William The Conqueror are Naomi Holmes, Harry Harding and Ruarri Joseph. Last year the trio from Cornwall released their debut album, Proud Disturber of the Peace, the album won them critical acclaim and was shortlisted for UK Americana Album of The Year. Locally they will be performing The Railway Inn, Winchester and The Star Inn, Guildford this November. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch up with Raurri to find out more about the band.
Could you tell me about how you initially got involved with music and who influenced you most?
My dad’s obsession with Bob Dylan is probably the key. It was the first music I heard and the first music I learnt to play. There was a guitar in the house and he knew enough chords to get me started. That was it really, I was off.
Could you tell me about how the band came to be formed?
We played together for a few years under my name with Harry and Naomi as my backing band, but because we all became such good friends with totally different musical backgrounds it seemed like a cool idea to play as a band rather than a front man with session players.
Can you describe how you felt whilst after you’d released your first single?
Behind the scenes, releasing a single is a bit of a non-event these days. What you’re basically saying is that ‘hey, you can listen to this for free if you want to!’ The whole thing of trying to get your single on the radio and what not, that’s a bit of a headache to be honest. Someone else can have that job, I’ll concentrate on the bit I do which is writing, recording and performing.
For those who are new to your music which three tracks would you encourage them to check out first and why?
Whichever three take their fancy. The track list is like a menu and you just have to take a chance, see what the chef brings!
Over the years has your approach to performing live changed and if so how?
I spent a good bunch of years on the folk circuit where audience participation plays quite a big role. I was never very good at that stuff but used to do it simply because I thought that’s what you had to do. These days I’m better off keeping my mouth shut and letting the songs do the talking. I’m pretty inarticulate when it comes to speaking.
I’d never assumed that anyone knew the music so every gig is like playing it for the first time. It’s a good way to keep things fresh.
How do you feel when you share your music for the first time? Do you prefer to share new music live where you can see the crowd’s reaction first hand or online perhaps?
I’d never assumed that anyone knew the music so every gig is like playing it for the first time. It’s a good way to keep things fresh and not reach a point where you’re going through the motions.
What bands and artists are you currently listening to and how are they inspiring you to explore and implement new ideas with your music?
I’m not really listening to much music at the moment. I don’t enjoy the digital searching stuff and I’m too skint to expand my record collection so the only things I’ve heard recently have been things I’ve stumbled across at festivals and whatnot. Cordovas spring to mind. Nashville band, amazing musicianship, totally in the zone from start to finish.
What can those fortunate enough to have tickets expect from your live show?
Three musicians being appreciative of the fact they’re able to play music live for a living giving you everything they have.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
Write, perform, repeat. The album is out in January so we’re just figuring out getting the vinyls cut and all that. Much to look forward to.