Introducing Warrilow

Warrilow is a musician who’s acoustic sound and awesome song writing ability has become a welcomed addition to my music collection. I felt that it was about time that I shared his music with you all. I can’t recall how our paths crossed, but I remember listening to the song ‘Carnac’ and appreciating the great sound that I was hearing. The more I heard the more I needed his music as part of my collection.

I learned that he launched a Kickstarter project to raise funds for a new EP called ‘Chief’ so I helped show my support towards his goal by making a pledge. I am pleased to say the project was a success and as a result I now own this EP on CD. I will talk about this release later in the post as I wanted to learn a little more about the musician known as Warrilow. I had the opportunity to catch up with the man himself and we talked about his music, goals and much more. This is what he had to say:

Who or what inspired you to become a musician and which musicians have influenced your sound?

I wasn’t inspired so much, as music was always around growing up. Mum sings beautifully and always has, Dad introduced me to a bunch of folk music and Americana and still copies albums for me to this day and my Step Dad taught me nearly everything I know about the playing folk and blues. I was taught classical guitar and a couple of picking patterns at school, but my Step Dad taught me 12-bar blues, how to accompany other players and how to accompany myself, starting with the chords to Matty Groves. A minor and G major…good times! So music was always around me. I’d always been in bands, including a blues band with my Step Dad, but I’d never really thought about playing on my own until my girlfriend. forced me to play a support slot on my own.

I’ve said before that I’m not really influence by musicians, but songs, as I’m a fickle music-lover, but there are a few people that stick out. I was taught to fingerpick in lessons at school, but continued to play with a pick until I heard people like Nick Drake, James Taylor, John Martyn, people who were making melodies with their instrument as well as their voices. I try and mix up rhythms too, though not successfully. This comes from listening to guitarists like Kris Drever of Lau. And I’ve always tried to go a bit further with my lyrics since being introduced to poetry at school. I think Two Gallants are some of the best lyricists working at the moment and they have influenced me a lot.

Other than that I love anything from Run The Jewels who are currently my listen on the way into work, Andy Irvine and Paul Brady, Godfather’s/Uncle’s/Distant Cousins of the traditional folk revival (depending on your opinion), and Manowar, a metal band who were introduced to me for a laugh as part of an introduction into 80s metal, and yet haven’t left my shuffle playlist yet. Everyone I listen to influences me in their own way.

You have recently released your EP ‘Chief’, what were your goals when you started working on it?

I didn’t have any goals other than the desire to get something pressed that wasn’t terribly home-recorded. I started trying to record something in about 2013 with a friend at his studio, but soon after moved to the North East. Consequently it was never finished, so I started to gather the cash to hire out Loft Studios. It took about a year. By the time I was ready I had a new set of songs…

Additionally, I wanted to see how the tunes sounded with a full band and the only way I could do that in the short time I had was getting in a session drummer and playing the other instruments myself. I thought people would buzz far more, or at least be more interested in the full band sound, but Rope Bridge, the only fully acoustic song, has had the most attention. I’ve done the full band, and it worked, but I think my strength lies in the acoustic stuff so that’s what i want to take it back to with the next one.

How did it feel when you heard the final cut of the EP?

Stupidly happy. The whole recording process was sound, what with Liam Gaughan pushing me to find the sound that I knew I needed, and each time I heard the song grow as the tracks mounted up, I grinned. It was awesome to hear the songs in such a different way and to know that it was finally coming together.

When it was finally mixed, me, Liam and my girlfriend listened to it over a tinny. Afterwards, me and Rose went for a meal and had a listen again on the CD player at home. I’m not ashamed of saying that I burst in tears after listening to it from start to finish. I was so happy that it was done and ready to go to press, but I was gutted too. Unfortunately, my Step Dad passed away a couple of years ago. He was such an influence on me musically that I was greatly upset that he wasn’t around to hear it and it came rushing back to me on that listen. A couple of days later, me and Rose were talking about what to call it and she said “Why don’t you call it Chief?”, which is my Step Dad’s nickname. She’s full of good ideas, that lass.

Which is your favourite song from the EP and why?

XXII without a doubt. I love the guitar and the lyrics and they both came together beautifully with Charlie Vasiliou’s drumming. He’s a stupidly good drummer and knew exactly what the tune needed. Keep an eye out for that lad.

Pretentiously, I based it on William Carlos Williams’s poem of the same name, which is where the idea that a battered tractor (a plagiarised red wheel barrow) can mean so much. Abandoned in the woods, it becomes a meeting place, a talking point, an eyesore, and I love that. Every time I play it, it’s like taking a walk through the woods again.

What are you future plans and goals for your music?

Record the next one. I’m not great at getting the gigs, I never have been, and I’m terrible at self promotion, but I’ve loved the recording process. Getting the thing printed and pressed has been so encouraging too. I opted for Kickstarter–after being rejected by PledgeMusic for not having enough fans–as I had no cash to press it. I was very prepared for it to fail spectacularly, but I thought I might as well try and fail. I could always just put it up as a digital download. To my utter bemusement, fans, family and friends successfully funded it in 3 days. Say what you like about Kickstarter, but it’s an insanely good tool for tools like me. It keeps music in the hands of the musicians too…who needs a label when you’ve got a community of like-minded people just looking for vibes? It proved to me that it’s highly possible to make music work without the need for overpaid middle men and women.

Aside from the next recording, it has been my mission for quite a few years (failed every year so far) to get a slot at Green Man. So if anyone has connections to the inside, please, please drop me a line!

I love how he spoke with a genuine surprise for the support of his music during his project and the way he speaks about his music. You can’t help appreciate his music even more because of this.

So, let’s talk about his EP ‘Chief’. They say that less is more and this is definitely the case with this release. What I mean is that it delivers a stripped down acoustic sound which feels like as if he was performing his music live. It took me a few listens to appreciate that his sound may be subtle but its arrangement is clever with the atmosphere it delivers in each song. The gentle use of the guitar sets the tone wonderfully which also pulls the listener in.

Warrilow’s vocals are equally as gentle with a warm tone that adds so much to his overall sound. When he sings, you can’t help but focus on the lyrics that he delivers. For me, this is what makes the music of Warrilow stand out so much. Here is a musician who is creative with his way with words as they have a detail which provokes imagery with each tale. When you listen to my favourite song ‘Rope Bridge’ you will understand what I mean. This song has a wonderful folk feel with some impressive finger picking skills and also shows the strength of the music that Warrilow can deliver.

I strongly recommend that you head over to Warrilow‘s Bandcamp (click HERE) and give this outstanding EP a listen. If you enjoy ‘Chief’ as much as I do then purchase a copy while you are there. I recommend grabbing the special edition as it includes a bonus track which is a cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. I have heard so many different covers of this iconic song and this is one of the best. Again, Warrilow strips the song down and gives it a haunting tone to give the listener a refreshing take on a classic. I also like how he is still able to add his own unique sound to this song.

Personally, I am hoping for more music from Warrilow and soon. I know that his music is going to grow and get even better which is a great thing for us listeners. To find out about any new music, gigs or about the man himself then head over to his website at WarrilowMusic.tumblr.com. Alternatively you can visit his social media pages at Facebook and Twitter.

As always, help show your support to the music the matters to you. We as fans have a duty to spread the word about the musicians/bands we let into our lives. Hopefully this will now include Warrilow so go and tell the world about his music today.