Felt Cute Fest (Might Delete Later) Q&A: Bryony Williams


Singer-songwriter Bryony Williams is eager to express herself by putting her own spin on the rock-pop formula, and if her most recent efforts are anything to judge by, she is succeeding. The personal quality of her lyrics blends seamlessly with the flow of her songwriting, incorporating suggestions that come all the way from her past dealings with electronica and highlight the sincerity of her lyrics and vocals. With an EP on the way for later 2020, Bryony Williams clearly has something to say, and she has found a very intriguing, personal way of saying it.

Q. Tell us something about what inspires your creative process, and the mood you try to create with your music.

A. I’m not the best person at expressing myself in day-to-day life and a lot of over-thinking leads to eradication of essential meaning. So being able to songwrite about my internalised, potentially expired emotions kick off my creative process. The mood? A Bryony Williams mood. Whether we want it or not.

Q. How would you describe your sound in one sentence?

A. Sad girl guitar pop emulated through raw, emotive, empowered indie-west-coast-rock. 

Q. Your EP is being released in 2020. What themes are you channeling in this record, and what was your experience working on it? 

A. The EP, State I’m In, is going to be a statement piece. Each song has its own storyline. But what’s great is that I wrote most of the songs while solo backpacking SE Asia earlier this year for a few months. So, without the typical distractions it’s been interesting to see where my mind goes while thousands of miles away from home, alone, and how this is interpreted through my songwriting. Recording for this EP will be a very curious experience for me. With lockdown, recording with my beloved producer, Matthew Pinfield at Grandflat Recordings, just wasn’t possible. But, now with the easing of restrictions, we can actually record the fuck out of these songs! So, we’ve dedicated a whole week in July to eat, nap, dance, and record at the studio each day, back-to-back. Since we have a strict deadline to meet, the pressure will be on, and I think that will really feed into the way we understand each song… It’s fucking exciting. 

Q. Have you been working on something new recently, and what are your plans for the second half of the year? 

A. No plans for the remainder of the year. Other than analysing the art of Tibetan bowl meditation. 

Q. If you could choose your dream venue to play after reopening, what would it be? 

KEXP.

Q. What do you think about the music community’s response to the lockdown? Have you been taking part in any projects? 

A. I think we’ve adapted quickly and successfully to an extent. The grassroots’ initiative has been wicked; from hosting live stream gigs to Bandcamp waivering their fees on specific days continually. It has truly highlighted the obvious problem that’s embedded in the music industry – streaming. And sadly we’re guilty of supporting it. Where is the help of Spotify? It’s crazy, man. It’s that awful exposure model being regurgitated over and over again. I feel lockdown has helped show the flaws in the music infrastructure and that we should boycott everything else other than Bandcamp. This has prompted musicians to make and release alternative recordings/merch to sell in order to make their own bread during this time, and hopefully build a loyal audience. 

For myself, I’ve performed live stream gigs for Indie Midlands, The Sunflower Lounge, Underscore3 and now the Felt Cute (Don’t Delete Later) digital festival! 

I have also recorded very DiY demos at my home which are now on my Bandcamp available to listen and buy. Along with collaborating with a couple of friends on some tracks. 

Q. The lockdown has been an occasion to reflect collectively on mental health, especially for those who drew strength and support from live music. Have these themes been part of your reflections and songwriting recently? 

A. Since my own mental health plummeted last year… Over the past 6 months I have been slowly building back my confidence and rewiring my thought processes, while fighting anxiety and paranoia. So these themes have already been a constant with my songwriting. However, with lockdown, I feel we have all had the chance to re-evaluate our choices and to properly consider our own and others’ mental well-being. Hopefully we collectively recognise this in one another and support each other by telling others how amazing they are, including ourselves. 

Q. How has your past experience with Field Harmonics informed your sound as it is now?

A. The only thing Field Harmonics has inspired is my song ‘Hypnosis’.

Q. What have grassroots venues meant for you in your personal experience? Can you tell us something about a grassroots music venue that is particularly dear to you, or that helped shape your love of music? 

A. Grassroot venues are a key element as to how I started and crafted my talent, my persona, my confidence. Performing has shown me what I can do, what I can be, and that I’m in control of my music and audience, where I can play between the innocent, fragile girl to a ‘don’t look at me… but also never take your eyes off me’ ego-girl. My most played underground venue has got to be The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. Yet each time is different. Cheap red stripe cans were the only thing guaranteed. 

Q. What is, to you, the most exciting thing about playing in a digital festival? 

A. For me, I’m excited as to how I’m going to record my set… Do I use multiple locations? Wear fancy dress? Get my mom to film the set?! It’s all risky business, but totally fun. Other than my own though, I am excited seeing how others have interpreted their setups. 

Bryony Williams is playing on Sunday, 26th July, at 7:00 PM on Underscore Part 3 Stage 2.

Words: Chiara Stazzulla @thestrazzulla