Ahead of this month’s tour which will see him perform with a full band for the first time, London folk singer Will Varley spoke to Exeposé Music about his upcoming album, favourite tour spots and who inspired him to pursue a career in music in the beginning.
Your new album Spirit of Minnie is set for release in February. Did you enjoy the process of making the album? Any challenges? Favourite parts?
Yeh absolutely I enjoyed it. Recorded with a band for the first time, so I suppose that was a sort of challenge, but the guys in the band are all very good friends so it was a great few weeks.
And how did it compare to the previous albums you have recorded?
So there’s the band thing, which is the most obvious change. It has a fuller sound, probably a bit less acoustic, but hopefully still enough of me not to feel like too much of a departure.
Is song writing something that you would say comes naturally? Has the way you write changed over the years?
Not hugely, I often write when I’m hungover or when I’m travelling. I think song writing is a bit like keeping a diary sometimes, but not as organised…
You toured your first two albums on foot, would you consider doing that again and what prompted the decision in the first place? Do you have a highlight from those tours, a favourite walk or place you visited?
Yes absolutely, I’d like to do a walking tour in America but it’s a slightly different kettle of fish because their roads are very much designed for cars. I did it in the first place because I wanted to go on a journey where you don’t just arrive at your destination, but fully experience the act of getting there. There was lots of highlights, maybe Hell Lane was my favourite bit…
How are you feeling for your upcoming tour? Anywhere you are particularly excited to perform?
I can’t wait- the truth is I’m looking forward to all of it. I’m a big fan of all of the cities on the tour, and it’ll be great to get out there and see everyone. The Shepherds Bush Empire show will be quite a landmark though.
As long as there is a fridge full of beer in the dressing room, I’ll be there
Do you have a dream festival or venue you’d love to perform at?
I used to say The Royal Albert hall, but I opened for Frank Turner there a couple of years ago so I got to play that one! I’d like to go back there, maybe for a headline show…
You’ve supported artists such as Frank Turner and The Proclaimers on tour, what did those experiences teach you and who have you most enjoyed touring with the most?
Touring with those acts has been invaluable in terms of learning how things work. It’s hugely generous of them to take me on the road, and without it I wouldn’t have anywhere near the sort of audience I have now.
And if you could choose any artist or band to tour or collaborate with who would it be and why?
Anyone who’ll have me really! As long as there is a fridge full of beer in the dressing room, I’ll be there…
What sort of artists and bands inspired you to start making music?
I saw John Otway play when I was nine years old and I remember thinking “I want to do that”. My dad used to play Neil Young, Dylan and Billy Bragg in the car when I was growing up, along with a lot of their great music. I think that all seeped in over time…
Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of?
The Union Chapel show was a pretty big moment, selling out a huge venue like that is pretty crazy for me, having spent most of my time as a performing musician playing at tiny little open mic nights.
You make a lot of references to politics in your lyrics; if you could have any politician collaborate on one of your tracks who would you choose?
I struggle enough when it comes to collaborations- I’m pretty sure the same would be true if it was with a politician. Song writing for me is usually an introverted thing, no politicians allowed…
Tickets to Will Varley’s Bristol tour stop on 8th February, along with more info, can be found here.