Interview: Will Varley

Gareth Matson interviewed singer songwriter and Frank Turner’s support  Will Varley

Have influences remained consistent throughout your albums?

Influence is such a weird thing, you’re never really aware of it, it’s a lot more subtle than you’d think, I mean obviously there’s Dylan, Springsteen and Neil Young, you’re a liar if you say they’re not an influence on your work as a songwriter. 

Would you say your music is becoming progressively more political?

I wouldn’t say more political. The new album is quite political but then you could say it’s not political at all really! Y’know I just write a song about whatever I’m thinking about that day, one day I could write a song about tripping up over a dead dog, the next day I watch something on the news and write one about David Cameron. 

What are your thoughts on streaming services?

They just don’t work for me. People try to force you on to them saying you need to be on this, you need to be on that, my music went up on Apple Music without my permission, so on principle I told them to bloody take it down! If you’re a really successful superstar artist, they’re brilliant, but artists my level they tell you that you need it to get your name out there, B.S. I tour 250 days a year for that!

You’re everything The Proclaimers wish to be, walking nearly 500 miles for your walk tour last year.

Yes! It was extremely tough though, but I actually ended up supporting them over the summer. They said they wouldn’t actually walk 500 miles because ‘it’s a bit much’, so I’ve trumped them there. 

What song are you particularly proud of?

I’m always looking to make more challenging stuff, the newest album is my most challenging and I enjoy the songs the most, but then I enjoy playing ‘King for a King’ and ‘Self-Checkout Shuffle’. In the future I want make more challenging music that doesn’t necessarily make people smile, make them question everything. They’ll all go out to the nearest Pizza Hut and eat all they can for 3 hours and question why they’re here. That’s what’s next!

Which song do you wish you had written?

‘The Great Leap Forward’ by Billy Bragg, it’s just the most beautifully constructed song, I’ve tried to write a song like that over the years but I can’t even get close. 

Best/Worst bits about touring?

Best bits are definitely the gigs, having played for so long in pretty bad venues to now be playing in venues like this to large numbers of people is amazing. Absolute pleasure. I could tell you the best bit is hanging around on the buses with the free booze, now don’t get me wrong that’s great! Worst bits would be the gigs, the relentless gigs, don’t get a chance to recharge. For years I was doing a gig once every three months in between watching Jeremy Kyle on the sofa, so I got a lot of rest between shows!