Willie J Healey: 'It's an amazing compliment for people like Lauren Laverne to have got on board the way they have'

Willie J Healey: 'It's an amazing kind of compliment for people like Lauren Laverne to have got on board the way they have'

Oxfordshire singer-songwriter discusses his latest EP and upcoming headline tour

When Lauren Laverne, the trusted doyen of new music, holds an artist in high regard, there's likely to be a reason to pay attention. Willie J Healey appeared on Laverne's show as a guest in 2017 following the release of his debut album People And Their Dogs, and has since become a regular on 6Music playlists. 'It's an amazing kind of compliment for people like Lauren Laverne to have got on board the way they have.' Healey says when asked about the response to the album. 'And just lots of other people that I've looked up to for a long time have been really kind about it. So yeah, I'm happy with how it all went.'

Over the past year, the Oxfordshire singer-songwriter has been busy touring with the likes of Sundara Karma and Slaves and releasing more music in the form of his follow-up EP 666 Kill, which has taken him in a more DIY direction. Having completed the EP himself using a home studio, Healey wrote and recorded the tracks in record time.

'I saw it as an opportunity to learn because I knew quite early on that my situation with my record level would change,' he explains. 'I thought, if I learnt all of this now, I could still record regardless of whether I have a record label or not. I'm glad I did it because instead of paying for studio time, I paid for equipment which I still have now.'

666 Kill is a lo-fi and melancholic EP that takes a step away from the playful nature of People and Their Dogs, taking on a more gothic theme throughout.

'When I started writing the first couple of tracks, I wanted them to be more acoustic with a more simple approach. But I didn't think about it too much and I think maybe that's why I'm happy with it because I kind of just went for it and before I knew it, it was finished. It's funny because I've never tried that approach before and I think that's the only way I would like to do things from now on. I suppose everybody works differently but I think I've maybe discovered the best way for me. Even though the songs are very sad, I had a lot of fun doing it.'

Healey will soon be embarking on a UK tour in support of the EP, which includes a date at Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's and a headline appearance at the Yala! Records club night at McChuills.

'I think generally people seem to expect something slightly mellower than they get live.' Healey explains when asked about his live set-up. 'When I'm playing live, I think things are a little bit faster and louder and a little bit more lively than some of the recordings. But I hope people can just expect a good time. I'd like people to have fun and come away from the gigs feeling happy.'

Fans can also expect to hear more new music later this year, with Healey noting that he's '75% through album two'. 'I started it as soon as I finished the EP,' he says, 'and I think it's quite different. It's probably a bit like if you put the People and Their Dogs album and the 666 EP together. It's like a middle ground between those two.'

Willie J Healey, Sneaky Pete's Edinburgh, Thu 21 Feb; McChuills, Glasgow, Fri 22 Feb.

Willie J Healey

Dreamy indie-pop from the Oxford-based musician.

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