These Kingston indie-folk rockers just dropped their debut EP.
Willy Nilly are a four-piece alt-rock band from Kingston, Ontario. Pulling from influences in jazz, classic rock, and folk rock, the members Owen Fullerton on lead vocals, Max Tinline on lead guitar, Josiah Ascough on bass, and Devin Pierce on drums boiled their inspirations together to create a soup of folk/indie-rock styles displayed on their most recent release Confused and Rejuvenated.
"Confused and Rejuvenated was entirely written and recorded during the pandemic, most of the songs written within the first three weeks of our first lockdown," said Fullerton. "During this time I was pretty bitter watching the world seemingly divide further and further and working class people get used and abused, but was hopeful that maybe we could use this once in a lifetime experience to alter the way we do things to be more equitable to everybody. It's a little difficult to listen back to these songs because I was so angry and frustrated at the time, and think I have a little better perspective on things now- but certain lines still ring pretty true to me."
Fullerton breaks down the individual tracks on the band's EP, exploring all the stages of stress, loss, and coping during COVID-19.
""What Are We Gonna Do If The Drugs Run Out" is a song, believe it or not, that isn't primarily about drugs," said Fullerton. "Early in the pandemic, almost everyone I talked to seemed to be passing the time by drinking and smoking. I thought it would be kind of funny to be watching the world fall apart, and with so much to be concerned about, worrying about something trivial like making sure you have enough drugs to get you through the tough times. On a more serious note, it's about being aware of having unhealthy coping mechanisms but feeling like getting out from under them is too overwhelming of a task."
"See You Again", the secondary track, is about having to say goodbye to someone close to you.
"In a more general sense, it was written about just trying to take stock of what the hell is going on around us, and hoping to take this unprecedented situation of the world hitting the skids as a positive in some way," said Fullerton. "To me personally, this is the best song I've ever written and I'm a little scared I can't beat it."
"Mystery Meats" is a song about trying to pick yourself back up.
"It was a song that was sort of written to my bandmates about how I feel like at times I stress out and put too much pressure on them," said Fullerton. "It's also about just being broke and getting dumped on by life, but believing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for what you're going through."
The fourth track is a nostalgic tune about yearning for a peaceful past.
""Cool Now" is a song about being disillusioned with life and feeling as if you have to ignore how shitty things are in the world to live contentedly," said Fullerton. "Almost yearning for a time where you were less tuned in with issues and able to kind of just float along."
The final song, "All That I Can Do Is Laugh", ends on a somber note.
"That was written early in the pandemic, about just being frustrated at the world and feeling helpless to do anything about it," said Fullerton. "Watching frontline workers get their pandemic pay swiftly stripped back while their employers post record profits, nurses taping socks to their face to go to work while cops are outfitted with full PPE, billionaires getting applauded for donating miniscule fractions of their wealth- just kind of watching all this unfold and being in a state of disbelief."
The band recorded the full EP in Fullerton's living room.
"We recorded this bad boy in my living room, and it was mixed entirely by Max, with mastering spread between Devin, Max and Lucas Ruddell here in Kingston," said Fullerton. "We ran into some challenges, mostly COVID-19 related. Definitely planned to have this EP out months ago, but, shit happens."
Fullerton and the band are proud of the way the project showcases their diversity of sounds and styles.
"We've always had a hard time describing who or what we sound like because we come from a variety of influences, and I think that shines through in how different all of our songs sound from one another," said Fullerton. "I think we're always going to be a band like that, the albums I expect to get a little more consistent throughout, but I feel like a trademark of a lot of my favourite bands is the variety in sound they display and that's something I think that will be a part of our identity as well."
You can help support Willy Nilly by following their socials, and by purchasing Confused and Rejuvenated on their Bandcamp linked below.
"Honestly, just stream our stuff and share us with people you know!" said Fullerton. "Hardest thing to do is get the word out for us, but I think we're really starting to hit our stride as a band and we've got a lot of cool stuff written that we'll be trying to release as soon as we can. We plan to be a lot more active with releases, expect a stand alone single in the next month and a half."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)