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Tour Diaries: WILLIS

For those waiting for it, hearing WILLIS live at their Brooklyn show was well worth the wait.

Photo: Claudia Rader

This past fall, WILLIS's made a stop in Brooklyn while supporting The Greeting Committee. Although they were slated as the openers, WILLIS brought their own crowd to the show. A pleasant surprise for fans of TGC, who had heard WILLIS's songs online without realizing it, and sang along to a band they were only just being introduced to while they waited for the headliner to start.


Photos: Claudia Rader

Originating in Alabama, WILLIS was formed in 2016 with high school friends Murphy Billings (vocals and bass), Glenn O’Steen (drums and producer), Trey Murphy (guitar), Will O’Steen (keys/synth), and Edward Armstead (guitar), which, as we found out, met in show choir. The band quickly garnered attention for their first EP "Locals EP", and soon followed up with their second EP “Locals 2” the next year. However, it was their successful album, "Locals 3" released in 2019, that truly propelled the band into the spotlight. This influx in popularity shed light on some of their earlier work, most notably their viral song “I Think I Like When It Rains” which currently has almost 82,000,000 streams on Spotify.


Following the success of I Think I like When It Rains, WILLIS has been on a US tour and opening for The Greeting Committee on their To Feel Alright Again Tour, giving them ample time to create a pre-show ritual consisting of "we try to think of a word that we all say in unison, put our hands in, basically a lot of stretches" as stated in our interview with them.


Here's what they had to say about 'Locals 4':


There seems to be a heavy theme of nostalgia and longing, but there is also a lot of frustration in the field of being stuck, can anyone tell me more about the emotions?


Murphy Billings (songwriter): That one was kind of like a breakthrough for us. Like, we're moving up but still, know how it feels to feel how we used to. It's easy to reflect now that we're at the point where we saw ourselves being. It's easy to look back and recognize all the things that got us here. So, I just started writing about that and tried to make it a little more easily digestible. it's probably our most pop record, most emotional, really, but lots of longing, lots of regret, lots of reflection.


You Gotta Listen: C.J's Van, Now & Then, Only


See the photos by Claudia Rader from WILLIS' show below.


 

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