Will Varley is a folk singer songwriter and is based in Deal, Kent. He's also a self confessed Jesus lookalike who isn't against the idea of taking part in some religious re-enactments if his music career goes tits up. We met up with him prior to playing in Exeter where he was supporting legendary drunk folk singer Beans on Toast, we chatted about drinking with strangers, walking tours and playing silly party games with Bob Dylan, here's how we got on....
Mr Will Varley, please introduce yourself….
Well, my name’s Will Varley, I’m a folk singer songwriter, the most hated genre of musicians!
You’re a self confessed Jesus lookalike, if you weren’t a musician, maybe you could get some work in religious plays and re-enactments?
Er, yes possibly, where did I say that? Oh yeah, it’s on Twitter! Well, why not? If I wasn’t gigging then I’d probably do anything I could, if there’s money in it I’d have a go.
What’s your favourite ‘Saturday Night’ album?
That’s a tough question, I rarely ‘go out and party’, I’m more likely to be found in the local having a quiet pint or 2 sat in the corner, on that basis, probably something like the old 'Cafe de Paris' stuff, some kind of compilation album.
You released your debut album in 2011 and went on a 130 mile walking tour with a guitar and a tent to promote it, what did you do to promote your recent ‘As The Crow Flies’ album?
When the album was released, we did a tour (not a walking tour), covering 40 dates across the UK and went over to Ireland and jumped on the back of Jay’s (Beans on Toast) tour last year, did 9 gigs with him and then I’ve been pretty solid with gigging for the remainder of the year, festival appearances. I did another walking tour in May where we played 27 shows in 31 days, this one dwarfed the previous walking tour in both distance and number of gigs played
How does Will Varley relax?
Sit in The Ship in Deal with a pint of Guinness and a packet of Golden Virginia and talking to a bunch of strangers.
You’ve played on the whole of the Beans on Toast tour, which has been the best venue you’ve played so far?
I really enjoyed playing the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, I’ve been wanting to play there for a long time and it’s a great place, it’s an old working man’s club with pool tables in one half and the bar in the other and a great diamond shape auditorium, it’s so nice, I’d like to go back sometime.
Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party, who are you going to invite?
Bob Dylan, John Lennon and.........(long pause as couldn't think of anyone and then Lori Campbell wandered in to tune up and prepare for her show)........Lori Campbell, that would be a great party, we could play that game where you stuck an animal card to your forehead and the other people had to give clues as to what it was…..
Your debut novel reached number 1 in the Political Fiction category on the Kindle chart, how did that make you feel?
I didn’t even know about it until I was Googling my name one day (as ALL musicians do) I wrote the book before I wrote the debut album and I put it out there for a bit of fun and it looks like quite a few people bought it!
You appeared at loads of festivals in 2014, which one really did it for you?
I really enjoyed the Llama Tree Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival, both of those and of course The Smugglers Festival in Kent, those 3 were definitely the highlights of 2014.
Where are you going to be and what are you going to be doing on New Years Eve?
I’ll be at The Lighthouse in Deal, it’s a venue run by a good friend of mine, it’s basically all the team from Smugglers Records getting together, enjoying a few pints and some live music, unsure who’s going to on the bill but it’ll definitely be some local acts jumping on the stage after too many ales and sing in the new year!
Any New Years resolutions?
Any festival dates planned for 2015 as yet?
I was hoping to play The Green Man Festival in 2014 but couldn’t due to a friends wedding so I have promised the organiser that I’ll be there for 2015, I’ll be at The Smugglers festival again, other than that, fingers crossed! You don’t really start to receive the invites and information until May so we’ll wait and see what comes through. I’d LOVE to do Glastonbury, fingers crossed on that too…
We'd like to thank Will for sparing his time to answer our questions and we hope that the festival invites come flooding in for 2015.
Interview by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Julian Baird ©www.julianbaird.com