Southampton, Joiners Arms

Wil Francis

Wil Francis was born in Seattle, Washington on 8th January 1982, he is the lead singer of post hardcore band Aiden which he joined in 2005 after the original singer quit the band, Aiden have released 8 albums and toured the world consistently performing with a host of big name bands. In 2008 Wil started an electronic project called “William Control”, the debut album called “Hate Culture” is the story of a man named William Control and his last night on Earth because he wishes to kill himself.

William Control have now released a total of 3 full length albums including the latest release “Silentium Amoris”.The band have just finished their most extensive tour of Europe to date including a date at the prestigious Download Festival in Donnington. The tour is in support of the latest album and Ep “Novus Ordo Seclorum” and entitled the “New Faith” Tour. Wil Francis kindly took some time out before performing a storming show at the Southampton, Joiners Arms to have a chat with Chinners and Jon from Rock Regeneration:

Wil Francis

Chinners: So here we are at the last night of the European William Control Tour, is there something you like about playing Southampton as you have performed some great shows here such as the 1st one in a small venue called “Hamptons”?

Wil: Yes there is a reason, the last time we played Southampton it was just about the best night of the tour, so we decided for this tour, what a better way to end a tour than in Southampton, to play a place where it would be good.

Chinners: And the rest of the tour, it have been a very long tour

Wil: Before this European tour we have been out in America too since April, it’s a long time, I am honestly looking forward to going home as I need an American cheese burger with real bacon, but I am going to miss the English sausages though, fuck!! they are the best in the world!

Chinners: I take it you are missing your young son one as well?

Wil: They grow up so fast, he’s changed so much since I’ve been gone, I talk to him on the phone all the time, it does suck leaving him behind, but I am going home tomorrow.

Chinners: You played the Download Festival last week, how was that?

Wil Francis

Wil: It was good, My band was there over the weekend watching the other bands in the mud, and I showed up on Sunday.

Chinners: Ahh yes I saw a Download TV interview with you and you did look rather clean

Wil: Yes I was so clean, I managed to avoid the mud, sadly I did not get to see any bands as I had press all day. I understand that is part of British culture of going to a festival like Download, Reading or Glastonbury and staying in a tent getting muddy all weekend, I get it, it is definably English Culture, but what a fucking nightmare, fuck that, fuck all that, there is no way I would do all that.

Chinners: With the new album “Silentium Amoris”, how well do you think it has been received on this tour? Are you happy the way the songs have come across?

Wil: I feel as if it is the best record we have done, in terms of song writing and production, it is definitely far above last years. It was marketed and sold just to William Control fans, so it is not as though there is a big influx of people coming to the shows because they heard it on the radio. The reception has been really great, the fans have been very responsive.

Chinners: It seems now that the William Control name has grown so much, you cannot open the music press recently with seeing an article on the band, before you were always known as Wil from Aiden, that seems to have disappeared and William Control seems to have become more famous than Aiden.

Wil Francis

Wil: It has taken a long time to realise that it is a different thing, I am touring with Rock bands as agents book me a tour in Rock venues, we should be playing in Sleazy Night Clubs and Sex Clubs….weird shit!! We really should not be on a regular rock tour.

Chinners: I feel that we have gone on a bit of a journey with the William Control albums, you start with “Hate Culture” which was very dark and with the new album it seems much more positive, the writing seems to be very personal and I feel the listeners have taken the journey with you? Has becoming a parent changed your outlook or are things just generally better for you?

Wil: When I wrote Hate Culture I was in the fucking throws of a pretty dark time in my life, it is a really mean record, the weird shit is pretty mean, I am generally pretty optimistic, I don’t wanna say optimistic. I am generally a happy guy in my normal life, I write to get the nasty out of my head, to get the vile disgusting things out of my head so I don’t have to dwell on them. I don’t do drink and I don’t do drugs so I don’t have that sort of outlet to forget about my worries and my aches.

Chinners: It is so great to hear you have put all that in the past, it does explain a lot.

Wil: Definitely on the new album there is a lot more positively written lyrics, a lot more about love. The story is still concurrent with the first two albums, a concept album about this guy who is searching for love, but has those optimistic views. I think that all does have a lot to do what is happening in my personal life, before I was alone and disturbed, and now I have found love.

Chinners: I’m am intrigued by your Gothic imagery. What would you say has inspired this?

Wil Francis

Wil: I have always looked at William Control as a cinematic endeavour than a musical one, we are not a group of guys in a band that are going to fight the world with togetherness. I have always considered this protagonist as someone who is on a journey. I have tried to write albums cinematically, more of an experience not just musically but visionary as well, so the listener can visualize this person as well as hear. This image comes from being obsessed with late 19 Century late Victorian London, plagued with disease, whores, the rich & the poor. I think that I try to put a couple different characters into William Control like Clark Gable, Oscar Wild and Jack The Ripper….shit I don’t know Phineas Poe. With London most touring musicians say they love London and drink beer everywhere, cheap cheap beer and say the girls are easy, I am interested is the history of London, being a white guy I probably come from that part of Europe.

Chinners: I though most Americans have Irish ancestors?

Wil: Well I have a red beard when it grows so that could be true.

Chinners: So It could be William O’Francis!!!

Wil: I sadly cannot trace my lineage back as my Grandfather was an orphan, so really I don’t know what I am. I feel connected with this part of the world….. England, Ireland this part of the UK. I am really interested how this has happened, how this country a small island has changed western culture and really the western world because of Britain. This tiny little island that just ruled fucking everything. What happened?

Chinners: America is what happened

Wil: Margaret Thatcher is what happened…..Bitch!!

Chinners: We won’t go there!

Wil: The funniest thing about England is when I came here I expected everyone to be talking with a Dick Van Dyke Style. It is nothing like in the movies, an American cannot do a really good English accent.

Chinners: You have some new band bands on tour with you this time including Obscure Pleasures, Ashestoangels, and the Fearless Vampire Killers, I understand they were all fans of Aiden previously… How do you find working with these great new young bands?

Wil Francis

Wil: At one point I woke up and I was on tour and I realised I was the old guy. That I had been around for a long time. I was now touring with 18-19 year old kids, I said oh fuck I am now the old guy now!! These kids that are on this tour now right now Fearless Vampire Killers, Ashestoangels, and Obscure Pleasures were Aiden fans. The Obscure Pleasure’s singer Josh, I have known since he was a little kid about 13 or 14 coming to gigs to see Aiden. It is now nice to be able to support people who have supported me over the years. I can say to people to check them out.

Chinners: The Future….Where are you going from here ?

Wil: Fuck Man…..I don’t know!! I do have some new William Control stuff but I don’t know if I am going to do another record again, it is a hell of allot of work to do by myself, so unless I get a record label wanting to do something, it will just be songs or EP’s something along those lines.

Chinners: Do you feel liberated with the parting from Victory records ?

Wil: Yes so much, so much more freedom, it’s nice no nice, a weight off my shoulders. I know that I am going to write a new Aiden album this year as next year is our 10 year anniversary, so we will definitely do something for that. For 10 years I have been a professional musician and not have to work at a regular job and eat McDonalds, I don’t have any money but it is great to keep doing what you love.

Chinners: It has been great speaking to you, thank you so much for all of your time.

Wil: It has been a pleasure, take care.

Interview by Dave Chinery(Chinners)
Pictures By Jon Musselwhite