UNPRECEDENTED times call for unprecedented music. And if any band symbolises our new spirit of the age, it is the eccentric Will and The People.

They are the first to admit that they play, talk and live a little differently to most, and have no interest in following a formula or running with the pack. They play music, they say, because it makes them feel good, feel free and feel whole.

“It represents a journey of the soul,” says frontman Will Rendle, who plays alongside his ‘people’ Jamie Rendle, Jim Ralphs and Charlie Harman and whose album Past the Point of No Return is pricking up the ears of lovers of feisty soulful rock.

“The journey from the darkness and depression of a lost and seemingly hopeless position to a realisation and acknowledgement of needing to change, needing to empower oneself and then finally to a more joyous, un-shakeable happiness towards all aspects of life.

Oxford Mail: Will & The People

“Life is beautiful and can be lived with joy and grace. Through staying true to your passions and beliefs and finding, new chapters, happiness is there.”

“Past the Point of No Return is the meeting of the past and present on our journey into the future. It’s a four-way diary entry for life as we currently know it.”

The album was self produced and recorded by the Brighton band at The Libertines’ The Albion Rooms over the course of a week. It is nostalgic, colourful, both melodically and lyrically, and it packs a punch – with heavy guitars, catchy synth lines and punchy drums framing intelligent compositions.

Will says: “During lockdown at the end of last year we decamped to a town we had only heard tales of, Margate, to the fantastic and inspiring studio that is The Albion Rooms’ recording studio and hotel.

“We arrived with a blank canvas, just a few scraps of ideas, and four very open minds and hearts, to try and manifest something honest and unique, to capture our feelings and the zeitgeist of these strange times.

“For the first time since the band’s inception we recorded, produced and mixed the whole record ourselves, taking total responsibility for all our successes and failures.

“What we came out with after those two weeks is our proudest work yet. It’s different and loud, and sad, and beautiful and hopeful. We know people are gonna love it as much as we do.”

The band follow the success of their single Animal with the inspiring Money – a tune replete with meaning and, they say, a reminder that there is more to life than constantly looking for our next pay cheque and obsessing over “the root of all evil”.

We get a chance to hear it all live when they rock up at the O2 Academy Oxford on Tuesday. And they can’t wait to get here.

Will says: “Oxford has a special place in our hearts not only because of its history, beautiful architecture and culture but also because our keyboard player and bassist Jim spent much of his early years weekends wandering around Jericho searching for any sign of Radiohead or in the Covered Market eating as many Ben’s Cookies as humanly possible.”

Our city also helped forge the band’s sound. Will adds: “Most importantly it was the scene of many of Jim’s first gig experiences at The Zodiac on Cowley Road.”

The venue is, of course now the very same O2 Academy which the band are gearing up to play.

Will goes on: “It is where he truly fell in love with live music watching acts as diverse as Jack Peñate and Justice blow minds and inspire souls, until he was lucky enough to tread those very same boards with our own band several times over the past six years.

Oxford Mail: Will & The People

“It is an achievement the meaning of which cannot be overstated and that is further enhanced by the fantastic spirit and enthusiasm of the Oxford gig-goer, which Jim still proudly considers himself to be one of.

“Our reverence and appreciation for culture in this city is ancient and part of the fabric that makes this city so great!”

*Will & The People play the O2 Academy Oxford on December 14 with support from Ulysses Wells and The White Lakes. Tickets from ticketmaster.co.uk


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