Ahead of his rooftop gig at NME CineJam – our season of film and music events – the Herefordshire-raised, LA-based musician Willow Robinson took some time out to talk coming of age, Quentin Tarantino and landing Oasis’s former manager…
What were your musical ambitions growing up in Herefordshire?
“I always wanted to be the lead guitarist in a big rock band. I never wanted to be a solo artist at all. I didn’t even sing until I was about 18. It was always guitar. But once I did start singing on my own, it opened a new world and I was like, ‘S**t, there’s a lot more to achieve here.’”
How did you get involved with Creation Records boss and former Oasis manager Alan McGee?
“He owns an old church in Wales [The Tabernacle] that puts on live music and my mum basically forced me onstage to sing. Alan was watching… He just came up to me and said, ‘Do you want a manager?’ I was like, ‘What the f**k?’”
Your last single ‘Ocean Blue’ is an epic folk song – what’s the story behind it?
“I wrote it with my friend who I was in a duo with. He played the first verse to me and it had this great mood. I went off and wrote the chorus and it just fitted so well. It’s about coming of age and how the reality is harsher than you expect. But in the end, everything always resolves itself.”
Are you aiming for that big production now?
“Yeah, I always want to be diverse in what I produce but I do like that sound. Like, working on a film soundtrack with Quentin Tarantino would be sick. He loves his crunchy guitars, but I think [film composer] Hans Zimmer has that sound wrapped up.”