More from ellesse’s #MyStyleMySound, we catch up with Billy Locket during a break from recording his live sessions at Metropolis Studios.
ellesse: When did your interest in music begin and did you have any influences?
Billy: I started music mainly because my dad was an artist, he was very creative and artistic and he bought a piano for my mum to learn on and she played it for like 10 seconds and gave up, and so I just started fiddling with it from about aged 7 and it became my job, which is nice. So, yeah, he was very influential and made me realise that you can make the arts a profession.
ellesse: Can you remember the first song you ever played?
Billy: The first song I was playing was probably just something completely made up, in probably the key of ‘C’ all the white notes. I just used to dabble, I used to just play classical piano all the time and I was really very good, but at least it was kind of just me getting to terms with music. And it also meant that I made music from a really early age because that’s the only thing I ever knew, it wasn’t doing covers it was just coming up with my own melodies and things like that.
ellesse: Can you remember your first CD, tape or record you bought?
Billy: Yeah, I remember my first CD was ‘Aqualung’ which is really embarrassing but I was only about 5, so at the time it was cool to like that. And then I slowly went upwards to ‘Nirvana’ and then had very heavy ‘Radio Head’ obsession, which I still feel like I might be in from time to time. Yeah, so it got rapidly cooler from ‘Aqualung’ thank god.
ellesse: What motivates you to keep doing it?
Billy: I think my main motivation is that I really love doing it and I’ve never really wanted or been able to do anything else. My dad used to always say that you don’t choose music, it chooses you, so I didn’t really have any choice and I live for this and I’m so grateful and so happy that I get to say that this is my job and I get to do this ‘work’ every day. It’s really nice to wake up every day and go ‘yes’, I enjoy going to the studio, I enjoy the whole process of writing a song, getting to the studio, doing the videos, doing the shows and the tours, everything about it is amazing and I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me ‘this isn’t real life’.
ellesse: Do you think it’s true that people link their emotions to the type of song they are listening to, for example listening to a sad song when you’re sad?
Billy: I think it is sort of true, although in my case and probably with a lot of other people, I really like sad songs so, sad songs make me quite happy in a weird way. And I love writing sad songs because they make me feel uplifted and sometimes when people ask that, I think it’s nice for them to listen to something that’s sad because it almost emphasises with how they’re feeling and it can bring them up, rather than listening to something really chirpy because you might just be like ‘oh my god, shut up, I want to be miserable’. Sometimes you need that moment to be like ‘just let me be miserable and let me listen to my sad songs’. Yeah.
ellesse: Have you got any musical influences / inspirations?
Billy: Probably ‘Oh Wonder’, ‘Livewire’, it’s a band, that I’ve just found out they live over the road form me. But yeah, they’re a massive inspiration for me, London Grammar, they’re a huge inspiration.
ellesse: Do you think that fashion and music are strongly linked? Do you need a specific dress code to do what you do?
Billy: I think to be honest, judging by what I do, you can pretty much wear whatever you want really. In term of my style, I think the nice thing about music is that it isn’t a cult thing and it’s not put into a box. I love it to be all about the music and I just want it all to be ‘if you like the song, you like the song’, it doesn’t matter if you’re a 70 year old man or an 11 year old girl, a good song, is a good song, and that will translate. And so, style is kind of, for my music in particular, I don’t really care and I don’t want people to care either, I want people to feel completely comfortable coming to a show in anything they wear or being anything, they are because the one thing in common is they all felt something from that song. That should really, in my eyes, be all that matters for an artist.
ellesse: Do you have any rituals you complete before you go on stage? Or a routine you have to do? Is there something specific you’re always found doing before a show?
Billy: Yeah, I normally have a massive bag of jelly babies because some random, weird guy told me that gelatine is really good for your voice, it might be a load of rubbish but it gives me an excuse to eat a bag of jelly babies. And I have a shot of Manuka honey, it’s so rock and roll isn’t it, Manuka honey. Then I do my warm-ups. Normally my warm-ups psych me up because it’s a really strange thing but you get used to that repetitive action of warming everything up and getting ready, you know, that’s the biggest hype up for me.
ellesse: If you could give advice to anyone starting out in the music industry what would you say?
Billy: Don’t compare yourself to anybody else, even though it’s insanely hard to not do that. Just focus on what you are doing, make sure that you just become the best at your thing and everything will come together as long as you just focus on yourself and don’t get distracted by everything there is to distract you.