In The Middle with Will Joseph Cook @ Y Not

How did you find the set today?

It was great, it’s one of the most enjoyable we’ve done all summer and it’s been a really nice end to this weekend.

Have you managed to catch much of the festival?

We will be, we’re sticking around so I want to catch The Magic Gang.

How do you decide which songs make the setlist?

At a festival you just want to keep it upbeat and concise, don’t keep people waiting around. I try and pick out all of the high energy tracks.

Your artwork is really colourful, is that something you’ve tried to combine with the upbeat tracks?

Definitely. The thing that I’m aiming for with all the artworks and all the tracks is writing a shimmery bold pop track with individuality and a slightly unsettling edge to them. I always add something weird into it, with the juvenile colours and the dark lyrics.

When you’re writing songs, is it usually the lyrics you come up with first?

It’s definitely changing. Lyrics used to come last as in I’d have one certain phrase that would stick and I’d build on the instrumentation or the arrangement then do lyrics last. Recently I had more of a vision about what I was trying to say in the song rather than just writing about my life. I’ve been trying to put a broader topic into it, so I guess I’m doing more lyric writing in the back of the van.

What releases have you got planned?

I haven’t nailed the date that it’s coming out but we’ve got a single coming out at the end of summer, and we’ll do another video.

Are there any plans for an album after that?

I’ve got a bunch of stuff for the album but I keep adding to it. The main thing is I want to build everything live before I drop it so maybe in the new year or into 2017.

How long have you been playing live?

The set up that we’ve got now has been since late November last year. As a solo artist it’s difficult if you’re writing all the parts and writing on your own, it’s difficult to get the band sorted and work out what that dynamic should be but these guys seem to smash it and we all get on really well.

Have you changed the setlist since having the live band?

Definitely. I’ve written more songs and more has become available as I don’t always have to be playing guitar on every track, so the more I can diversify the set and keep it interesting. It’s really good fun.

How much input do you have in making your videos? Do you go in with a vision?

For both the videos I’ve done, I have a solid concept but as annoying as it is, I do like putting forward new ideas last minute. So far I’ve had a complete free run with my ideas.

You’ve got a tour coming up soon?

We’ve got a tour in October. We’re going to be doing London, Leeds, Nottingham, Brighton, Bristol and Birmingham. So a bunch of places! It’s a shame we couldn’t do more of the North East, Scotland and Cardiff but we’ll get there.

Have you managed to play abroad at all?

I’ve played SXSW in America which is pretty amazing.

That’s supposed to be a really good one! What was that like?

It was pretty manic. We did five shows when we were out there, every day you’re playing to a different crowd. I really love it, America’s festivals run so differently to ours but they really smash their inner city festivals. They don’t really do the camping stuff but they do that pretty well.

You played a few of those in the UK this year, like Dot To Dot and Live At Leeds?

Those and The Great Escape!

Do you enjoy those as much as the outdoor ones?

They both have their merits. I think that because they focus on new music, people are more open and you’re more likely to pack a room of people chancing it, just seeing you on a whim. That’s what’s so good about those ones.


Catherine Dowie

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