‘Like shepherds buy sheep to travel the land, we bought instruments’
For those of you already familiar with the UK band Will and the People, we need not remind you of just how fantastic the music and undeniably charming the band really is. But for those of you who aren’t, well we suggest it’s time you make yourselves acquainted.
And for anyone who had the pleasure of seeing them live during their short visit to India last month, we’re sure that much like us, you could not have been more thrilled to see them landing up in Goa. Infamous for our wild and crazy festivals, trance music and thumping clubs, its refreshing to remind ourselves of the diverse quality of talents which also graces our shores from time to time. Setting out on an 8 day trip which took them from working with children in a small village in Andhra Pradesh, to playing an ‘unforgettable’ set at a crowded Bangalore pub, and finally on a 20 hours bus journey to Goa. Wrapping their trip with back to back performances in the serene outdoor setting of Fiesta’s in Baga. Referring to their experience at the venue as heavenly and having been treated to some of the best food they could have ever imagined.
So of course we wanted to know asides from the usual spice mix, cashew nuts and sunshine, what did this bunch of vagabond musicians take away from their time in Goa. Thankfully the boys were more than happy to answering our questions.
Tell us first a little about yourselves and the kind of music you make.
We are just following our dreams, like shepherds buy sheep to travel the land… we bought instruments. We have chosen our path because it makes us happy and gives us freedom to travel the world. I have loved making music as long as I can remember, since I was a small child, and feel blessed to be able to, as it allows me to visit new places and have new experiences. As a band we are close, and we look after each other, communicate, and drive our art into a place which excites us. We also don’t feel constrained by any genre or sound, we just love making music and it is the best feeling in the world to be in harmony around that purpose… to us our music is everything as we know it.
loud/quiet/fast/slow/sexy/angry/happy/sad/free/difficult/easy/mad/refined pop music
So what inspired you guys to come to India having never performed here before?
A man called Martijn Schermer who runs a charity called “Job4life” looking after underprivileged and HIV infected children in Vijayawada. Obviously we wanted to come to India as a band anyway but he and his heart were the catalyst.
And had any of you previously visited Goa or anywhere else in India?
Only me actually (Will) I went to a town called Bundi in Rajasthan, where Rudyard Kipling lived for years. He wrote the jungle book, amongst many other incredible stories for children and adults alike. The whole town is blue, it’s incredible. I also went to Delhi… and got the belly!!
What would you say had been you’re expectations of India?
I think we all had our normal preconceptions, but the first thing that will always stay with me are the colors and the smells… so much to take in. Also the way people drive is completely crazy. I must admit I love it though… I hate english traffic… rules and regulations…
Would you say that these ideas/impressions you had were either validated or challenged upon coming to India?
A bit of both really, mainly it was just more extreme versions of the things I had in my head. Like the slums… so many people, real poverty in places. The sun… so much hotter than I could have imagined, and the happiness… rife. Peoples spirits seem to be stronger in your part of the world… I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because things are not laid out on a plate for you like over here. We have poverty and slums in our country too – in many ways its more complicated here as a lot of people have messed up heads as expectations are high to achieve more and more.
And of Goa?
I had a tourist impression of Goa, beaches, drinking culture, western people… but it was far more beautiful than I initially imagined. Goa is like heaven. I have that memory of hiring a motorcycle and riding through the countryside firmly lodged in my head till we are back doing the same thing again. That is the kind of stuff dreams are made of…
So when it comes to music, how would you perceive Goa and the rest of India in comparison to the other countries you’ve visited?
I would say it is the same really… music is rife everywhere. (apart from Marley where you aren’t allowed to make it.. and tasmania, how sad is that) I think that there is just a logistical problem for bands who are independent to tour the country because sit is so big. Having said that, we did it and it worked very well!! We are trying to bring something alternative to India but to be honest India brought something alternative to us… Everybody loves to dance in india, that says it all really!
And now that you are back at home, how would you sum up your time in India and what do you feel you’ve come away with?
The only thing I felt when leaving was that I don’t want to leave. We were all very tired from the traveling and the heat but could have stayed there for years. I know we will be coming back… no doubts there. Just got to go through the visa process again!!! which takes rather a long time!! We have fallen in love with india. I have a packet of Bombay mix and I am going to try and make it last till we come back (unlikely)… because you can’t get that proper stuff here!! We don’t have real curry… you do!!
You can also read more about the band’s time in India and with the children at both Daddy’s Home and Tulip Gardens, two orphanages located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, on their website and personal blog. An experience that Will, having a young son of his own, describes as eye opening, ‘incredibly emotional in many ways… filled with happiness and sadness at the situation of some of the children. We left only wanting to go back as soon as possible to see our new friends’.
Something we truly hope they have the opportunity to do, followed of course with a much needed stop over in Goa no less.
Event photos courtesy of Thomas Drissen, all others via willandthepeople.com