East India Youth: a dark horse for SOS4.8 2014?

It’s been rather quiet on iMusicate recently, but no news is good news so to speak and we’ve certainly not lost our appetite for good music.

Normally, about this time of year the SOS4.8 festival manages to wake us from our slumber with some interesting confirmations for their line up and sure enough 2014 is no different. Whilst most spent last Monday arguing the toss over whether the organisation had played foul insinuating that Blur would be headlining to then ‘only’ confirm Damon Albarn – can’t wait to see him btw – what really caught our attention was the ‘surprise’ announcement of East India Youth, aka William Doyle. There were no hints at this announcement in the week leading up to the latest round of confirmations and the name is certainly an unknown quantity for many in Spain. Having just released his debut album ‘Total Strife Forever’ in the UK – it’ll be available here in mid-February – and with a series of glowing reports coming out of Blighty, we figured this was just the sort of artist we wanted to find out more about. Will was very forthcoming and kindly gave up some of his precious time to tell us more about what 2014 holds in store for him, including his visit to Murcia.

In a lot of your interviews the name Eno or Bowie is mentioned. Is that a help or a hindrance? A bit of both! They’re two massive influences on me so it’s worth mentioning them, but people start to compare you to them the more you talk about them and of course I am nowhere near as accomplished. I’ve heard Eno is a fan though and actually came to one of my gigs. An amazing experience for me.

A lot of important media are really backing you as one to watch this year. Is that a daunting prospect or are you as confident as you look in your videos and this ‘hype’ doesn’t bother you? It’s brilliant to have recognition for something I worked really hard on, but I think it’s important not to take the positive or the negative criticism too seriously and to continue focusing on your next creative goal. I’m not in this for the quick rise to success, I’m very much interested in continuing to work in music for many years to come.

Your album isn’t out in Spain until the end of February. We have to rely on YouTube for now. There’s definitely a buzz about your debut in the UK, but maybe you’re more of a dark horse over here. Here’s your chance for some shameless promotion. What have you got to offer us?! Probably not what you’re expecting if all that you’ve heard are the singles. The album is skewed in favour of the instrumental works I’ve made, with the vocal tracks appearing sparsely throughout.

Is there any one track on the album you feel characterises you the most? I’m not sure about characterising me necessarily, but in terms of what I think sums up the whole album, then it would be ‘TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER III’ – especially the moment half way through the track where the strings join the main melodic passage. It reminds me of the time making the album and reinforces the moods and ideas I was trying to convey throughout.

SOS4.8 will be one of your first outdoor festival performances, coming shortly after SXSW. How do you think you’ll cope with a more open space? Do you think your music is more suited in indoor venues? I actually played a lot of outdoor festivals last year and will probably do so again this year. I do think my music is more suited to indoor spaces though. I think it matters what time you’re playing when you play festivals. If the weather is great and people are drunk enough, then I don’t think they’ll be in the right frame of mind to watch something that is slightly challenging and not just catchy hooks and pop hits. The later I go on stage and perhaps the more inebriated the crowd is works much better for me. I think, especially with my current set, the atmosphere of the tracks works better in the dark than in the blazing sunshine.

Do you know anything about Murcia or SOS4.8? Are there any of the other artists playing at SOS you’d like to see? I’m afraid I don’t know anything about Murcia or the festival itself but I look forward to finding out! I’ve never played in Spain before so I’m excited to do that. I haven’t seen the entire bill yet but I see that Gold Panda is playing. I saw him a couple of times last year at some UK festivals and he’s brilliant live.

How important is the crowd in a live performance? Are they becoming more passive during gigs, spending too much time chatting or uploading photos to their favourite social network just so they can say they’ve seen ‘x artist’ live? The crowd are important because if they are enjoying themselves then you really feel their energy and it helps you to perform better. I haven’t noticed a lot of people taking photos with their phone, but you do get the odd chatty person. In those situations I tend to glare at them until they notice that I can hear them talking and wait for them to stop, or I wait for someone in the crowd to tell them to shut up. Why anyone would pay money to go and talk through a performance is beyond me.

What’s your favourite track in your live set? Why? HINTERLAND, the final track of my current set. It isn’t as rigidly structured as the other tracks and so I can have a bit more fun with it live and do things on the fly. It allows for improvisation and unpredictability. That’s a good thing to have at the end of a live set where you’re on the final stretch and you really want to reinforce your sound to the crowd.

Well, thanks a lot for talking to us. Thank you for thinking of interesting things to ask.

So there you go, hopefully you won’t be so in the dark when East India Youth take the stage early on in May. Us folk here at iMusicate are quietly confident this will be one of the highlights of the festival. Wonder if we’ll see Eno in the crowd!

Meanwhile, check out the video for the single ‘Dripping Down’.