bands will move to Bristol or Birmingham, London, anywhere that has a more obvious scene to coast along with. It’s the perfect place to cut your teeth and it makes for the ideal retreat from the industry but it certainly has its downsides. Whatever the state of things, it’s a community that pulls together when it needs to and understands the need to fly the nest when work dries up.

What sort of stuff influences you most, and what have you been listening to recently?

I tend not to listen to much music when I’m writing, which for this trilogy has been a good few years, so I’m quite out of touch. I keep going back to the old records and reacquainting myself; The Meters, JJ Cale, The Yardbirds, Peter Green, Dylan, of course. There’s a great artist called Aaron Lee Tasjan from Nashville that’s pretty exciting at the moment. Cordovas are tight as toast and Yola Carter is set to take over the world pretty soon with her record. Lots of great music out there, I’m just not the guy to ask.

Why do you think people should come and see you perform or buy the album, and what can fans expect from one of your shows?

People should come and see us if they’re interested in seeing a band that plays because they love it and not because they’re hoping it’s all a stepping stone towards some sort of glitz and glamour. There’s a lot of younger bands that see the bright lights as something to aspire to rather than keep at a distance. It can cloud your judgement when you perform if you’re not there to give everything you have to whoever happens to be in front of you.

Any last words for the fans?

We gave it what we could.