Some may say WOMADelaide this year is offering one of the best line-ups it has seen in its 23 years here in our state.
With names like Youssou N’Dour, Neneh Cherry, Sinead O’Connor and Lake Street Dive on the bill, the anticipation for the event, which is rapidly approaching, is growing.
Even the late night shift will be something to rave about with Public Service Broadcasting bringing their unique audiovisual experience to the festival.
Public Service Broadcasting is the corduroy-clad brainchild of London-based J. Willgoose, Esq (banjo, guitar, laptop and keyboards), working in cahoots with companion, Wrigglesworth (drums).
The pair, who play art-rock while screening historical films, are looking forward to playing their first gig on this side of the globe.
“It’s going to be our first ever gig in the Southern Hemisphere which is quite a landmark for us,” says J.Willgoose, Esq. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the crowd’s like; we’ve heard only good things about it.”
“Over here, we play through winter and as it gets to spring, we think, ‘Oh yes, it’s nearly festival time’ and we really look forward to it because it’s the best time of year to be playing gigs. It’s kind of weird to be parachuting straight into festival wind. It feels like we’ve jumped ahead, but it’s great. We’re hoping the crowd will be receptive of our slightly odd music,” he laughs.
Public Service Broadcasting released their debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain in 2013 to rave reviews and accolades, entering the UK album charts at #21.
Their latest offering, The Race for Space has been highly anticipated, although self-diagnosed pessimist J.Willgoose is not sure how he feels about the album yet.
“It’s much more conceptually tied to one subject I suppose rather than the first album, which was fun and free-wheeling. This is much more focussed on a particular era and set of historical events which is the Space Race of ‘57-‘72 and focussing on American and Soviet missions. It’s nine episodes in history we imagine through our music. There’s a real mix of genres on there as well,” he says.
“It still feels a bit fresh to comment whether I’m entirely happy with it. Also I’m a bit sensitive because reviews are starting to come in, and although there hasn’t been a particularly bad one yet, I’m a bit on edge. At the moment, I could still be convinced it’s a terrible album, even though deep down I don’t think it is. At least it’s average. That might make a good album sticker!”
Despite J.Willgoose’s minor pessimistic ailment, Public Service Broadcasting look set to deliver a diverse and exciting set at WOMADelaide.
“We’ve got a quite an up-tempo set and it is unusual; it’s something that holds the attention. It becomes hypnotic. WOMAD in London was great because they really got into it but sometimes we look out over the crowd and they’re standing there, open mouthed, staring, mesmerised,” J.Willgoose, Esq laughs.
The concept for Public Service Broadcasting came about six years ago when J.Willgoose was working as a solo artist and has grown from there.
“I started doing it on my own about six years ago. I started mucking around with samples from British Film Institute films that had been released online for the first time and I played a few gigs,” he says.
“Then I met Wriggles in a book club and we got talking and I said was thinking of adding a drummer to this thing I was doing and he seemed interested. So he played the odd gig here and there and before we knew it we were a musical duo. We are going to be expanding to a three-piece in Europe where we can afford to tour more equipment.”
Public Service Broadcasting is unique, artistic, informative, entertaining and educational; the latter never being the band’s intent, but they’re happy to accept that task.
“I should say we’re pretty tongue in cheek and when we say ‘inform, educate and entertain’, it’s a nod to the BBC and their motto, and the prime motivation is that people who come to our gigs have a good time but it’s nice to have the added depth by using the historical stuff,” J.Willgoose says.
“If people are into it, they can investigate the things they see. Just like I did with bands I followed. If someone has written about a particular subject, you go off and find out all about it. It’s weird because we’re not trying to spread any kind of message and I didn’t think we were, but one thing has come out of our music and it’s an optimism: a positivity and a faith in technological progress.”
“It’s weird because I’m not optimistic person at all and I wouldn’t expect to have been in a band which is spreading that message but it must be in there somewhere because it keeps coming out. That’s what’s tied this all together and carried on into this album which is about the greatest technologically innovative period in modern history.”
After WOMADelaide, Public Service Broadcasting will head to New Zealand, then off on a monster tour across the world.
“We haven’t stopped for very long since March 2013 but we’ve not done something as concentrated as this. It’s pretty full on. From this point on, there’s basically no time at home for us until the end of June,” J.Willgoose says.
“ I think it should be good fun. We’re still very fresh-faced. We still look forward to playing live and we’re not grumbling about it. I still think it’s the best job you could possibly have. The best side about being a musician is playing in front of people because there’s nothing obstructing it. It’s just you and them. When it works, it’s really satisfying and the best feeling you can have as a musician.”
WOMADelaide is on 6-9th of March. You can get your tickets from their website.
By Libby Parker
Photo from Public Service Broadcasting’s Facebook Page