Offstage | William Poyer

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-


We've all been there, where we can't stop listening to that one song on repeat. Since I've heard it for the first time, I seem to keep playing In Desperate Need over and over and over again. The third track of Welsh born William Poyer's debut album - Born Lucky - is one of the best tracks I've listened to this year: really great arrangements, catchy melody, beautiful song-writing and, to top it up, it highlights the rawness yet soft tone of William's voice. Needless to say I am super excited he spent sometime with us Offstage talking about influences, how did the album come into being after his 3-year stay in Mexico and what's on his headphones when he is not making music himself. If you haven't yet, do check his album and, for the lucky ones in London this Thursday, William is headlining Laid Bare Live at Brixton East 1871. More details below.

♯ What did you listen to when you were growing up?
I remember my folks played music a lot. In the house and in the car especially. In particular I remember Ottis Redding being the soundtrack to a lot of journeys. They also played a lot of Fleetwood Mac, The Mamma’s and the Pappa’s, The Eagles. I was also lucky to have an older brother who was always blasting out new music from his room, so I’d go in and steal his tapes when he wasn’t around. From all sorts, from Southern Californian Punk to the whole Seatle grunge scene.

William back in February at the Century Club, at another Laid Bare Live. More photos on our Facebook page.  

♯ Have your influences changed much since? What have you been listening to nowadays?
I still listen to some of these artists. I play at least one Fleetwood Mac album a week, they were amazing in all their incarnations. These days I pay a little more attention to acoustic artists, I listen to a lot of the stuff coming out of Nashville and the Southern states at the moment. Justin Townes Earle, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Shovels and Rope, John Fullbright.

♯ Which was the first album you ever bought? 
Nothing cool. One of those Now (something something) compilation albums. Haha! Something where you’d get the Stereophonics followed by Westlife or something.

♯ You've spent three years living in Mexico. How did this experience influenced and shaped your album?
Hmm. I suppose there are some subtle audible influences on the record. One or two rhythms. I do like Mariachi music. But in general the biggest influence was time. Having the time to learn, study, write and explore. There is no secret to songwriting. It’s a craft that you get better at the more you do. The more time I have to learn, the better the songs get. Now that I’m back in London living a busy life, I’m not getting so much time to write, so I’m glad I really made the most of it, over the last three years. 

♯ Can you give us an insight on your songwriting process?
There’s no formula and I try to mix it up as much as possible, but looking back at how the majority of the songs have come about there is a pattern. Usually it starts with a chord, a chord change and then a rhythm. The rhythm sets the tone for the song and from there I’ll get onto syllables. I’ll find what syllables sound good with the chords and rhythm, and from there I’ll start speaking in tongue singing gibberish to the syllables. I’ll keep doing that until I come across an expression, a phrase or line that interests me and then the narrative begins to expose itself. From there, the song starts to show itself and I can begin playing with parts, changes, vocal melodies... From this point on, it can get a bit messy with with pieces of the jigsaw flying around the place and usually it’s a case of repetition, not overthinking it too much and letting the song find its course. 

♯ Is there a song you wish you had written?
Waiting Around To Die, by Townes Van Zant. It’s perfect.

♯ Who would you like to collaborate with and why? 
There’s a band called Shovels & Rope that I am obsessed with. I’d really love to try to write a song with them. They make great songs with great production and do it in an unpredictable manner. You never really know where their songs are going, but it always feels right when they go there.

♯ What's the best gig you've been to?
I’m pretty sure that Queens of The Stone Age are the best rock and roll band on the planet. I’ve seen them a couple of times now and they are untouchable. They play some heavy music but it’s laced in melody and doused in so groove. The room is always swaying.

♯ What's the best thing about being on stage? Do you have a favourite song to play live?
The best thing is when you manage to make that connection with the crowd. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s wonderful. I always have a favourite, but it changes from month to month. Right now it’s a new song called On Our Way. It’s not on the album, but I guess it will be on the next one. It is a fast song with a driving rhythm, it reminds me of playing in a band, even though it’s just me and my left foot.

William Poyer's Born Lucky album release - Laid Bare presents Live At Brixton East 1871 (100 Barrington Road, off Coldharbour Lane, SW9). Doors 7pm. Line up will also include Them & Us, Zach Said, Joe Corbin, CHALK, Our Man In The Field and Rob Bravery.