Billy Lockett entered the Top 40 last year with his self-released EP, Old Man – which also became a Top 5 hit in the Singer/Songwriter chart.
With a debut album in sight, we caught up with Billy moments before his first headline show at Ruby Lounge in Manchester.
Let’s talk through your Old Man EP, starting with Let Her Go. Did you come up with the idea for the video?
Yeah. The model and I sat around for hours and hours. My Dad was a painter. My favourite one of his paintings shows a girl standing with his hands all around her. Originally it was going to be all about that, with the hands dancing. But eventually we added the rape scene at the end – I wanted it to be a bit uneasy.
How did Toxic come about? The production on that track has an interesting edge…
I worked with a guy called Andy Green on the whole EP. He’s worked with Keane, Paolo Nutini, KT Tunstall, and Scouting for Girls. It’s my favourite song I’ve ever written. I wanted Toxic to sound cool, and I’m really happy with how the track turned out. It’s all about me messing up. After my Dad died, I kind of went off the rails and went mad. Toxic sums it all up.
Old Man is a beautifully written track, did you find it hard to write?
Before he died, I’d had half the song – but it wasn’t really working. When he passed, it all just came. It’s all about our relationship together – the good and the bad.
Winning Team is an uplifting song. What would you say is the winning formula for success as a musician?
Good question – there isn’t one. Everyone’s different, everyone’s journey is different. I think with me, I’ve never been signed to a big label – I think I’m one of the biggest unsigned acts in the UK. I’ve just not stopped touring, I’ve supported everyone from Lana Del Rey to Birdy – and that’s the best way to do it, ‘cos you’re constantly playing to people and meeting your fans. Being human!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’d probably be homeless.
Do you have any festival plans this year?
At the moment I’m concentrating on producing the album and completely finishing it. I’m planning to hide for a bit, and get all my stuff sorted out. We’re heading to Switzerland for Zermatt Unplugged, it’s completely sold out so that’s cool.
What about attending any festivals as a punter?
To be honest, I hate festivals. I’m really not a festival guy. We did T in the Park and Isle of Wight last year – and even in the VIP bit with all the luxury, I still didn’t enjoy it. I did Reading and Leeds when I was a kid, and it was great but I just wanted to get home and get a shower. That’s probably not so rock N roll to admit.
What do you hope your fans take away from your live show?
An EP, £5. Joking. I hope they like the album, no one’s heard it yet and I’m really worried they’ll hate it because I’ve poured my heart and soul into it. Every time I tour, it’s different. I’ve been trying to find myself for the past three or four years, and everyone’s supported me along the way. But this time, I think I’ve found myself. I’m really happy with this album, and now it’s all down to the fans feeling the same – that’s the last piece of the puzzle.
Billy’s story is one of honesty and passion, and we absolutely forgive his dis-taste for music festivals (see you at the next one!).