FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Wille and the Bandits

Breakfree was the name of their most recent album, and Breakfree still sums it up as Wille and the Bandits head for the Festival of Chichester.

Festival of Chichester
Festival of Chichester

They are playing The Chichester Inn, West Street, Chichester, on June 21 at 8pm, with their celebration of guitar-based roots and world music.

“It’s about breaking free from the clutches of capitalism and every-day life really... Well, maybe less so capitalism. But just breaking free from staying at home,” says Wille.

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“The life we lead is pretty nomadic. We spend 250 days a year out on the road. We have a warped view of the world, but also a clearer view of the world. We pass through places and see things differently to other people. Usually if you stay in a town a long time, you get a small-town mentality, and all the smaller things in life start seeming really big, but we go through and we have a bigger world, which makes you look at things in a different way. Our world is a lot larger!

“I am just writing about what we see as musicians. You see the best of life, and you also see some of the negative things, but the important thing is to have a goal. Our goal is just to get our music listened to by as many people as possible.

“But there is another track on the album that is what it is all about - the track Mammon. Mammon was the god of greed, the god of wealth, and there are a lot of people worshipping that god. To break free is really to break free from the worship of Mammon.

“I never set out to write an album about something like this. It was just the way that the songs started to develope. There were a few things that triggered thoughts of Mammon - the banking crisis and those major corporations, that kind of thing.”

The band, which has enjoyed support slots with Deep Purple and Status Quo, has been together four, nearly five years now, a three-piece which sees Wille Edwards (guitar, slide guitar, vocals) alongside Matthew Brooks (bass, double bass) and Andrew Naumann (drums, percussion).

“For three people we make a very big sound. It is progressive rock at its heart, but there is a lot of folk and blues and rock and roll in there, plus hints of reggae and groove. There is a lot going on.

“We are very, very eclectic in what we do and the music we write. With us, you are not going to hear the same sound over and over again. We are always looking for new inspirations. It’s almost like an artist, always trying to paint a new picture each time.”

Since January they have performed in eight different countries including Germany, France, Holland, Luxemburg and Ireland. Germany is always a favourite.

“Germany has got a great music scene. It is very well supported. The young people are very interested in all musical styles, and the arts are very well catered for. I think the British are very good at supporting the arts, and the standard is higher over here. There is a lot of competition over here. But the young people in Germany are a lot more up for eking out music, going out to find it and enjoy it.”
More details: www.facebook.com/willeandthebandits.official or www.willeandthebandits.com. Tickets on: www.chichestertickets.co.uk or 01243 813595 or in person from Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).