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Don’t ask WILLN’T what genre his music is. He doesn’t know and neither will you. It’s a bit contemporary electro-pop. A bit 80’s Synth Wave. Even a bit Prog. What it is not is classifiable. Every song is a little different and only the voice remains a constant. WILLN’T knows in today’s music landscape, you need to fit in a category to get on most playlists or radio stations. But the NYC-based artist/producer doesn’t care. If anything it’s Alternative.
When you listen to the music of WILLN’T, you’ll hear lots of familiar influences. You’ll hear a bit of Bowie. You’ll hear some moments of 80’s synth-pop like Gary Numan or Depeche Mode. You’ll hear a little early Genesis-prog. Maybe even some moments of solo Gabriel. But you’ll hear it in a new way. That’s the main driver behind the music of WILLN’T.
WILLN’T’s debut full-length “Time Holds Me Down” was released on February 1st of 2019. The 8-song LP is a cohesive record when you listen to it all the way through. But aside from the heavy synth focus, the cohesion is mostly thematic. It could almost be considered a concept album. Most of the songs involve one or more of a few main themes; the passage of time, communication across generations, dying and compassion. WILLN’T lost his father in 2017 and writing the record was therapeutic in many ways for him. When asked about this he shared “being a father of a young child and losing your father is really a dichotomous experience in terms of how you view life.
On one hand, you grieve the loss of the man who raised you and on the other hand, you embrace the joy you feel of experiencing the innocence and beauty of life through the eyes of your child”. You get a sense of what WILLN’T means in songs such as “You’re Not Alone, Kid, or the down-tempo “Smile” or the transcendent-toned “Four O’clock In The Morning”.
“Time Holds Me Down” is a hopeful-yet-contemplative listen. There is a strong pop sensibility throughout. WILLN’T grew up a fan of artists who he considers amorphous because they weren’t afraid to do different styles of music on different records. The term “art-rock” really appeals to WILLN’T. “As a big Bowie fan and a lover of different styles of music, my favorite artists are those whose records never sound the same. I have a bit of musical A.D.D. myself and I find it really difficult to stay in one lane musically”.
The first single released was the groove-heavy synth-pop track “If I Could”. Its vibe is airy with a simple message of compassion that we all feel. The second single “Backs Against The Wall” is much heavier in tone and harkens a bit back to late 70’s prog. “That song was written after the 2016 election, so for me personally, it represented how I was feeling at that point, says WILLN’T. While the track may not completely fit in the current Alt Rock radio format, he’s hoping some MD’s will see it as something interesting that will pique their listeners’ ears. “I’d like to think that people listen to Alternative radio in hopes of hearing something new or different”, says WILLN’T.
WILLN’T spent most of his early music career playing guitar in mostly rock- focused bands and he toured extensively doing that. But he really loved the freedom that synthesizers gave artists to create textures without limits. That’s what he wanted to tackle on this first record as a solo artist and producer and that’s when WILLN’T was given life in early 2017. He adds, “I may do an all- acoustic record next, who knows. That’s the freedom you have when it’s just you and a studio”.
But for now, WILLN’T is focused on “Time Holds Me Down” and is looking forward to playing the songs live in late 2019 into 2020 when he will support the record. Also; look for a new single this summer.
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