Big break for the Bandits
AFTER years of incredibly hard work that has seen them performing regularly five nights per week, Wille and the Bandits (pictured right) seem on the point of breaking through to the next level.
They have been selected from thousands of hopefuls as one of three unsigned bands by the Daily Telegraph via the Emerging Icons Project, which is half owned by Universal Records, as Wille explains.
"I'm not really sure how we became involved, except that we were recording a session in London when the Emerging Icons Project came to do a piece on the studio," he says.
"They really liked what they heard and invited us to join the Unsigned Band Review, in fact they helped us with our profile and signed us up to the web page.
"Out of the thousands of bands on the site, we were then selected to appear as featured band on Absolute Radio."
The Kaiser Chiefs were sent a register of the Unsigned bands on the site and they sifted through all of them to come up with ten to feature on an Emerging Icons Album. Wille and the Bandits were one of the ten.
"Then the Telegraph got hold of the album and from the ten tracks chose their three favourites of which we were one.
"We have already been up to London to do a live session for journalists and music magazines and have been told we will be required for a very high profile event in August."
Following their success as support for Status Quo and Joe Bonamassa in France last year, the trio are starting to pick up fans around Europe and indeed the world, so this latest potential step up here will help raise their profile yet further.
"It was always the plan, to put in loads of ground work and then hope someone would notice us," says Wille, who then adds cautiously, "but I'm still not getting my hopes up too much."
However, even he agrees that everything seems to be coming together really nicely now.
"We have fans literally all around the world," he says, sitting in an office surrounded by a 'New York skyline' of CD boxes containing latest album, Breakfree, copies of which are due to go out shortly to around 45 different countries.
"We're starting to get serious European airplay, we're currently being played on the equivalent of Radio One in Belgium and have done a live session for French TV as well as being offered a showcase for record labels in Paris later this year."
But wherever that band play in Europe, it's always great to return to home soil:
"We had an amazing Volksfest," says Wille, "we don't come to Plymouth that often, so to see so much local support was fantastic."
The trio gave a stonking highlight performance of their trademark raw rootsy rock, showcasing an appearance by latest recruit Matt Brooks' new electric bass.
"Sadly the van door came down too hard on Matt's very expensive beautiful double bass in Lille, so he's invested in an electric one, while his old one gets repaired.
"Although it doesn't look as pretty, actually it is helpful with the way our music is going, basically making a big sound and pushing the effects – it's the equivalent size of sound you get from a slide guitar."
Find out more by visiting www.willeandthebandits.com.