The End: William Doyle | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, July 18th, 2024  

The End: William Doyle

Where Nothing Ever Happens

Jan 17, 2020 Web Exclusive Photography by Matt Colquhoun Bookmark and Share

To end out the week, we ask British musician William Doyle (formerly known as East India Youth) some questions about endings and death.

Doyle released his first proper album under his given name, Your Wilderness Revisited, last fall. The album’s sound isn’t too far removed from his East India Youth work, but features interesting detours, including spoken word contributions from Brian Eno and British broadcaster Jonathan Meades. The lush album is also deeper and more personal than his two East India Youth full-lengths (2014’s Mercury Prize-nominated Total Strife Forever and 2015’s Culture of Volume) and is in part inspired by Doyle’s childhood. When the 29-year-old was 12 his father died in an accident and he and his mother moved to the suburb of Chandler’s Ford, which was next to a woodland area.

“There seems to be quite a lot of shifts between styles of music in my work, and I wonder if it’s because of that,” says Doyle in a press release, reflecting on how childhood events have influenced his work and in particular Your Wilderness Revisited. “All the changes I’ve had in my life have been… not destructive, but very severe, there’s never been a slow transition. Maybe that’s why I’ve made this sudden transition between East India Youth and working under my own name, because I’ve found a way of being able to change my circumstances when I wasn’t really enjoying them anymore. That has been influenced by this landscape, by that house being right on the edge of the woods. It has a lot to do with the suddenness of grief.”

“This record isn’t about my dad, that’s part of the overall,” Doyle later adds. “It’s about that but also these places, architecture, asserting my identity as William Doyle after East India Youth, it can be all those things, I’m always looking for that multiplicity.”

Read on as Doyle talks about how and when he’d like to die; his favorite endings to movies, books, and TV shows; David Bowie; and his concepts of heaven and hell.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

As painlessly as possible, obviously. Maybe of “natural causes,” whatever that means. If I can make it to about 80 that would be fine too. Realistically though I am probably going to drown in a flood or be burned in a fire, as are we all. Right?

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

“Discreet Music” by Brian Eno on loop. Even if there’s no music player there I imagine I’ll be able to summon it in my head.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

“He Would Have Laughed,” performed by Deerhunter, and it should last for about half an hour.

What’s your favorite ending to a movie?

The original Blade Runner, Final Cut version. Not the stupid ending where Deckard and Rachael drive off into the sunset. I love the ambiguity of that version. That new film really blew that lovely ambiguity out of the water…

What’s your favorite last line in a book?

“Are there any questions?” - The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

What’s your favorite series finale last ever episode of a TV show?

There are so few good ones. It’s so hard to end something good. I think the way they rounded off The Office (UK) was great.

What’s your favorite last song on an album?

I have so many. What immediately came to mind was “Light + Space” by Laurel Halo from her album Quarantine. It’s such a strange and beautiful album and after some quite abstract pop and electronic murk before it, to end on the clearest song is quite a bold and brilliant move. There’s something about the feeling of that track that just resonates with me so deeply.

What’s your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

I know Repeater by Spacemen 3 is technically their last album, but Playing With Fire is the last one while they were still together and I really can’t think of a better last album than that. Other than maybe Avalon by Roxy Music…

What’s your favorite way a band broke up?

David Bowie announcing to the audience, and to the band, that this would be the last Spiders From Mars show and actually meaning it, is a bit of a classic.

Whose passing has most affected you?

In music? Bowie for sure. I’ve never experienced anything like that day. It was sort of beautiful in its sadness. I’ve not seen a public outpouring of grief like that before. It really felt cathartic to be on my timelines and delving into so many YouTube rabbit holes.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

A Sunday roast.

What’s your concept of the afterlife?

I have had a number of bizarre out of body experiences in my life, since I was a young child, where I have seemed to rise out of my body and float around my house as it actually is. I think this may have been a sneak preview.

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

A place where nothing ever happens.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

To be covered in spiders for all eternity.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

A domestic cat seems like a pretty cushy existence.

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

For being a kind person above all else.

What would you like your last words to be?


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