Interview: Billy Davis
You're a completely self taught musician, how did you start learning, did you grow up in a rich musical culture?
My dad passed away when I was 3 so I found myself being raised to the musical tastes of my uncle. He was a late night, early morning IT guy who relied on music to keep him going. I would stay up late into the night with him and so I found myself listening to Spyro Gyra, Gap Band, Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Manhattan Transfer, George Benson and the Beach Boys. Additionally, my Mum had me in the church in which I started playing in from a young age.
You've got an upcoming release to be let loose soon with Good Manners. What can we expect to see on this project and how will it differ from your first release, 'Bad Ending'.
This album is going to be very different. I feel like the last album was very safe production from me, and to be honest is a very distant memory of me sort of emerging from an egg amongst the Melbourne music scene. This upcoming album is completely fresh I've had the awesome opportunity to collaborate with some good friends of mine plus additionally have let loose with my writings and have just been really honest with my music.
What kind of influences will we hear on this album? I heard a great mixture of soul, gospel, hip hop, funk and jazz, more of the same?
Hip hop, Funk, Jazz, Gospel. If we want to talk influences as in artists. I would say, Kendrick, Chance, Anderson, Thundercat, The Internet and then our own personalised Billy Davis and the Good Lords flavour.
Your band, 'The Good Lords' is an amazing ensemble, how did the creation of the band come about?
I think I spoke to this about you on Saturday evening. It was literally like the assembling of the Justice League. I had a set vision in mind for my songs and my project and each individual was someone I either knew and really wanted to work with or a talented individual I stumbled upon. (Aquamans, Supermans of sorts haha) It's funny how it's literally only been a year now and we're all like family.
How much of the music do you compose yourself and how much comes from the band members? Whats the process like?
Well, pretty much all the music I compose myself with my Cyborg Tentendo aka Caleb Williams the bass player by my side. I write a majority of the lyrics minus some rap verses with Jordan (Robin) taking them and Blasko (The Flash) having an idea.
The band has a great presence on stage, is the whole process pretty organic, or lots of long, hard jams?
To be honest it wasn't always like that. That's literally jamming every Monday for the past year and the amount of shows we've done together now. We're a family so when we play out our set we're all just having fun and trying not to stuff it up haha.
When you're not making tracks what are you doing? I see you're cooking a lot on your IG stories.
Hahahahahahahahahaha. You're probably more likely to find me pouring a bottle of water on my head on my Instagram than cooking. But when I am Instagram 'living' me cooking it's only to show how much of a bad cook I am.
You mentioned you're mates with some of the members from Anderson. Paak's band, 'The Free Nationals' how did that come to be? There's a lot of similarities which could be drawn between your music and his.
I'm friends with his DJ Callum Connor. It was literally through the power of Instagram people actually do check that stuff. So inspiring to see how far those guys have come. 2016 was defs Anderson's year pre much dropping what I believe is album of the year and then copping all those Grammy nominations. Also, Anderson's musical journey from rags to riches is definitely one of the stories I cling to help me work hard right now.
With that being said, could we ever expect to see some lyrics from Anderson over some of Billy Davis & the Good Lord's music?
Hahaha. I will try.
Hypothetically, if you could collaborate with any artists in the world right now, who would they be? (Personally, I'd love to see Sampa the Great and Billy Davis make a track or two)
Kendrick, Chance, D.R.A.M, Noname, Tyler the Creator, Nai Palm, Joey Bada$$, Vince Staples, Cory Henry, Brian Mcknight. Kimbra, Anderson Paak, Steve Lacy, Syd Tha Kyd, Thundercat.
Big list but it's literally on my studio wall. Collaborations have always been part of my journey so I've set it out as a goal.
You played at Strawberry recently, how was that experience and which other Australian festivals would you like to play at, I think you'd get plenty of boots in the air if you found yourself at Meredith for example.
It was awesome having a good afternoon set too was great cause we had the opportunity to check out the heap of acts later. I definitely would love to do Splendour and Origin in Perth.
The sky seems to be the limit for the group, do you think it will be hard to keep everything running smoothly with your growing popularity and different side projects for all of the members?
Nah I don't think so. Having been able to spend time with the Internet and see how tight they are as a unit and how they are now dropping their own individual projects. It shows a family can stay tight and still do their own stuff.
Thanks to Billy Davis for taking the time to do this interview with us, be sure to hit him up on his social accounts below to catch the next Billy Davis & the Good Lords gig - you won't regret it.