Back in December of last year, I had the chance to interview and review an EP from The Willing, an indie band from Montreal. Their slick-produced melodic rock was catchy and fun, so when frontman Will Riley dropped me an email offering me a preview of their new EP, I was excited to hear what they’d come up with.
To my surprise, they’ve ditched the super slick pop rock for a dirty punkish rock that sounds alive and, dare I say it, more genuine. The band recorded it all in one day, in one take, in their living room. “Lots of people come to our shows to dance and get really rowdy and we love those fans and felt they deserved a record too,” Riley told me. “’Splendid Gifts’ was our way of saying we are a serious band capable of making music that can stand its ground in the rivers of highly produced pop and rock. With ‘The Dirt’ EP we wanted to make an album that said something about us as people, express our heavier feelings and not get labelled as a preppy indie pop band. We were recently referred to as “punk princesses” which I kinda love. (laughs)”
Riley’s inspiration also came from a pretty dark time in his life, a six-month period that led him to a suicide attempt, so it’s not surprising that the music is angrier and darker. “I wanted to delve into some more serious topics than were previously touched on,’ he explains. “In the summer of 2014 I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. The first song, ‘Last Year’ is written pretty much directly about that time spent leading up to the hospitalization and during. I suppose I could say that this is the first time I have written music for myself. I didn’t pull any punches and really just tried to infuse this new set of songs with all the emotions I felt I needed to express, fear, pain, exhilaration, tenacity.”
But this isn’t a dark EP despite its origins and angrier vibe. “The way we recorded this album was just aimed at having FUN. ‘Splendid Gifts’ was super polished and slick but it was a lot of tedious work to make. To record this EP me and the other three boys of The Willing got together in my living room, cracked a 24, had a barrel of laughs and recorded the whole thing live, off the floor, in one take. It was definitely the most fun I have had making music EVER. And I think you can definitely feel that joviality coming through in the cut.”
This is a short EP (four tracks but one is 13 seconds of sound effects), with all the tracks clocking in under three minutes, but it’s an interesting turn for this band who are showing a new facet of their music.
The Dirt was released on June 9. Check them out on bandcamp; you can even name your price to get ‘The Dirt’! What better deal could you hope for?
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