Interview: William Moore
Hello William! It’s so good to have you here in the Sanctum! Now that you’ve released your latest, uplifting single ‘July’, let’s grab the chance to go a little deeper into your work!
Thanks for having me! I’m excited to chat!
When did you first feel the need to create your own music and how did you make that happen?
Oh wow, that’s a big opener! I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember, I started having piano lessons when I was four and picked up various other instruments along the way. I think I was about twelve when I first wrote a song of my own… I can still play it I think, but I won’t subject you to that! Songwriting became a bit like second nature to me after that, I find it hugely cathartic. Particularly if the subject matter is anything I’ve struggled with, it’s nice to create something good that you can be proud of out of feelings or situations that have been difficult. More recently, at the start of lockdown in 2020 I found that all of my normal creative outputs were shutting down and I was at a loose end.
Luckily I was in a position where I could get hold of a bit of equipment and make a small home studio to start getting down some of those songs I’d been writing for years. With the internet as a platform for promotion, it was nice to find amid all the chaos of last year that creating and releasing music was something I could still be in control of. So I released Exponential and my first EP Four Nights In One in 2020 after that. I think weirdly it was the kick I needed to get it all started and start putting stuff out there.A silver lining I suppose!
Is William a full-time musician or is this a side project? Also, is it a solo act? Are there band mates or collaborators contributing?
Well I’m also an actor and writer, so between all of those definitely a full time creative. Music I suppose is my oldest creative tool though, so I feel like it probably resonates with me the most. I guess they’re all means of storytelling in the end, which is what I fundamentally enjoy.
And yes I’m a solo act, although I’m always looking to collaborate. I know so many talented creatives who I’d love to work with. In fact July is the first song that I didn’t produce myself, it was produced by the wonderfully talented Tom Wood who also happens to be a dear friend of mine.
Please name some of the artists you admire in music. Would you say your sound was shaped by any of them?
There are so many! My music taste is honestly so wide and varied, no one genre speaks to me more than any other, I just love music that makes me feel something. I guess that’s probably reflected in my music with the variety of sounds. If I really had to name some that inspired me both growing up and those that inspire me now I guess a few are Robbie Williams, Amy Winehouse, Finneas, dodie, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Area 11, Jack Carty - but these barely scratch the surface of my influences, the one thing they all have in common though is they are fantastic lyricists, which I think is so important in songs.
They’re a mix of well known and smaller artists, (I implore you to check out Jack Carty, a beautiful songwriter, and fantastic rock band Area 11 if you don’t know them) they all have a great work ethic though, Ed Sheeran particularly inspires me on that front, the way he just constantly pushed until he got where he wanted. Robbie Williams was the first artist I ever saw play live - when I was about ten - and I was transfixed by the way he commanded the stage and held a crowd.
The Sanctum had the opportunity to write about your last EP ‘Songs for Nocturnal Consumption’ which I found really heartfelt, inclusive and loyal to its purpose. Please elaborate on your vision behind it.
That’s kind of you to say. Thanks so much for the detailed review you did on it for The Sanctum!
During lockdown whilst I was finalising my first EP Four Nights in One I found that I’d gradually become more and more nocturnal, the night was certainly when I was working on my music. This often meant I was alone, under artificial light, just me and the studio. I found myself becoming a lot more introspective as a result, and although there’s no question it helped my productivity, the loneliness of lockdown definitely impacted upon my mental health, as it did for so many others.
In some of those late night sessions, I’d find myself sitting and listening to music in the dark, and I came to think that, as conceited as it sounds, some music deserves to be listened to at night. The isolation and closeness of the night around you elevates some songs, and even outside of lockdown if you think about wild nights out at clubs or bars there’s an electricity you can lose yourself in. So I decided to create a record that was a look inwards at how the events of the past year had affected me, but that was also specifically designed to be listened to at night.
Your song ‘Know My Face’, which gives me the goose bumps every time, is about memory loss, a subject rarely touched by music. Is it too invasive if I asked you to unfold its story for us?
I’m so glad you found that one so meaningful. I initially wrote the song for my Grandmother’s funeral. I wrote it from the perspective of my Grandpa as I just wanted to try to imagine their story through his eyes. As a big romantic I can’t imagine what the pain of losing your life partner of 67 years would be like, and obviously he was of a generation of men that didn’t really speak about their feelings as freely as we do today, so I just had to write it from the perspective of how I think I would feel if I were him.
I was sitting down at a piano one day and it all just sort of came out of me. I wasn’t sure whether to include it on the EP due to how personal it is, but I spoke to my Mum, as it was her parents’ story, and we decided it would be good to include it. As you point out, it’s less commonly discussed in art and in life and I know it’s an issue that touches a lot of people, and although it’s a bit of a tearjerker I hope it helps some people, even if just to start a conversation regarding dementia and similar conditions if nothing else.
Closing this subject, I’d like to say you got pretty playful with the moods in this EP. From ‘Good Guy’ to ‘Know My Face’ to ‘Artificial Sensibilities’. How did this futuristic piece of magic called ‘Artificial Sensibilities’ ended up in here?
Thanks! Yeah it’s quite an eclectic collection sound wise, I think that’s one of the reasons why I made the EP title so unambiguous, so it was clear the theme that connected them all.
Artificial Sensibilities is a really interesting one, it’s a combination of a few things. I think at the time for whatever reason I was listening back through some old Linkin Park records and rediscovered A Thousand Suns. It’s an incredible concept album which is definitely under-appreciated, even by fans of theirs - I cannot stress how much people need to go and listen to it start to finish if they haven’t. Anyway, I think the sentiment and sound of that heavily inspired me, and I knew I wanted one more track for the EP.
I was also very keen at the time to create something big and orchestral sounding, as well as expanding on the vocoder seed I’d sown with It’s Always… so it all sort of came together from those different angles. I had already written the lyrics as a poem quite a while before, and they just fit perfectly with the sound I wanted to create and the EP as a whole - the time on the doomsday clock is nighttime after all. This has made me want to go and listen to A Thousand Suns again now, I think I will after this.
Now, you are paying tribute to July, bringing some vacation vibes by releasing the homonymous single earlier this month! I needed to hear it to believe that you have such a bright side, musically. How was this track conceived and brought to life?
Ha yes, a bit of an about turn with this one! Honestly I felt that following the EP I ought to do something a bit more uplifting, and with the hope of restrictions easing coming into the summer, it felt like everyone could do with a bit of joy. I do struggle making purely optimistic songs though, I think there’s an inherent cynic living in me! So this is my closest effort, lyrically I couldn’t help myself but have a tinge of the bittersweet in the form of nostalgia for a love lost, but sound wise this definitely is a big, anthemic, joyful, driving number.
I actually wrote the hook in July last year, and found the voice note again from it on my phone a month or two ago and decided to turn it into a demo which I sent to my good friend and producer Tom Wood (informat) and we went from there. He’s an incredibly talented producer and I’m so happy with how the song has turned out, and I’m so grateful for the response it’s had so far.
Is the sound of ‘July’ an omen, something you’re exploring at a wider extent? Is there a plan for a more upbeat EP or album?
I’m not sure this is part of something planned for the future in particular, but I do love a big nostalgia hit and I do love that festival sound so I’m sure there will be more things like it from me to come. I’d also love to work more with Tom if he’s game.
I can’t help asking, is summer your favourite time of the year? How do you usually spend your vacation? Maybe a trip to the Greek islands?!
Absolutely, I think being British you sort of have to love the summer. I think there’s something to be said for curling up by the fire in the winter, but to be honest I grew up in hot countries and I hate the cold, so yes summer’s my season! Plus, being as sentimental as I am, warm summer evenings make me nostalgic for all sorts of reasons. I’d LOVE a holiday, I’m desperate to do some travelling too - fingers crossed it won’t be long until the world is in a place where that’s possible. Greek islands sound nice, I quite fancy Japan too.
What are you currently listening to? Are there any albums or newly-discovered artists you are enjoying at the moment?
A lot of indie music at the moment, although if I put my phone on shuffle I never know quite what it will churn out. Loving listening to a lot of Lizzie McAlpine, Orla Gartland and dodie at the moment, and my friend recently introduced me to Lianne La Havas who is amazing! I’m also obsessed with the album from Bo Burnham’s new Netflix special Inside - it blew me away as a piece of art and I’ve had the songs on repeat since.
Since this year has been awfully creative for you, are there any concepts/plans you are working on for 2022?
It has! I hope it continues to be. I’ve got a few things in the pipeline, and the plan will be to eventually put out another EP. I also have a couple of Christmassy/Wintery song ideas floating around so we’ll see if they come to anything. I’ve been working a little on a very experimental concept album, which may turn into more of a piece of theatre than a record but it’s very early doors with that, so for now I’ll just say wait and see!
In terms of the rest of this year and the next, I’m really looking forward to getting out and playing some of these songs live. I’ve had two gigs cancelled recently due to having to self-isolate, and obviously last year everything stopped, so it hasn’t really worked out that way yet, but hopefully there’ll be something for me to announce on that front very soon.
Where do you see William Moore in 10 years from now?
Ending with as big a question as you started with! I’m not too sure, I find myself trying to live in the moment as much as possible at the moment - as hard as that is with the internet constantly around us. I do think that the world will look hugely different in ten years, and I’m not sure what that will mean for any of us. But I’d hope that I’m still performing, still being creative, as I’ll always need an outlet like that to keep me balanced. I don’t want to ask for too much but I suppose it would be amazing to have had the opportunity to put a full scale album together (or two!?) by then. I won’t ever stop making music. Otherwise I hope I’d be happy and surrounded by people I love, and anything else is a bonus.
Thanks so much again for having me for this - it’s been fun!
Enjoy William Moore's music here: