Billy Boguard is a Frenchman, currently living in Kentish Town (London) and is busy plying his trade as a singer songwriter who is inspired by the likes of Dylan, Neil Young and Nick Drake.
We arranged a meeting with him at 'Dirty Burger' which is one of London's FINEST burger establishments situated about 3 mins walk from the Kentish Town Forum live music venue, we pulled up a stool, ordered a couple of 'dirty cheeseburgers' and had a good old chat about cockney slang, mute gorillas and being 'under pressure', here's how we got on....
Describe the new EP “Tallulah" which was released in December to the masses….
"Tallulah" is my first EP with this project, it's really representative of my life journey, In this EP I turned negative situations and feelings into positivity (for example, the song "Tallulah" is about a teen who committed a suicide) the songs are full of hope and I took inspiration by looking at people around me and of course my own experiences, I am really proud of it, I found out more about myself with "Tallulah"!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
I love this question !
I'd rather live with a gorilla, first because the monkey is my favourite animal ! Apes are really important to me, I've got a lot of childhood memories with soft toys, especially monkeys involved, we use to create stories with my little brother and now they are associated with him, I am also thinking about painting a monkey for my next EP's cover.
Secondly because I prefer silence than loud noise.
Your latest single released from Tallulah is ‘Best Friend, Worst Enemy’. Is there something you wish to share with the readers concerning the story behind this?
"Best friend, worst enemy" is one of the first songs I composed for the EP, She is one of the more "catchy/pop" songs of mine. I wanted to release this one first because people were accustomed to hearing me with my acoustic guitar only, without drums and bass, I wanted to surprise them with a full band backing the track.
Concerning the meaning, I don't want to explain too much so people can create their own meaning, but this is basically an inner conversation, a conversation you can have with yourself or with a lover/friend/family... Whatever, It marks something's changing.
Where was this recorded and why did you use that recording studio?
Well, I am living over a pub in Kentish town (London), and the pub is hosting an open mic on Tuesdays,
I met a guy called Nacho Silvestre there, we had just a quick chat, after I saw him performing a cover version of a Police song. I checked his EP online and I was amazed by the sound ! So I contacted him and asked him where did he recorded, he told me in his own recording studio in Spain. 2 weeks later I was there, recording "Tallulah", It was an amazing experience and I will do it again. He helped a lot on this project !
How do you choose your set list when ready to perform live?
I choose it in favour of the place I am going to and the audience, I think that's essential to adapt yourself on stage, (how many times I played quiet songs in a noisy environment..LoL) Now I understood that if it's noisy, I need to play with a pick or choose energetic songs, or to blow my harmonica harder !
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (only living members please)
Oh god, it will be :
David Gilmour : lead guitar + backing vocals
Phil Collins : drums, Piano
The London symphony orchestra : everything
India Bourne (Ben Howard band's member): Cello/bass/backing vocals
Me : rhythm guitar, harmonica, vocals
Have you picked up any London slang? (cockney rhyming) If so, what have you learnt?
Mmm, Yes ! I'm always saying "Fucking Hell" ! but I don't know if that counts.
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
I have one I am really ashamed to have, yes, it's a 'Tokio Hotel' album, it was when I was 14 and everyone hated this band, I liked to do things differently at this age and I bought it to make my own idea of it, It was an awful album !
You covered ‘Under Pressure’ did you feel ‘under pressure’ when covering such a powerful and well known song? Why did you choose that song?
I did feel under-pressure when I sang this song, at that time, I was working on a job, surrounded by stressed and worried people all day long, To me this song is like a wake-up call for people to stop this ! Being worried is really a useless emotion, and it creates tensions in your body. I didn't feel pressure concerning covering such a classic, as I did it my way, you can't really compare both versions.
I always loved Queen, and 'Under Pressure' was a song I heard over and over again, because so many people and bands I know have covered this song, I became interested by David Bowie just a few months ago, and I wanted to make my own version of it, I don't do covers very often, so I was quite happy with the result of this one ! it really sounds like one of my song.
First gig you ever went to in France and the first gig you went to when arrived in the UK?
My first gig in France was a milestone in my life;
I was 15 years old, It was a local metal/rock gig with unknown bands, and I felt so alive while in the crowd, it was great! I started with Metal music, I guess I wanted to express my anger I had inside of me. I remember saying :"One day I'll go on that stage" and I did 2 years later with my old metal band !
First gig in the Uk was one year ago @ The Underworld (Camden), it was "In Hearts Wake", a metal core band too !
How do you feel the genre of Folk music has changed over the years?
In my opinion, I think that things have changed a lot since Ed sheeran came along. I saw a lot of people covering his songs and taking influence from him, integrating hip-hop elements in acoustic songs. To me, songs these days are more on the "pop" side than the "story telling traditional" side, (even if some artists still do, which is great). For me the perfect example of a modern folk artist is Ben Howard, to me he is like a pop/happier version of Nick Drake. It is not 100% pop, and it's not 100% story telling either, In my opinion that's the current situation of Folk music in the UK.
Do you feel that the use of mobile phones/cameras is ruining the live experience whilst you’re on stage?
To be honest I think that pictures are great for creating memories, but being in the moment is important, especially if you paid £20 for it!
I am ok with the idea of taking pictures, but to me having your eyes on the screen during all the gig, (even in everyday life) is a waste of time, personally I want to enjoy what's going on around me !
How did you hook up with Nacho Silvestre? What have you learnt from each other?
As I said earlier, I met him at an open mic, in a pub I am living above. Nacho taught me that if I wanted to make it as a musician, I have to work hard and to be relentless, He gave me a lot of tips on songwriting and recording and he raised my standards, which is great, he is the kind of guy who challenges you in the studio and gets the best out of you, I love him for that !
We joked about something I said once, maybe He learnt something from it, I don't know, it's something like :
"No one wants to face the truth".
Who would you dream of performing live with or recording a track for?
I would love to perform one day with a full orchestra behind me, I love classical music, especially soundtracks from movies, like "The Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones", mixing this with my music is a big dream !
I am dreaming ozone day recording a track for Hozier.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
I will ask them to look out for an amazing artist called "Our Man in the Field", he's really talented and his music reminds me of Ray Lamontagne, which I love.
You can check him out everywhere on the web, he is doing a lot of gigs around London too.
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
I would love The Tallest Man on Earth, Passenger and Neil Young to have my music on their devices! But for the moment, I am so grateful to be on my Mom's iPod that this is not necessary at all!
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
It will be Jon Snow from "Game of Thrones", because I really know nothing!
I love crows as well.
What are your plans for 2015?
I just want to carry on doing shows, to give my EP's to people, to make them have a good time, to compose songs, to learn the piano.
I will try to perform outside of London and maybe to form a band for live shows and to compose the next EP :)
The cheeseburgers went down a treat but Billy was still hungry so we ordered a couple of sides of onion and crinkle cut fries and a chocolate shake to wash it all down with, whilst we were waiting for the super friendly staff to fulfill our order, I threw a few quickfire questions at Billy....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Right or Left?
Sunday Roast or Not?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Car or Motorbike?
Motorbike (Harley Davidson)
Playing live in the street or inside a venue?
Inside a venue
Shower or Bath?
Only Fools and Horses or Breaking Bad?
Breaking bad, Bitch
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
Google, the answer given is quicker!
We'd like to thank Billy for his time that he glad took out of his days relaxing with his family to answer our questions and wish him every success for 2015, we will try our best to meet up with him at a live show and have another chat....In the meantime, please checkout his sites below;
Interview by Steve Muscutt and Mark Wincott