Wille and the Bandits play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on back of new album

Wille & the Bandits
Wille & the Bandits

Wille and the Bandits head to Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Wednesday, March 6 on the back of their new album Paths, released on their own independent label Farm Hand Records on February 1.

Frontman and guitarist Wille Edwards said: “This is the album we have always wanted to make since the start of the band. We have always been hugely eclectic, but on this album, we have remained eclectic, but incorporated it into an underlying theme and sound across the album. We have very much mixed modern elements of recording with a more retro sound which has worked very well, and I think has created something very special. I think our intention has always been to be as creative as possible and new instruments give you the chance to apply new textures to your music and soundscapes, which we have always been drawn to. We have never been one of these bands that have set out to sound like someone else or target a certain market.

“We do what interests us as musicians and I think our audiences pick up on that. It appears to me that in the 60s and 70s bands could be experimental and that is where some of the best music comes from, when you are playing out of your comfort zone. Sometimes I feel that mainstream music is encouraged to conform to a pigeon hole, but with the internet it is also possible to have access to so much music from different periods and places, and it is easier to purchase unusual instruments, so we live in a world now where music should be at its most mature and knowledgeable.

“One great thing about this record is that we recorded it back in the West Country and independently, so we didn’t have anyone to answer to and could make the record we wanted to. Also, being close to home we knew fantastic musicians who could come in and guest and had huge guitar and amp collections which we could borrow to get the sounds we needed.”

The band has recently toured with bands including Deep Purple and Status Quo.

“It was so strange as we went from playing tiny Cornish pubs to arenas, so it was a bit surreal at first and very nerve-racking, but we learnt so much from both these acts. When touring with Status Quo they really took us under their wing, they loved our ethos. Francis and Rick – God rest his soul – used to laugh as we would park and sleep next to their massive, shiny tour bus in our old and battered LDV postal van, all sleeping on top of each other around the gear on every night of the tour. They used to tell us that we reminded them of the days when they used to do the same and kept encouraging us to just keep at it. They kept inviting us back to play with them and we became good friends.

“Deep Purple were also very good to us. All the band watched most of our sets each night from the side of the stage and Don Airey offered to play Hammond on our last record which was amazing. With Deep Purple we actually got an encore on the support slot, which the guys said had never happened before. We had standing ovations most nights, which I think gave us the confidence that our music could fill arenas and it maybe needed to move out of Cornish pubs and onto the bigger stages which it now has.”

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