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My Firsts: Wilma Archer

Broken By Rabbits

May 21, 2020 My Firsts
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My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Wilma Archer (aka Will Archer, who used to release music as Slime).

Archer put out a new album, the jazz-inflected A Western Circular, in April via Domino imprint Weird World. It was an album five years in the making and it features several notable special guests, including MF Doom, Sudan Archives, Laura Groves, and Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring. Archer has previously worked with Sudan Archives, as well as Nilüfer Yanya, Jessie Ware, and Celeste.

A press release announcing A Western Circular says the album tackles “themes of greed, love, and loyalty” and was inspired by author John Fante (whose most famous novel is 1939’s semi-autobiographical Ask the Dust, a definitive novel about Depression-era Los Angeles). Cited musical reference points for A Western Circular include Frank Zappa, Yasuaki Shimuzu, Robert Wyatt, and Arthur Russell. The album’s “Decades” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. It’s a gorgeous and artfully reigned in track, where Herring and Groves’ vocals complement each other, when they could have easily clashed.

Read on as Archer discusses his first pet, how another pet contributed to his first broken bone, and the immature “music” his dad was into.

First word?

“Nice: after being handed an iced bun. A fat child.

First pet?

A rescue cat we named after the singer/songwriter, dancer, rapper, and thongman Sisqó. But we spelled it Sisqou.

First broken bone?

Someone I knew had a herd/collection of rabbits. I was holding one which escaped—running after it to recapture, I tripped over it and broke my thumb. The guy’s mum was a doctor, she looked at the thumb and said it was fine. After that we stopped talking to the rabbit family.

First record your parents played for you?

My dad had a cassette of different fart noises, which stayed in the car. Whenever the journey was longer than 30 minutes it usually came on. There was never any music played in the house, just car farts.

First favorite song?

The Peter and the Wolf theme, then Dario G’s “Sunchyme.”

First concert you went to?

Won tickets in a newspaper text-in competition to see Akala at Newcastle University’s student union bar in 2005. There was about 25 people there, and Akala gave every one of us a high five.

First job you had?

Working with my dad in a coffee factory packing beans.

First instrument?

Alto sax.

First band you were in?

A Rage Against the Machine/Incubus cover band.

First time you performed in public?

Performing my own music, at 16 in an event called “Noname” where they got the “best” unsigned artists in Newcastle. Performed at the Tyne Bar in the Ouseburn Valley. I got poked by a chain link fence on my way there, so was bleeding through a ripped white T-shirt on stage. My name was misspelled on the flyer too.

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