WORDS: EMILYFURNESS PHOTOGRAPHY: KRISTIAN BUTLER
Willie and the Bandits come to the Princess Pavilions as part of their Forgivness Tour to launch their new single. Wille tells me all about his inspiration behind the new single and their journey as band..
Down to earth, talented and ladder climbing band Wille and the Bandits play Valentines Day at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth, to launch their single Forgiveness. They cover a range of music from Folk and World to Blues and Rock.Lead singer and guitarist Wille Edwards, tells me about the inspiration behind his single, “The lyrics are about a friend of mine that split up with his partner and wanted to get back with her, it’s basically inspired by someone else because my life’s pretty boring, not boring but I don’t have those sorts of emotional roller coasters”.
Wille moved back to his birthplace of Australia after studying in the UK, found his way around a guitar and busked to pay his rent, thankfully he decided to bring his talent back to the UK! Interviewing them, I can honestly say that the band really couldn’t be any more down to earth and friendly if they tried. It’s hard to imagine that they ever started out by busking, now that they’re touring with the likes of Deep Purple. Willie describes the band’s journey to success as: “Hard, enjoyable and emotional.” Even though it’s clear that it hasn’t been a smooth run to success, when the hard times hit Wille reveals how to get through them. “Its just about staying positive and realising we all have the same goal, we also have a little cuddle in the van, spooning does heal the emotional wounds of touring.”
The performance of Wille and the Bandits is outstanding. Their support acts also do them justice. The first, The Dustball Children, a local band, support as a result of winning the event called Battle of the Bands that was held at the Stannary of Falmouth University. The amount of raw talent in the room is overwhelming. The second support act, Sam Green and the Midnight Heist, brings back memories for me as he comes from my hometown of Exmouth, Devon; I had gotten used to seeing him in small pubs, not a large venue. With so much talent from unsigned bands circulating, Willie thinks that “There should definitely be more focus on DIY acts within the media, its just a status thing, if you’ve got a label you’ve got more chance of getting on radio and doing stuff like this, when really people should be cottoning on to the fact that with the internet and stuff being a DIY band is great”
Wille can’t be mistaken even in the darkness of the venue, with his large dreads and hole cut in the top of his hat to thread them through, along with the sound of his lap steel slide guitar, it is mesmerising. The crowd’s enthusiasm and the sheer number of dedicated fans buying from the merchandise stand, speak for how far they’ve come. Extraordinarily talented bass player, Mathew Brooks, states that: “We have only managed to get the contacts we have now by building up from the bottom and getting money that we can then invest back in. You don’t get anything for free, there is a divide between talent and money, but you can’t do anything with your talent unless you have money”.
Occasionally they still busk as they want to stay true to their roots no matter how big they get, “we might play in a busking festival this year” Wille says. It’s very refreshing to see an unsigned band climbing to the top, especially as Drummer Andy Neuman points out that the media tends to advertise, “If you’re not signed, you’re not a good band”. He expresses that the views towards unsigned bands are, “oh they’re a bit rubbish but they’re trying”. But he disagrees with this strongly as he says “Actually that’s not the case at all, if you’re signed it usually means now that you’re not actually that good as they’re manufactured and put together”. Falmouth is the perfect place for them to inspire the creative and talented people that make up a lot of the population of Cornwall. Andy actually studied at Falmouth University, which made the gig quite personal to him.
“ITS JUST ABOUT STAYING POSITIVE AND REALISING WE ALL HAVE THE SAME GOAL, WE ALSO HAVE A LITTLE CUDDLE IN THE VAN, SPOONING DOES HEAL THE EMOTIONAL WOUNDS OF TOURING.”
He points out that “Ben Howard is a good example of a success story, as he got a really good fan base underground started in Falmouth, he started on a journalism course”. Their journey as musicians puts across an important message to many students in Falmouth, that hard work will get you there. Wille points out “Everyone can do it, now you can market yourselves with Facebook and the Internet you don’t need a record label”.