20 year old ex-limo driving surf-rocker, Willie J Healey, shares his top tracks with us.
We like Willie J Healey here at Wonderland. In fact, we like him so much that he appeared in our 10th Anniversary Issue: he’s a 20 year old, ginger-mopped crooner from Oxford with a wicked sense of humor and a deep, richly toned voice that is deliciously at odds with his devil-may-care youthfulness. Still raw enough to be practicing in his garage at home, he released his debut EP, HD Malibu, earlier this year and its full of the hazy, sliding-guitar riffs that mark Willie out as the next in a long line of talented acolytes of The Beach Boys – with the addition of a sonic detour through Mac De Marco’s slacker country. Though it’s neither of these artists who Willie claims as his biggest inspiration, instead citing 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.”
Willie also caught attention for whipping it around in a limo (“I tried to keep it going because everyone was like ‘Ah that’s so funny Willie, you’ve got a limo, you’re such a player'”) and writing an open letter addressed to his neighbours in which he apologised for making so much noise, for feeding their fish a burger wrapper and, on behalf of his mate Eddy, for stealing women’s clothes from the washing line. His irreverant sense of humour shines through in the video for his track ‘Subterranean’, which shows him stuffing handfuls of birthday cake all over his face and generally making a surreal mess of things – check it out below. What was the significance of the cake though? Not a lot it turns out: “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.” Fair enough, Cook’s ‘Sweat and Blood Cake’ always looked tempting to me as well.
We asked Willie to pick out some of his favourite tracks for Wonderland and he duly obliged, telling us, “here’s my playlist, inside includes the staples of a healthy musical diet. It consists of some classic hits mixed with a bunch of good new music. Wicked stuff. These are the songs I wish I could’ve wrote. I don’t listen to them too much because I’d probably end up ripping them off, but enjoy. Timeless hits in my eyes. I’m also really into the production side of these recordings. Some are fuzzy some are clean.” Sounds good to us.
WORDS: Benji Walters