Oxford boy, Willie J Healey, is winning over our ears and our hearts with his brand of “surf-rock” and his visuals ranging from the surreal to the superb.
With all the cheek, charm and wit of your regular 20-year-old, Willie J Healey also has the added bonus of a darkly-toned voice, deep and all-compassing, though he showcases it with subtlety. Last week he performed to a sold out crowd in his home town of Oxford at his EP release show. HD Malibu is a lazy and hazy release, Willie’s own definition of his sound, as “surf-rock”, couldn’t be more accurate. He decided to label himself with the accolade following an apology letter to his neighbour that you can read below:
I’m writing to apologise for my recent behaviour, and to set the record straight on a few things. It turns out that sound-proofing a garage is pretty damn hard and to get the guitar tone I like I have to turn my amp up all the way, otherwise it sounds like the beach boys throwing up. All at the same time. In harmony. I’m sure you understand. I am particularly embarrassed about the burger wrapper that blew into your pond. Who knew fish would want to eat that stuff? Anyway, I hope they’re now ok. I think I’ve managed to recover all of the clothes that were taken from your clothes-line. I personally didn’t find it funny when Eddy dressed up in your wife’s clothes, but you’re only 20 once.
Unfortunately the midnight tones are essential – but I’ll be more selective about who I invite over in the future. I’ll also try to be more careful about knocking your bins over with my car. The trouble is that it’s quite long and really awkward to turn. Oh and for those who asked, I call it surf rock. But whatever, Homemade stuff all sounds the same to me.
Come hang with me sometime.
We think it sounds like an innocent mistake but decide for yourselves, you are only 20 once after all. We’d happily hang with you Willie, maybe you should move next door to the Wonderland offices and you can serenade us on the roof to keep us calm during fashion week? Think about it. We caught up with the dreamer himself (who everyone’s categorising with Mac Demarco and Kurt Vile), to talk about the inspiration behind his videos, his experience in the music industry so far and that infamous apology.
When did you realise you wanted to be a musician?
When I first nailed “Come As You Are” by Nirvana I thought, “I got this”.
Who’s been your biggest musical influence?
Probably Neil Young. Our music is very different but I love his stuff. He’s done over 40 albums or something like that?! The way he’s constantly evolving is inspirational.
Is there anyone you aspire to be like in terms of success?
Well, I can’t imagine that being as big as Elvis or One Direction is that much fun in the end. Maybe someone like Sparkle Horse or The Breeders.
What do you choose to write about?
I watch tonnes of films – thats where I get most of my initial ideas.
What’s your favourite song on your EP?
“HD Malibu is my fave”. I managed to capture some cool feels that are hard to re-create.
Tell us about the video for “Subterraneans” and the ‘major cake scene’. What does it all mean?
Ever since I saw the cake scene in Matilda, it’s been a dream of mine to stick my face in a cake. It doesn’t mean much, just a fun thing to do.
What’s been your favourite moment playing so far?
We played a gig in London a few months back and there was this guy dressed like Roy Orbison grooving to us. He had all the moves. I asked him if he’d be in my music video but he told me to get lost. He was SO cool.
Explain your apology to your neighbours for us. How did your Eddy end up their clothes, and were the fish ok?
Fish are tough you know, they always seem to come out on top. They’re completely fine. Eddy’s a free spirited player with a huge heart. I don’t know how it happened but it did. Stay true Eddy, stay true.
When can we expect an album?
I’m not sure just yet. I’ve been told to hang on a while before I throw an album out. But you can expect another EP pretty soon.
You’re only twenty! What’s next for you?
Ohhh yeah. Well I’ve been locked up in my garage recording for the past few months so hopefully a tour will swing my way soon.