Interview: Raise a shoe for East India Youth

East India Youth

The ever-outstanding East India Youth, otherwise known as William Doyle, is heading to Australia for Laneway Festival. We talk to him about his impending visit: 

Hi William. Thanks for taking the time to talk to Your latest album, Culture of Volume, is one of my favourite records of the year. Did its creation differ much from the first album and if so, how?
Thank you! It actually started in much the same way as my first album, in that most of it was recorded at home, in my bedroom, with some very bad speakers. I think the difference this time round was that I knew people were going to hear it and that had a huge effect on the way I approached writing and recording parts of it, for better and worse.

The album is very eclectic in its sound. What were you listening to/reading/watching while you were putting the record together and did they have an influence?
I generally get influenced by anything I will listen to more than once. I was going clubbing a lot in London during the time, mostly to tech-house and industrial techno events, so that fed into the influence period quite significantly. I also toured with Factory Floor, Wild Beasts and These New Puritans and I think their influence can all be found in there in some way. I am quite absorbent when it comes to what is happening in my immediate environment and I think being mainly city-based both at home and on the road had a big effect on the energy of the album.

Did you feel a weight of expectation on your shoulders this time round, considering the critical acclaim of your debut?
Not really, as I started the album before any of that acclaim came in for my first album. I tried not to let it sway me too much. Deep down, I know they are two very different albums so I had to treat the process and the reception in a different way, as I was trying to achieve separate things.

You worked with Hannah Peel on the album and have toured with her. Hannah is a dear friend of Something You Said! How did you come to work with her and what did she bring to the record?
Hannah is one of the most brilliant musicians – and people – that I know. We were acquainted via some mutual circumstance, our publishers or other musician friends, and I went to visit her studio a couple of times. I wanted some ‘real’ strings as opposed to the sampled ones I was recording with, just to give things some extra depth, so I asked Hannah to contribute. Seeing her live show develop over the course of the tour we did together was excellent. She weaved a lot of different sounds and influences through a very varied set and remained completely captivating the whole time. That was one of my favourite parts of this year.

You’re heading over to Australia for Laneway Festival. Have you been to Aus before?
I have not. It’s not the place you get to go to casually so much unless you’re very popular there so I’m really going to savour it. On top of having some very good friends in Sydney, it’s also our last touring for the foreseeable future so I’ll try to enjoy it as much as I can.

What are you expecting from your time in Australia?
Jon Hopkins told me that at least year’s show in Melbourne the crowd were very enthusiastic, and to show appreciation there, the crowd take off one shoe and raise it in the air. This seems threatening without knowing the context, but now I’m aware of the custom, hopefully I can make some people take their shoes off…

And what can attendees of Laneway expect from your show? Will you have a band with you?
I never have a band with me. I especially will not have a band with me flying to Australia given the price of the flights! Expect a very sweaty man in a suit playing his heart out as he ends over two years of fairly relentless touring.

When I saw you at The Great Escape in Brighton a couple of years ago, you played to a packed room and it was great! Do you enjoy the challenge of winning over new fans at festivals or do you prefer playing your own shows in a room full of people who are more familiar with your music?
While I have done some good festival shows, I do much prefer playing my own shows to my own audience. I can build the set like I want to and really feel like I communicate my ideas without compromising, primarily because I’ll have more time. Also, as far as the UK goes, production at festivals can be very stressful and shoddy so trying to get set up in time and comfortably to perform well can be a serious challenge. Your own shows tend not to have that level of uncertainty.

What do you miss about home while you are away?
I miss my friends and being able to work on things creatively. I find it hard to make new work while I’m on the road.

Aside from coming to Australia, what does 2016 have in store for you?
Taking time off the road and making some new music. Some time off. Maybe I’ll go on an actual holiday? I haven’t done that in years now. I’m very excited for 2016.

For more information about Laneway and to get tickets, head to the official website.


bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend.