It’s all about connecting for UK party starters Will & The People, so expect plenty of audience participation, Michael Smith discovers from Will Rendle.
"We kind of try and have fun with it, and just make as much different types of music as we could.” Will Rendle, Brighton, UK born and raised, is somewhere in darkest country Norfolk taking time out for a week before returning to an increasingly hectic touring schedule he and his band, Will & The People, have been immersed in these past 18 months. The plan is to chat about their new album, Friends, and their second tour of Australia this year – they were here in February/March. The only problem is he's discovered Norfolk has shit mobile coverage and keeps dropping out. He presses on regardless...
“The songs were there and we just kind of threw as many things at them as we could – and it came out like that. The dynamics really stem from the live shows. It's so much more fun when you see a live show which takes you up and down, so we tried to capture that on record somehow.”
Though he's been working with various line-ups of Will & The People for some four years, the band that came to Australia earlier this year only really came together just before they played last year's Glastonbury and weren't featured on debut, Morning Sun. “This is our debut album really,” Rendle agrees, “as far as this band's concerned. It's the first record I've ever made with a group of people where we lived together and we ate, breathed and jammed every day and made music together, and this record is the result of that.
“This album and probably the majority of the next as well is the result of the last five years that I've spent writing songs, and in fact us coming together is really an issue based around those tunes and us writing together is something that's started as a result of us living together. There are a lot of songs in there that still haven't been recorded that I've written, which we can have a lot of fun arranging.”
Over the past 18 months, Will & The People have been hitting the festival circuit hard, playing Secret Garden Party, Beach Break Live and Green Man in the UK, and found themselves particularly lauded by the Dutch, where they found themselves scoring a Top Ten hit in Lion In The Morning Sun, off their first album, leading to sell-out shows in Amsterdam and Utrecht as well as a headline slot at that country's biggest free festival, Appelpop, before some 40,000 punters.
“It's been really nice to get that success,” Rendle admits, naturally. “D'ya know what? All I'm going to say is that Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers kicked off in Holland before anywhere else. I'm very pleased we started that way.
“The fans in the UK have been coming to the shows for the last four years, so it's really nice for them as well, seeing us get a bit bigger. We're all in it together really. Hence we're Will and The People. The initial inspiration was about being in a room and music bringing people together. We've got this ethos at the moment, people have just been jumping on stage when we start playing Lion In The Morning Sun, and we've got into a bit of trouble for it but I absolutely love it, that energy when there's no gap between the stage and the audience. I feel a lot of our fans feel like they can just get up on stage and steal our hats and shit!”
Thursday 15 November - Old Manly Boatshed, Manly NSW
Friday 16 November - Great Northern, Newcastle NSW
Saturday 17 November - Upstairs Beresford, Sydney NSW
Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 November - Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby QLD
Saturday 1 December - Workers Club, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 13 December - Tempo Hotel, Brisbane QLD
Friday 14 December - Solbar, Maroochydore QLD
Sunday 30 December - Peats Ridge Festival, Glenworth Valley NSW