Today marks the fourth anniversary of UTG’s launch. To celebrate, we scoured our history to find an artist we feel has grown and further developed right along with our site. Though many fit the description, only one received unanimous praise from the staff: William Control.
In the decade that has past since he first broke unto the national music scene with Aiden’s Nightmare Anatomy, Wil Francis has been a symbol of fighting the mainstream and pushing oneself to progress beyond what others expect. His solo project, William Control, is no different.
This April, William Control will release Silentium Amoris, Wil’s first release without the support of Victory Records. To help promote, and partially to celebrate our birthday, UTG has teamed with Wil to premiere a brand new song entitled “Romance & Devotion.” You can stream the song alongside an interview with Francis regarding the record, the future of Aiden, and more, after the jump.
From all of us at Under The Gun Review, thank you for the continued support over the last four years.
Would you please give us a bit of backstory on “Romance & Devotion”?
On it’s own and from the outset one would think that it’s a simple love song. Underneath the top layer of melody and inflection there’s an implication that the writer is willing to look beyond the abuse his lover has been the victim of, and show this woman a new definition of what love really looks like. This is one of the most intimate and compelling songs I have ever written. With that said, I don’t want to give away the entire story. I’d like the listener to interpret this song and this record all on their own.
When it came to funding this release, you launched the “Control Project,” which worked much like a self-ran Kickstarter. Having spent the past decade on a label with Aiden (and the first two WC full lengths), what sparked the initial idea to ask fans to help fund the record? Any hesitations going in/Plans to use it again in the future?
I posted something about having new ideas for songs that I wanted to record and someone suggested using kickstarter, or pledge music. I looked through both sites and saw that the concept was pretty basic, except they take 10 or 15% of what you make. Which is good for them. Bad for me. I saw no reason that the fans who love both Aiden and William Control couldn’t be called on to do the same thing. It turned out wonderfully. I raised over 20K and without having to deal with a label, or an A&R guy, or accounting employees I was able to get things done so much easier. Now, that’s not to say it was easy to get it all done. You really take for granted all the people who work hard for you when you are a part of a label. Victory was great in that sense. I love the people who worked my records. It was a shame to see some of them come and go from the label. I do feel a sense of freedom I’ve never felt before. It’s relieving and terrifying at the same time. As far as doing something like that again, I absolutely would. It’s only because of the people who love my music that I was able to pull it off. In the end, I have a product that people see value in and I am grateful for that. At least I’m not selling fake laptops to kids, right?
You’re donating a portion of the money raised to the Ryther Center, which you yourself attended at one point. You have always been open about the rough times in your past, but this is the first mention of the center I can recall. Has this been a goal of yours for sometime/What was the initial motivation?
The initial motivation to do something like this was in the spirit of helping others. Although he was sort of a dweeb Mahatma Gandhi said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. This simple idea that we can derive peace from helping other people is an experience I have felt first hand. Almost 13 years later I can still picture the bedroom I slept in at Ryther. I can see the counselors that helped me through some of the most difficult issues I was facing, and I have met scores of young gentlemen who have gone through the center. Some of which are still sober, some unfortunately, are not. Without Ryther I probably wouldn’t be here today. Although it’s a small contribution in the grand scheme of things, I felt compelled to give something back.
Just like the previous WC full lengths, your latest record begins with a monologue from the album’s main character. That said, the “Auchtung” monologue mentions that the character is “leaving” the listener, so are we to assume the story ends, or simply that another chapter is about to begin?
Honestly? I don’t know. I might die in a plane crash next week. Or I might release records until I die of old age. Who can really tell?
How would you compare the sound and themes of Silentium to the other albums in the WC cannon? Did you have anything specific you wanted to get across with this record that perhaps was not explored on the previous material?
I can feel evolution taking place. Since the conception of William Control four years ago I have become a much better writer, producer and engineer. I experimented more than I have in the past, but still remained true to the original sound. I feel as if the best elements of Hate Culture and Noir are showcased on this album. As far as the lyrics are concerned, it’s written like a screenplay or movie. I love the concept of a three act play and although it’s not ever going to be shown on broadway, or the west end in London, I like to pretend that it would work in a setting such as that.
You have tour plans this Spring, and I have heard mention of possible Headlining plans at some point. Can fans expect more live performances from William Control in 2012 and, because anon will complain if I don’t ask, how will balancing promotion for this record work with Aiden’s current plans for the year?
You tell “Anon” that I’m going to focus on playing a lot more shows this year. Some things are in the works right now but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. (Or make myself look like a dummy if they don’t happen). As far as Aiden is concerned, we have a couple of shows here in March and that’s pretty much it for the year. The we’ll start writing a new album and hopefully get it out by next summer. We’ll see what happens.