INTERVIEW: Will Varley



PHOTO CREDIT: Brett Walker 

Will Varley


TODAY is a day, in terms of interviews, defined by some…


PHOTO CREDIT: Brett Walker 

‘older’ submissions. My second interviewee of the day completed his answers when his last single, All Those Stars, was released/being promoted. Will Varley has a new song out: Seven Days shows he is on a roll and will provide a stunning album. I talk to him about that album (Spirit of Minnie) and the inspiration behind All Those Stars. Varley discusses his musical background and artists he is inspired by; what he has planned for this year – and the advice he would offer to new artists coming through.


Hi, Will. How are you? How has your week been?

Pretty good. I’ve mainly been learning to drive. Got my test tomorrow.

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Will Varley and I write stupid little songs and watch daytime T.V.

All Those Stars is out. Can you reveal the inspiration behind that track?

You know when you hear, on the news, that they've found a new planet and they say it's sort of like Earth…and you get a bit excited? Then, they tell you it's forty-three-million light-years away and your heart sinks. That song is about touring, working; trying to find your way and thinking, in the great scheme of the universe, that those stars aren't really that far away at all.

Spirit of Minnie is your new album. What is the story behind the title? What sort of themes and stories inspired the record?

I met a taxi driver in Minneapolis one night in winter - it was the coldest place I'd ever been. The air felt like ice when you took your hands out of your pockets. The album is named after a song on the record - and the song is the story that taxi driver told me.


The L.P. is out on 9th February. Will there be any more singles/videos realised ahead of the release?

Yes. There will be another couple of tracks released before then.

The album is produced alongside Cameron McVey. What was it like working with someone who has been in the same studio as Massive Attack and Neneh Cherry? How important was his input regarding the album’s sounds and sensation?

It was very cool.

He's got an amazing way of working - which was fascinating to be a part of. He's been crucial to the sound of the new album and I'd love to work with him again.

On 9th February, the day the album is released, you play Shepherd’s Bush Empire. How excited are you about that?

It's the biggest show I've ever played as a headline.

For me, that show is a huge marker to work towards: a moment to take stock, see how far things have come and, possibly, how far things can go. I used to walk past the Empire on my way to open mic nights in Shepherds Bush back in the old days.

It's genuinely unfathomable to me that I'm headlining there in a couple of months.


PHOTO CREDIT: Brett Walker 

2016’s Kingsdown Sundown gained acclaim and applause. How do you think Spirit of Minnie differs? Are you still exploring new territory and sounds five albums in?

I hope so. I think it's important to keep moving. If you stagnate too much you start to chase your own tail - and it felt really important to me to have a vague sense of fear going into this new album.


How did you get into music? Was it something you were fascinated by at a young age?

Everyone is fascinated with music...

Some good friends of mine had a baby recently and it's incredible how the baby responds to music and not much else. I suppose though, in terms of my own music, it was my dad playing records in the car when we were kids that introduced me to songwriting.

Which musicians struck a particular chord with you?

Neil Young, Bob Dylan; John Otway, Tracy Chapman and Billy Bragg...I could go on! These were the records my dad was playing in the car - and these were the records that got me hooked on writing songs.



Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?

I'd recommend checking out both the supports on the tour: Seán McGowan and Ida Mae. They're both excellent.

Other than that: Cocos Lovers, Low Chimes; Xylaroo, Gecko and Molly's Lips

(There's too many to list...).



If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?

Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan, Elephant Lands by Cocos Lovers and Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. (That would probably be a different list if you ask again tomorrow). I couldn't tell you why. We'd be here for hours.

The question 'why' and music are not the best of friends.

Aside from February’s gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire; can we see you perform anywhere soon? 

Yes! I'm touring in the U.K., U.S.A. and Europe up until spring, and then, I'll hopefully be at lots of festivals next year, too.

All dates are listed at


What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?

Get a good guitar-case. It'll keep your clothes dry and, if worst comes to the worst, it will double-up as a sleeping bag...

Also; don't worry if the darkness comes: it's exactly what you were looking for...

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

The Final Tug in Your Unravelling by The Hellfire Orchestra


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