A hectic taxi ride after a last minute change of venue is not how anyone wants their first ever interview in Birmingham to start. Finally seated, after trying to find a room with a light switch, BurnFM’s Leigh Inness caught up with Billy Lockett, before the atmospheric and intimate gig at Talk Bar on the night of Halloween…
So, this is your tour! I’ve seen that you’ve supported quite a few big names in the past [KT Tunstall, Nina Nesbitt, Birdy] – how does it feel to be on your own, and have people supporting you?
Yeah it’s… an amazing feeling actually. I mean I love supporting people. I love gaining fans that way and the shows are a lot bigger when I support people. But it is nice to play to people that are only there for my songs; completely for me. Like, into what I’m doing, rather than having to fight for them to like me.
Yeah of course! What do you think has been the best venue?
I think the best one was Manchester last night [The Deaf Institute]. It was incredible, I absolutely loved it! It was packed out, but the crowd were so quiet for the right bits and really loud for the other parts. It’s awkward with supporting as you get a lot of people talking. With these shows it’s really nice that everyone is respectful; they’re also respectful to my support acts, because that’s how they are as fans! It’s always nice that they come along early to watch the supports. Just like I had hoped, and am glad that they did, when I first supported people!
Your supports have varied with the different cities – who have you got supporting you tonight?
There is Emma Crowder and Peter Marchant…
Are they from the area?
You know, Peter’s actually from my band, but he’s from my hometown. So I’ve given him a few support slots in the past. And then I’ve got Karima Francis who’s quite big as well. She’s doing the whole tour with me so she’s just like my main support for every day… which is awesome because we get to hang out all the time. She’s an absolute legend as well; she’s incredibly talented, such a cool girl – she’s great.
You started back a little while ago, and you’ve come quite far in this past year or so! What’s your favourite single so far that you’ve written?
I think probably Old Man – it’s the most recent one as well. There’s a lot of meaning behind it, my dad passed away five months ago so, that was all about him. I kinda had half of it for a while and I couldn’t finish it, then he died and all of it just clicked… it came straight away. Luckily that’s the one that’s doing really well so yeah, Old Man!
It’s got some good backing behind it, and reviews online as well! Oh, and was it BBC Radio 1 that played a track [Pathways] of yours recently?
Yes it was Greg James’ show, and Zane [Lowe] was there, sitting in on the show as well!
I bet that was quite strange, to hear your track!
Yeah that was amazing, because I actually bumped into Greg earlier on that day in London! We had a meeting with someone and, it was really random, but I bumped into him in a coffee shop! I was like “Ah Greg!”… I met him at T in the Park ages before, and I’d told him about the single before I released it. I said to him when I release it I’d love you to play it! So in this weird coincidence that I just saw him I asked if he heard my single and he said “Yeah! I have, I’ve been meaning to play it”! I was like, play it today then! And he did!
That’s great! So he’d been listening at home then?
He’s got all my EPs on his iPod – he even proved it to me, because I said “You’re lying”!
Haha! Do you think you’re going to be releasing an album soon?
Yes, I’ve done three EPs so now the next point is a debut album. I’m just sort of working out who to do it with – which is the right label, and who is the right producer. But I’ve got all the songs now, I’ve got the sound and I’ve got the set ready.
I see that you have a piano out ready on the stage! Are you going to be playing it a lot in the show tonight?
I always used to play the guitar, with a bit of piano in my sets, but now… I’m completely focused on the piano now. I’ve only got one song in the set that’s on guitar. My whole sound is very different, it’s completely changed actually. It’s quite worrying because a lot of my fans come [to the gigs] and expect what they’re used to. I have changed it so much but it seems to be going down well! If they like my music, they’re gunna like it, no matter what instrument I’m playing!
You should definitely go with what you want, and feel like writing…
Exactly, I love playing the piano more… and I get to sit down… have a rest!
And finally, are you going to be going back to Northampton to play some of your tunes?
A lot of people keep asking me when I’m going to do another hometown gig because I haven’t got one on this tour! I did Northampton music festival, and I think that’s going to be it for quite a while… I’m not going to do another one for a long time I think. It’s awesome but… I’ve got to get away in a sense you know? Not in a bad way, just to spread my music! But, it is my favourite place to play, I don’t forget my roots!