For The People

18 March 2012 | 4:16 pm | Staff Writer

As far as Will Rendle, the man behind uk ska/pop collective Will & The People, it’s all about music for the people by the people.

When Will Rendle, born and raised in the UK seaside town of Brighton, left school, there was never really a question about what he wanted to do. University might have beckoned, but instead he put a band together. That band eventually became Will & The People, but finding the right combination of players, let alone the right vehicle for releasing his music, turned out a little more complicated than he thought.

“It went through loads and loads and loads of different people and then I got signed by Sony BMG and it was a bit of a problem at the time,” Rendle explains. “People were trying to push me as a solo artist and my friends were in the band still and that finished and I was like, 'I've got to do this properly,' you know? [I]started a record label [Baggy Trouser Music] and tried to carry on. Then I realised that, in order to do it properly, [the band] had to be people that were just wholeheartedly in it and the guys I'm with now, we all live together. Glastonbury 2011 was where the band first played – and we know each other through school together. I mean some guys actually came to see [earlier versions of] Will & The People at other shows and were fans, you know, before they were even in the band, which is kind of cool.”

Much of the press on Will & The People has emphasised the ska/reggae elements in the music, but one listen to their debut album Morning Sun and it's obvious that there's much more going on. There's an obviously strong pop sensibility at work in there too.

“'Melodic' is the best word for it,” he says. “There's that ska/reggae kind of groove influence, which is, like, something that is prolific, but at the same time with the melody, you can have any style. I think that's what excites us, is the idea that we can just kind of use the songs that we have and work them in any way we want really.

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Morning Sun is a bit more of a 'chilled' version of what we actually do live, but at the same time, because the melodies are there in both things, they both work well together. Our live set is something that's very, very important and pretty much is what we're about.”

Even before the album came out in the UK, things were already ramping up for the band. As well as Glastonbury, last year saw them play T In The Park, the Isle Of Wight Festival and pretty much all the other UK festivals as well as UK and European tours with acts as diverse as Paolo Nutini, The Script and Girls Aloud. Impressive enough, but the extraordinary thing is they've done it all independent of either management or booking agency.

“It's funny,” Rendle admits. “Because having a big record deal I had a big agent as well, but I never got to talk or deal with the guy through my management. When I got dropped, my first reaction was, 'Right, if I can hold onto that agent, that would be really good,' so I tried to make that happen and it lasted about two weeks. So before we knew it we were booking all our own stuff and it was the best thing that ever happened to me, because all those people [agents, managers] we'll replace with band members who really care and we just ring people.”