Interview With William Poyer

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William Poyer has just returned from a three-year stint in Mexico. He’s returned with a new album (and a girlfriend), two new music videos and one in the making.
At the time when we Skype-meet, I have none of these things – and am triple checking I’m recording …


I interviewed this conductor at the Royal Albert Hall and we did an hour and a half long interview and it was all incredibly complex. When we finished I realised I hadn’t been recording any of it and I was so horrified I couldn’t tell him, it still haunts me, but we’re recording so everything’s fine …

Well, I’m not as complex …

Still I wouldn’t want to blag your answers. So, you’re from Swansea originally, why Mexico? And had you planned on staying that long?

No. It was a whim leaving. I’d been living in London for 8 years, working in the film industry for some pretty intense people and doing jobs I never intended on doing. I’d always wanted to make movies but I was just helping other people make movies. Music had been on the back-burner for a long time and I just thought, ‘Right, screw it. I’m leaving.’ I had no money, bought myself a one-way ticket on my credit card. Then thought, ‘How can you travel with no money?’

Teaching English.

I knew I wanted to go to Latin America I knew I wanted to learn Spanish; and there were just a few more things about Mexico I was interested in … I just knew, culturally, it had a bit more weight – and it was cheapest place to do the English course. That’s about as much thought as went into it.

I think that’s about as much thought as needs to go in to it. I once went to Mozambique because Bob Dylan wrote a song called Mozambique. I was later informed he never went there, but, I had a nice time … Where were you in Mexico?

Went to Guadalajara and the idea was to go to end up at the beach. Then I got a girlfriend in Guadalajara and she got a job in Mexico City so we moved there -which I never had any intention of doing.

Cool place …

I thought it was going to be a monster of a city but its beautiful. Amazing pockets of wonderfulness, so we stayed there.

Having spent 3 years there how did you know it was time to come back?

I’d been wanting to come back quite a while. I always knew I would come back, initially, it was probably the sense that, I was going away to come back. With time and the development of songs every 6 months, I’d be like “Yeah, think I have an albums worth of material”, but then something would significantly change; I’d find a significant progression and the old songs just kicked away. That happened a few times, then, I knew I was ready to record something – but I didn’t know how to do it. I’m not a producer, I don’t have any rich mates, I hadn’t done a gig; I’d just locked myself in a room for 2 years to study writing, so there was no one championing me. Then someone told me about crowd funding …

How did that work?

I offered $16 to get a free album, $20 get a thank you or whatever, I think it was $500 get name tattoo, this Brazilian producer – I’ve got his named tattooed, he gave me $500.

(It’s actually a very elegant tattoo and I start wondering how much I can get people to pay me to tattoo their names on my extremities ….)

You left to hone your sound – what was your sound like before you left?

I did an E.P with a band, I’d always had this obsession with cowboy music – Americana, and country ideas and ideologies, but the E.P didn’t really feel like me. Then I went down the very soft route, with lots of finger picking like José Gonzales, but I kind of lost a bit of the identity of what I was doing before; and I just knew there was a marriage of sounds I hadn’t found yet. I just knew I wasn’t good enough. I knew I could write songs, but wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

Didn’t Find Luck – definitely has both of those elements, the guitar reminded me of early Neil Young and then you have the fun Spanish guitar at the end …

You knew it’s a funny one, that song gets the least attention out of the whole album …

I really like that one, it was my favourite.

I love it that song, it sort of came to me in a dream; which is weird because I’m always very conscious of them [the songs]. A mate had been like, “How’s Mexico influenced you?” and I was like, fuck, I don’t think it has. I think Time has influenced me but not Mexico; and I was feeling really guilty about it, thinking maybe I should have some Mexican songs. I fell asleep that night and had this dream about a Mexican guy walking through the desert. I didn’t know what he was looking for, and he was sweating and it was really intense, and it goes on for ages, probably about 20 minutes or something; and then I realised at the end, he was looking for luck; he was trying to find luck, he was trying to obtain this like, Holy Grail of luck.

Like Don Quixote, sort of …

Yeah! And I’ve been thinking about the concept of luck for a while; and had been thinking its better to be born luck than it is to be born rich, or anything really … and yeah that’s where that came from. And he never found it.

But he shouldn’t though. That’s what makes the story good. And life, frustrating.

You mention one came in a dream, but how do songs normally come to you, do you have an idea, a verse a word, a melody? Is there a pattern?

It’s always rhythm. I’ll usually have a groove on the guitar and there’ll be a change, a chord, and it’ll usually come from the rhythm.

(He starts ‘chuck chucking’ the rhythm …)

Then I’ll add a syllable to it …

(He does, it sounds like this …)

Bubudbabda BA da da ….

… So it’ll come from rhythm and syllables and then I’ll just start jotting down gibberish. And then an expression usually, something that could be poetic, a saying, will link with the syllables and the rhythm then once you’ve got that ….

You’re rolling. …

Yeah, then start writing shit for pages. I start in pencil, if I’m sure something’s good I’ll fill it in in pen and then it can be very quick.

Video for Fell the Truth was shot out in Mexico, right?

Yeah, done on two hangovers with a boy I met at Sofar Sounds in Mexico, and he was like, “You’re the Welsh Ray LaMontagne!” I was like, great, that’s nice … but I don’t think so.

Take it.

He came to a couple of gigs he was like, “I want to do something with you.” So he went and listened to the song, and he really listened to it. He came back with ‘knock down, door fell truth’ – that was his favorite line, and said, “I want to put you in front of a load of different doors.” I was told him to crack on so he put me in front of a load of different doors, down by Frida Kahlo’s house. Which is a beautiful part of the city. And yeah just tried to walk about lip-synching to my iPod in my back pocket, feeling like a bit of a plonker.

You did it well …

Yeah walking past people miming, looking very odd.

You have to remove yourself from all that. Stay true to the ‘Art’ …

Yeah it’s been very humbling many experiences, whether crowd funding and asking for help or miming in the street …

“Help me be vulnerable to the world!”

You do you just have to let go.

In the video for 2 days later, you got kidnapped and blinded by tequila. What’s your next video? Are you just doing things you want to do?

Next video The Liar The Bitches The Crooks & The Thieves – Mexican/British joint production, we’re shooting on May 5th. The same director in Mexico is out shooting scenery so mountains desert, then I think we’ll do it as a double exposure, of there, and me here. The song’s a riff I pulled back from years ago and it was a song I wrote about the day before coming to a studio, so there’s sort of a sense of way back when.

Also watched Laid Bare Live thing at The Ritzy with Gabriel …

Gabriel Moreno!

Oh my god it was amazing, I loved it so much.

My mum watched that the other day and was like “Oh Will, I love that bit at the beginning where you were doing the poem”.

It was great. Was it improvised? Had you done something like that before?

I’d done it once with him before and he just came up to me and was like, “Do a poem with me …” Which was brilliant because the first song I wanted to play was in this strange tuning, and it just really worked as an opening to the show. That riff I want to do something with. I was thinking of getting him in the studio with him reading a poem over something.

Have you done much like that before, or just those two times?

Yeah just, we’d winged it one time before; but it’s nice to just sort of follow him and see where it goes.

Yeah, I get it. I do comedy improvisation and …

…. Flying by the seat of your pants

Yeah, totally. I used to be terrible, but, the thing is, as long as you just go with it, everyone’s good.

Yeah, you’ve got to be open, and I think the more you do those things the more flexible you become …

You find your way in the moment, not sure how else to explain it. So speaking of collaborations – one who’s alive, and one who’s dead?

I’m obsessed with a band called Shovels and Rope.

Like the name …

It’s a husband and wife duo from North Carolina and they play this sort of dirty, gothic, Americana – with a slice of hillbilly on it. They are just … yeah I love them. If I could do anything with them I would love to. If I could write a song with them …

And who’s dead?

Townes Van Zant, definitely.

I hear Fell Truth was inspired by a true story you saw in the paper?

I was asked to find the article again and I cant which makes me question whether I indulged story it a little bit …. It was the first song I managed to write that wasn’t about me, which I knew was a good sign. I loved the idea of this guy who hadn’t committed murder, being framed. But at the end of the article there was a suggestion that after he was acquitted, he had actually done it.

Maybe we’ve all done it, or maybe it’s just me, where you can tell a lie, certainly as a young man making mistakes, I told plenty of lies in my early 20s, but I told them so many times …

… You almost believed them.

Yeah, they sort of became truth, real. And that’s what I was doing with this song; he was so convinced he hadn’t done it and then at the end he just kind of give the suggestion; and I love that part of the story … It’s funny, it’s not something id’ been interested in before, understanding the psyche of crazy people. But, I think I’m getting more interested.

There’s a lot in it for sure, especially if you’re a storyteller of any sort …

Not far off that point. If you had two parallel lives, I’m not saying you don’t maybe you have more. I don’t know. But for purposes of this question you have two, what would you do? You have choice, you have free reign you aren’t limited in this parallel life …

I would like to live in a Jack London novel live in Montana live simple life fat of the land, fishing, playing banjo …

But you can do that in this one … that just sounds like the future to me.

Parallel life on this planet?

No, I mean, why limit yourself to this planet? You have the choice to do anything, anywhere in space or time …

Exploration sounds wicked. To be the first person to go to a place, an untouched land. History’s like a new topic of mine I’m enjoying …

It’s the best …

I think the first time to be a settler, the gold rush is something else I’m interested in, the 49’ers, the first ones. That would be pretty wild. To be heading for something you just heard as a whisper, a story, and go, I’m going.

What did you miss UK while you were in Mexico and what do you miss Mexico now you’re back?

I’m terrible for wanting more. The grass is greener on other side. I was saying to my girlfriend, “Oh, it would be nice to spend winter in Mexico and the summer in London.” I was complaining for so long about wanting to come home and now I’m here, I’m like …

… Kind of want to go back?

Yeah! Im terrible. Dad’s the same, they’ve just moved to Spain and he’s like “Yeah, but its not Mexico” … but yeah, while I was there I missed the transport in London.

Wow. You know you’ve got it bad if you’re missing the public transport in London.

Not when you’re using it in Mexico, its hard work. That, and I missed Sunday roasts. Probably those 2 things, really good public transport and a roast

Sound sensible ….

Now I’m here, I’m missing reasonably priced restaurants; really good, delicious, fresh food; cheap beer and mescal – miss that, and the weather. And I miss a place I played called The Black Horse which was full of bunch of immigrants form all over, blues guys from New Orleans, Country form Oklahoma, a guy from Reading, me, Mexican guys; we had a really cool thing going on for a while. I miss that.

Solid things to miss. Beer and mescal sound great …

They go so good.

I’ve got in to beer and whiskey chasers …

Sounds dangerous …

Might be dangerous.

I’m getting to whiskey very slowly.

I don’t like alcohol at all but I’ve got really into whiskey ….

Haha! You don’t like alcohol but you’re drinking beer and whisky chasers …

Yeah … So, What’s next, or is this enough?



Yeah very. Next is getting good gigs, the next videos; I have two live videos going live this week, a few festivals, met a cool guy I’m doing some writing with, and back into studio, to what extent I don’t know, maybe E.P. or another album. Maybe just something we can give away for free but yeah keep on planning more …


The single Fell The Truth is out now and the album (‘Born Lucky’) was released on Laid Bare Records on the 22nd April.

He’ll celebrating the album release at Brixton East Gallery, tonight, Thursday 28th April. Go!

And in the meantime here’s his new video:

Gigs – go out, see things, feel stuff in your ears:

Spiritual Caipirinha Bar, Camden – 16 April 2016
Laid Bare At The Ritzy, Brixton – 20 April 2016
The Pack & Carriage, Mornington Crescent – 07 May 2016
Century Club, Soho – 12 May 2016
Old Queens Head (Daytime show), Angel – 15 May 2016
Nozstock Festival, Herefordshire – 22, 23, 24 July 2016


Beverly Hills hit us like a naff old cloth. We’d had to move from our little Spanish paradise in Laurel Canyon for a week as the owners were hosting their friends wedding party. So we had consulted airbnb again, my boyfriend was keen to stay in Beverly Hills and I had imagined Beverly Hills was Miami, and everyone there was Eddie Murphy – so I don’t know why I wasn’t more averse to staying there.
We found a place with 5 stars for a little more than we were paying here, with a pool – classy, in a tacky way.

On our way down there we received a text from the owner, let’s call him Chad, imploring us to let him know if there was anything that he could do to make sure he got 5 stars, as he relied on it. Ok Chad, chill out a bit.

We cruised down the street where we were staying and arrived at a pink bungalow with flamingoes scattered about the small lawn and an American flag gagging for a breeze. I burst out laughing and started taking pictures like a spiteful little teenager. But it was like a John Waters dream house, plus I can show you what it looks like now ….

Lovely ....

Lovely ….

Mmm ...

Mmm …

Chad was out when we arrived so we stepped inside the gated pool area where we were staying, to find a bone yard of sun loungers, hundreds of them, laying in wait for some party, some joy that was only ever going to happen in the ‘70s and will now, never happen. Also, it turned out the pool was rotting and around it were statues of Joseph and Mary, staring at a baby Jesus. There were a few li-los floating around the stagnant pool, occasionally colliding with some maniacal plastic ducks wearing shades.


We stepped inside the “pool house studio”. It turned out, we had 1/5 of the pool house photographed. The room was miniscule, fragile and decorated in turquoise by a psychopath. Floral paintings covered in some strange gel goo, turquoise branches sprouting behind the kitchen cabinet next to the bed of horrors with a pillow reading “home is wherever you are”. I did not like this notion currently. Off to the bathroom – oh Chad. You installed gigantic red brothel lights in the ceiling, that when activated radiate so much heat you can feel your skin prickle, and when you look in the mirror you look like a child of the corn. The shower was beige tiles. The kitchen was a microwave and a minute fridge situated in the closet. Lovely.

We decide we need to leave and hit the streets, we bump in to Chad on our way out. He is cowering in his silver car doing Christ knows what. In his photo he looked like a 7ft clean-shaven jock, in reality he is 5ft, sweating savagely, a humiliated shade of purple, bearded and be-capped. Instagram is a strange beast.

“Oh hey guys, you like the place?”

I’m currently standing next to his collection of ashtrays, wiggling surfer men and dying cactuses.

“Yeah, it’s great.”

Always avoid conflict if possible, I am learning.

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do to ensure 5 stars.”


Why don’t you quit with the 5star thing Chad? Why are you piling on the pressure? Is it because you know that although quoted as on “Millionaire’s row baby” I’d rather be sleeping in that shed the guy on The Fast Show comes out of and says “This week I’ve mostly been …”. I start feeling anxious. He does not deserve five stars, but if we rate him badly, he rates us badly. WHY ARE WE TRAPPED IN THIS MORAL HELL?? It’s not good for my anxiety. Neither is all that blue.

We walk out expecting millionaires’ road or row or whatever it is, to be filled with classy cafes, expensive clothes shops maybe even the illusive “corner shop” found in England. But no, Beverly Hills is just a few Mobils, a couple of banks, some more ominous grey empty banks, some dry cleaners and a coffee shop.
Rodeo Drive is Sloan Street in the way that it has an entire street full of shops that I stopped wanting to go in past the age of 14 – you heard me Chanel. Rodeo also has a nice Italian ram packed with fake boobs and posers and really good food, served by traditional Italian-Mexicans.
There were also the La Brea tar pits – molten pits of tar that were unfortunately gated, who knows what might’ve happened if they weren’t.

Our main ambition while staying at Chad’s was to spend as little time as possible there, so my improvisation course at The Groundlings starting on the second day we arrived was rather timely, and fun. That took up two days a week, for the other few days we wandered around outside.
While wondering round Beverly Hills I noticed that at around 4.40/5pm it always seems to get a little cooler, the sky clouds slightly and the wind shakes the palm trees as if summoning a storm. This is when the crows of Beverly Hills come out, when the streets are mysteriously empty and the light a little less vivid than a few minutes a go. They crow and swoop and the whole thing gets generally spooky, which is when we would head back to our psychopath pad and watch The X Files to drown out the surrounding horror.

The horror finally ended on a very happy Monday morning and we moved to a haven in Venice the same afternoon where we had a whole house, a beautiful warm bungalow, bigger than we needed with a huge kitchen that made you feel like a fucking success, and a bush full of humming birds just in case you didn’t feel fucking magnificent enough. Fuck this place was great. I sunned myself and read Sylvia Plath and was generally inert for a while. Then wrote a poem about being inert and melodramatic, I think that was all I achieved in Venice.

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird ....

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird …. or maybe it’s a big black bee, but hummingbirds are basically the same size so use your imagination.

Then it was back to Laurel Canyon  where our lovely landlady was lovely and had fresh towels and lovely vibes for us.
The next day we were off to Joshua tree. OR were we going to watch the Maywether Pacaio (I can’t be bothered to find out how to spell their names) fight? I had tried, vaguely, to get us tickets to the impossibly and ridiculously overpriced fight – I think tickets were going for like $17,000 or something, like the price of a banana going up to $1 billion dollars in Zimbabwe. Except a banana is probably more useful.
Anyway, I had tried vaguely and failed definitely at getting us tickets, but my boyfriend was still keen to watch the fight at a bar called ‘Roccos’ – this was looking all the more possible as his uncle’s girlfriend had had an audition and already moved the trip once.
I was pretty convinced I wanted to see Joshua tree, not the Mani Pacio fight. Not that I was averse to the Paquiao fight – I had been willing to fight either one of them had it got us tickets. But seems as both those little lady boys couldn’t handle sidling up to this beast machine, the option of watching it on a flat screen with lots of people I don’t know and possibly don’t like, and alcohol, just wasn’t doing it for me. Not above camping out and lookin’ at bugs n’ stuff. I love bugs n’ stuff.
Fortunately for my bugs n’ stuff we were off to Joshua Tree! Hurrah! And only a couple of hours late as my boyfriend had sent our address while we were staying in Venice, now though, a film crew were staying there and we were up in Laurel Canyon (a nice 40 minute drive) as his uncle and girlfriend found out when they had a chat with the film crew.

But against all odds we got in the car and set off towards NATURE. THE WILD. THE GREAT OUTDOORS, the “wicky wicky wild wild west” as Will Smith once put it. I find myself genuinely craving to just go to the countryside and lie on the ground, I think more and more people are (not necessarily craving the ground contact I am but..), we’re realizing these cities we’ve built ourselves are little cages where we can be watched and controlled, and with the development of the internet where we are also watched and controlled, we might as well make the most of it and use it to make living in the countryside feasible rather than it just being another system within a system. Use it, use it goddamnit! Use it for your benefit, the benefit of your life not your tenuous social connections. This aside, I just find I need enough grass between myself and another person to be able to make mistakes, and nature is much more forgiving of those I find.

We drove down the hot highways out of LA – it was a heat wave that weekend, hitting about 100 degrees in the desert (who knows what that means but it sounds more impressive than centigrade.) We drove past Palm Springs with its 80s surfer writing and vestiges of plastic cups, metallic tattoos, cheap crochet tops and man bangles bought for this seasons Coachella. But we kept driving, and driving, and driving. The landscape slowly descending into exactly what I had been hoping for – desert. The first time I’ve been in a desert. We drove past the last Oasis towns of burger shacks and entered the National Park.
Now, when my brain is alert before my mouth I try to make the most of it and avoid looking like an idiot; so I kept it to myself that I thought ‘Joshua Tree’ National Park had a focal point of one very special Joshua Tree.
As we whizzed passed hundreds of trees stuck in sort of malfunctioning robot positions I overheard these were Joshua Trees. And from this I deduced there must not just be one giant one – it was funny how my level of interest in these malfunctioning robot trees peaked slightly when I realised they were what I had been looking for and so were basically famous.

Tell me that doesn't look like a malfunctioning robot ....

Tell me that doesn’t look like a malfunctioning robot ….

We stopped in Joshua Tree to have a beer, which I drank to feel the part, and sit on a large rock. By this time it was late afternoon and having discovered the camping site inside the park was closed, we needed to drive further off towards Cottonwood Mountains to find a place to camp.



It took about an hour and a half to drive through the park and come out the other side and by this time it was dusk – so we just decided to plonk ourselves on an area outside the park and hope we didn’t get eaten by bears or red necks.

FYI girls: bears are NOT attracted by your periods – it’s just more BS (bs look how American I am) that has been shoved in your brain to make you feel guilty for being yourself. Run wild. Be free, whatever time of the month. Bears will still eat you though. So still watch out for that.

Having set up our tent with surprising success, even with my involvement, we sat down to drink beers and light fires, a fire.
As the darkness swaddled us in to our little area, it really did start to feel wild, you could hear things rustling, the promise of a Brown Recluse just millimeters from your toes but you can’t see it so it’s almost like there’s nothing there.
I decided I fancied drinking some whiskey seems as I was in the desert. I don’t really like whisky it just felt like the right thing to do, so I drank it and didn’t listen to much of the conversation, just pretended I was some very successful male American writer back in the ‘50s. So I had a good time.

Sausages were cooked and I cant remember what else, I had a bun and some nuts. It all got blurry. Then I remember getting up in the middle of the night, the desert was floodlit by the moon, and I could see my way to go to the loo completely clearly, clear enough to see a little kangaroo rat sprint out of my way. Kangaroo Rats are the best animals on the planet – here is a picture that I did not take:


The next morning we woke early as we started cooking inside our tents from around 5am. So we lit a fire – to help the sun roast our organs – cooked some breakfast and hung out in the desert for as long as our hangovers would let us. I wandered around for a bit and found the coolest thing I’ve ever found – a desert crystal. Now known as ‘the lucky crystal’ for no other reason than I found it.

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Not too much has happened since our return, work has had to take a front seat for a bit as even though its pretty cool to ‘drop out’ here, and you can wear all the clothes you used to wear when you weren’t homeless and still look trendy, I’d rather not. Not when I just got a lucky crystal.

Tonight I’m off to Warner Bros Studios to watch the filming of a new sit com the husband of a lady in my improv class is directing. Excited is not the right word as I don’t like leaving the house, but it should be interesting.
I don’t want to get my hopes up but I reckon if I act like I’m the most important person in the room and just pitch my unfinished sit com right in the middle of rehearsals, you could be talking to a very successful lady by the end of the evening – if you chose to call me.

Or I’ll just stay very quite, and get even quieter when people talk to me and wish I would complete at least one project in my life.

Who knows.

More soon. Stay excellent x

Oh and ps. Someone made a mockery of me while I slept. Here’s a picture of it: