interview by Martina Vetrugno

We contacted the singer-songwriter Will Westerman to ask him a few questions about his sophomore, the good "An Inbuilt Fault", a "pandemic" chapter that allowed him to experiment with new pop sounds and different writing approaches. Between one hermetic, dry and piqued reply and another, we discover that the artist writes to us from Heathrow Airport: despite having just concluded the American leg of the tour, he is always on the move between his homeland and Athens where he now resides. However, maybe a little rest could do him good.

A period of existential crisis and a long phase of isolation in Italy are the basis of "An Inbuilt Fault", can you tell us about the genesis of your new album?
I began to write the record in Italy, I was there for 6 months over the winter of 2020/2021. I arranged the songs alone for some time, and then went to Los Angeles to re-record the outlines with a live band of James Krivchenia, Matt Davidson, Luke Temple, Erin Birgy, and Gibi Dos Santos. There were overdubs by Joe McGrail, Booker Stardrum, Mikel Patrick Avery and Robin Eubanks. The album is often concerned with freedom and causality. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic when I made this record.

From the point of view of writing, cinema has also greatly influenced your new album, especially films such as “The Seventh Seal” by Ingmar Bergman, and “Ikiru” by Akira Kurosawa. What aspects did you mainly want to capture from these works?
The sense of isolation and lack of meaning.

New musical influences and more complex textures are perceived, compared to the melodies of “Your Hero Is Not Dead”. Are there any artists in particular that inspired you while composing?
Hildegard of Bingen, Kali Malone, Can and Townes Van Zandt were people I was listening to before starting to write.

How was the song “Pilot Was A Dancer” born? I was intrigued by the very nineties final coda and by the text.
I had the music before, and I felt I needed a closer with an audible resolution to tie the record together. My friend Ed suggested I try character writing in purity in a way I haven’t done. I tried to imagine what sort of questions might be going through the head of a person who suspects they are the last living example of their genus.

Part of the phase dedicated to the exploration of new sonic territories also involves James Krivchenia of Big Thief, how was working with him?
I enjoyed it.

There are not only personal themes, but also more general topics of a social nature, such as those dealt with in “Idol; RE-run ", written in the period of the assault on the Capitol in the US at the beginning of 2021. Can you tell us about it?
That’s a mistake. That song isn’t about the capital riots. They always a combination of internal and external factors. That’s what songwriting is. The alchemy is in the combinations and attempting to say something which is understood through feeling at the other end. The external context around the record is very clear. It was written in a period of enforced constriction, in which the erosion of many previously trusted institutions reached crisis point.

I noticed the juxtaposition of two titles, namely “Give” and “Take”. Was it a random choice, or was there intentionality in delving into the theme of the balance between giving and taking in a personal relationship?
It was intentional.

One of the main themes of the album concerns the difficulty in being able to build a stable future as a musical artist. After Covid and with Brexit having now taken place, what are the changes you have noticed, especially in the field of live music?
The economics of live touring no longer work for all but a few artists, and those victorious artists largely capitalise even more violently than previously.

A book, a film and an album that are important to you.
"How much land does a man need" by Tolstoy, "The Lord of the Rings" directed by Ralph Bakshi, and "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake.

Is there an artist or band you would like to work with in the future
Yes, but I can’t think of any in particular to mention above others.

In “A Lens Turning” you sing “I don't know who I am anymore/ That's okay”, who is Will Westerman today?
Will Westerman is a sleep deprived 31 year old male drinking a very bad cup of iced coffee and attempting not to become irritated at the elevator music playing in "The Perfectionists' Café", Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2.

 Call And Response (Ep, Blue Flowers Music, 2017)


 Ark (Ep, Blue Flowers Music, 2018)


 Your Hero Is Not Dead (Partisan Records/Play It Again Sam, 2020)


 An Inbuilt Fault (Play It Again Sam, 2023)


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