I first laid my ears on Willie J Healey‘s surf rock sonic nuggets a little while ago, and was immediately captivated by the daydreamy vibes, the crispy guitars, and the garage aesthetic (sonic and all) hailing from this young Oxford chap. His debut EP ‘HD Malibu‘ – from which he has released the title track – is set for release real soon… and if the aforementioned little gem is anything to go by, we’re in for a little treat.
Intrigued by this smiley, ginger-haired, surf rock wizard, I caught up with Willie J Healey for a quick chat, and here’s how it went down.
What’s your first musical memory? And how did you get into playing?
First musical memory was probably watching the music video for ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger‘ by Oasis and thinking “Do all huni’s wear white?”… I think they do. My parents bought me a guitar one Christmas, my dad then thought me all the classics.
What pushed you to record your own stuff?
Probably the film Juno. The soundtrack has a mega bedroom feel. Kimya Dawson is great! It also feels really chilled at home compared to a studio. I can try a bunch of stuff I probably wouldn’t with other people around. I’d recorded bits and bobs in studios prior to the new material but have never really been happy with the final outcome.
Where you in any bands prior to ‘going solo’?
Just one serious band called Colour Change and a bunch of not so serious projects.
And what motivated you to do your own thing as opposed to keeping going with Colour Change?
No real reason, It just worked out like that! We’re all still good friends but now we’re all playing different types of music.
I read you’re a big fan of the whole OFGWKTA crew mentality. Have you got your own little collective of sorts?
Not really, but maybe someday haha!
What would you call yourselves? And would you have matching jackets/outfits a la “The Warriors”?
Maybe we could be called the Chuggers. All white everating probs.
What inspires you to make music?
Films and other music mostly. I’m always listening out for new and old music. Also work SUCKS, it’s got nothing on shredding.
Your debut EP ‘HD Malibu‘ is dropping May 11th. What can we expect from the record? Tell us a bit more about the project.
It sure is. HD Malibu has a good mix of songs for a 4 track EP. It has a bit of everything in my eyes. My concept was 80s Sci Fi films and the mundane life in the suburbs. Lets think of it like a sandwich. The EP starts off pretty slow with a track called Subterraneans, thats the first slice of bread. Tracks HD Malibu and Greys provide the upbeat garage rock feel, the ham and salad. Then finally Change is the season, a song about leaving home, the other slice of bread. Tasty huh?
Very tasty indeed. Your music has been compared to the likes of Mac Demarco and Kurt Ville. Who are some artists you listen to these days?
The Modern Lovers, Sparkle horse, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Homeshake, Jonny Pain and the Thunder, Bobby Caldwell, Modest Mouse and Weezer.
Your video for ‘Subterraneans’ sees you celebrating you birthday in the back of a limo. Are your friends always so enthused to party with you?
Did they not look pumped to you? I thought the party was a real success.
Captain birdsie told me you used to box back in the day?! How does one switch from becoming an aspiring Mohamad Ali, to a budding Mac DeMarco (of sorts)?
It seems like so long ago now, I can’t really remember. I guess I’d be too lazy to box now.
Describe your sound in 5 words.
Surf, Slack, Sleaze, Strong, Sweet.
If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
Probs Sideshow Bob?
What’s next for Willie J Healey?
My EP launch is fast approaching, amongst other live shows. I’ve already written loads of material thats just waiting to be released.
Stay magic Part Time Wizards.
Much love to Willie J Healy for taking the time to chat to us, make sure you cop his debut EP “HD Malibu” in a few days, and as a wise man once told me, stay magic young wizards.