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WILLIAM ENGLISH’s Joseph Woodbury: “I Don’t Know Where the Lines of Metal and Hardcore Start or End Anymore”

"Good music Is best aged, Like a well-hung beef fillet."

William English are an exciting band, one that could put the town of Thetford, Norfolk on the map of metal. William English’s full-frontal assault of sludge, stoner and hardcore has won them fans across the country and well-deserved attention. Speaking to the band’s drummer Joseph Woodbury, we talked about their debut album Basic Human Error, influences, their split with Three Thrones and more in this interesting chat.

William English band 2015

Jack: How are you doing right now? 

Joesph: I am very well, thank you. Right now it’s a warm Saturday evening and I am sat by my window in my second floor apartment, enjoying the sunset with a lovely cup of tea.
Jack: How did William English form as a band?
Joseph: I started the band around 2008 with the main intention of playing shows again. All my friends were in A Horse Called War (AHCW ), so I went through every other person in our small Norfolk town who had a guitar or bass and wanted to play with me. For the first few years, the band had an ever-revolving number of people in and out. We recorded a couple of times and played plenty of shows in this manner, but it was not until AHCW split up and Carter joined William English that the band started to find a more complete sound. Carter then bullied everyone else in the band at that time to leave. Dan Bonfield stayed and we asked Shane to join. After a few shows we found Callum and the moment he took his bass out of its case at his first practice, the band was complete. Unfortunately, Dan had to leave the band when we were about to record the last song for the album; this is when Dave joined. At first it was just to help us finish the album, then he played a few shows with us and now I think it’s the final line-up.
Jack: Did you form with the intention of being a sludge band or did it just occur when jamming?
Joseph:When Carter joined the band we said “Fuck metal, hardcore, sludge, stoner and whatever else you want to call it. Let’s just write the heaviest songs we can.” That is what we did, what we are doing and what we will continue to do. Within the band we all have such a wide musical taste that we each put into the music unconsciously during the writing process, I think it is almost an insult to say that we are a ‘sludge band.’
Jack: What bands would you say are your main influences? To me it’s clear there is an Iron Monkey influence in your music.
Joseph: Of course we listen to and love Iron Monkey, but that is just one ingredient in the stew pot that is our sound. It would take far too long to list every band that helps make up this delicious meaty feast. If I was to start at the very beginning then I would say the one band that has influenced our sound, would be This Machine.
Jack: One band that is another clear influence is EyeHateGod, what do you love about this band?
Joseph: For me EyeHateGod are the whole package. They have that raw honest DIY sound that I love so much.  They know how to write a good riff, and also jump between genres effortlessly. The fact that they don’t release new material all the time is also a bonus for me. Good music is best aged, like a well-hung beef fillet.
Jack: I feel that there is a death metal influence in your work. Would it be fair to say that?
Joseph: Honestly, I don’t even know what death metal is. I don’t know where the lines of metal and hardcore start or end anymore. Sub genres and pigeonholing has really ruined music journalism for me. To the point where I don’t even know how to label the music I make. But to answer your question with a more straight answer; no I don’t think so.
Jack: Shane (Vocals), David (Guitar) and Carter (Guitar) are also in A Horse Called War, Dave said “William English has a more metal edge,” do you agree with this statement?
Joseph: As I said above I don’t even know what metal is anymore. So for me to give a straight answer would be hard. I would say AHCW are more meat and potatoes served with thick tar gravy whereas. WE is just nails in a blender, downed in one.
William English Basic Human Error
Jack: Your debut Basic Human Error came out recently to positive reviews. Are you happy with the response?
Joseph: I am very pleased with the feedback we have received. We knew for a long time that we hand a solid album under our belts. That’s why we chose to pay for PR, because we wanted more people to at least give it one listen. We have waited for so long for people to hear all of our efforts and to be posting out copies of the album to America and France is an overwhelming feeling.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Joseph:We recorded at Sickroom Studios with Owen Turner. We had recorded an old demo and our split with Three Thrones with him, and both he and the studio are perfect for how we work. It took us over a year to record because we paid for everything ourselves, and as we all know studio time is not the cheapest. We would pay for a 12 hour day usually on a Saturday and in this time we would set up and find a good sound. Then record 2 songs live until we had 4 to 5 perfect drum takes, add guitar overdubs and feedback, and then vocals plus a little mixdown. Once we had another 2 songs that were, what we call ‘studio tight’ and enough money for the next session in the studio, months have already passed us by. We did this three times then on the fourth visit we only recorded ‘Grandpa Sorrow Pt . 2,’ as we knew recording such a long song live was going to be the toughest. So the actual studio time was only 4 days. 4 very busy weed-infused days that were a great laugh and experience by all.
Jack: Captain Tugboat and Grandpa Sorrow previously were released as demos. How does it feel to have them released fully complete on a full album?
Joesph: Those 2 songs were the first we recorded for the album. We knew it would be ages from that first studio session to when people got to hear our album, so we just posted the unmastered versions of the songs. It’s great to have all 7 songs together because we thought a lot about the album as a whole and not just single songs.

 Jack: The album seems to be quite emotional and sad. What are the main concepts of the album?
Joseph: We had the idea of an old man lost at sea, fighting mythical creatures and endlessly searching. When we write riffs and parts to songs we often personify how heavy or maybe the flow of the sound is, in a joking stoner manner. I would say the songs started to take shape, then our imaginative ramblings took over and we created this epic story of grandpa sorrow. But lyrically Shane just says random words and sentences, the majority is utter nonsense. However I dare say a small portion of the personifications are woven in and out of the album.
Jack: The album cover doesn’t seem like a metal band album cover, what was behind the choice of the album cover?
Joseph: Having the name William English does not give too much away about our sound. When we turn up to shows the way we dress and act also does not give anything away. We liked this reaction and consciously chose a beautiful photo to continue this. I work with the guy that took the photos and he said we could just use some of his old photos for free. He gave us a load of sea0related photos to choose from and we whittled them down to the 3 we thought best suited the lost at sea story.
Jack: Your album was released on Grandad Records. How is it being signed to them?
Joseph: I am Grandad Records. Around the time A Horse Called War got together I was working full-time and still living with my mum. So when it came time for this amazing band made up of my best friends to record their first EP, I lent them £100 to press and release it. I had no intention of starting a label. Then when William English released the first EP back in 2010, I ended up paying for the majority of the pressing as I had more money and I was way more interested in pushing the band further than any of the members at that time. Then when it came to release the Three Thrones split and no label was interested in helping us pressing, I just said fuck it. I might as well put a label name and logo on it to make it look more professional, and likewise with the album. I sent the unmastered version out to so many labels with no luck it was disheartening. GDR will help friends’ bands were possible, but by no means would I consider it being anymore than that. I lose enough money as a musician as it is.
Three Thrones/William English
Jack: Earlier this year you released a split with Three Thrones, what do you like about this band?
Joseph: Top lads, such a laugh, and totally on the same wavelength creatively as us. I could happily watch them play a set any day of the week. The split was a very long time in the making and at times I think we all felt it might never happen. I’m glad we went through that journey with them boys, and I look forward to over-indulging on pizza with them again.
Jack: The split came out before the album. Were the songs released made for the split or were they originally from the album?
Joseph: They were for the split. The album was still a twinkle in our eyes when we recorded them.
Jack: Would you be open to more splits in the future?
Joseph: 100% yes. The whole process of releasing music is so long. Now the album is out we plan on releasing a few splits to reduce the turn around time. We have written two songs and asked a few bands if they would be interested in future splits. Still early stages but the wheels are in motion.
Jack: You’re supporting Sloath in London in September, are you looking forward to this show?
Joseph: Very much so. We don’t play as many shows as we would like. The majority of the band members have kids and we all work full-time. When we do get to play it is a big day out for us all and always a great laugh.
William English Sloath
Jack: How did it feel to be featured in Terrorizer?
Joseph: It is a different feeling to what I thought. Growing up I never had the internet at home till a late age, and most of my introduction to music was magazines. I subscribe to all the well-known mags and read them for years. Always striving to one day be in the pages. Then you grow up and and make an absolutely amazing album and in order for it to get a mention in these magazines, I have to pay. I have to make the album, then pay someone to write whether or not they like it. Yes, it is good to be printed on paper and it was a satisfying moment standing at the till in WHSmith with the copy in my hand. But to put all that effort into writing an album with many different sounds, then for someone to write that it just sounds like Iron Monkey or EHG, to me is just lazy.
Jack: What can we expect from the future of band?
Joseph: We are just really good friends who enjoy hanging out and pushing ourselves musically. We practice almost every weekend and I imagine we will for a long time. We will continue to release good music and play what shows we can. Put us on more shows!
Jack: Finally, what is the best Pantera album?
Joseph: I can’t speak on behalf of anyone else but for me it’s Reinventing The Steel. Every album they made was monstrously amazing but for me Reinventing just gets the blood pumping.

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Jack
About Jack (874 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.

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