Canadian born artist/actor/filmmaker Will Bowes has the music world in tears with his latest single, “Mad at the World”, a brutally heart squeezing ballad made after the deathly attacks in Toronto. Best known for being the frontman of soul band “Gold Complex” and starring in movies such as 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and 2012’s “House at the End of the Street” opposite actress Jennifer Lawrence, his newest track finds the singer-songwriter at his most vulnerable.
We had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Bowes about his intriguing music beginnings, his passion for music and songwriting in addition to the making of “Mad at the World,” amongst other things.
SR: What is your story?
WB: My name is Will Bowes and I’m a singer/songwriter, filmmaker and actor from Toronto. I grew up in the arts because my parents were actors, so I started acting when I was 14. But I’ve always loved music and spent my earliest years listening to Neil Young, seeing his concert for the first time when I was 6 years old. I am also the lead singer in an 8 Piece soul/pop band called Gold Complex, and we are beginning to roll out our debut album this fall!
SR: Was there a particular moment you realized you wanted to become an artist/musician?
WB: I can’t really define a specific moment I don’t think, but I do remember that Fisher Price used to make these amazing kids toys, it was a portable cassette player that was also connected to a microphone. As a kid I would walk around with this toy singing over top of Neil Young’s vocals on the decade album. I just remember really loving that, running around the house singing Neil Young. That was also probably my first experience of hearing my own voice singing into a microphone.
SR: Can you tell us about your songwriting process? Is there a constant order you follow or is it more unpredictable?
WB: It’s more unpredictable I would say. Sometimes entire melodies and stories wander into my head and other times it’s just a line or two, or a great chorus or a catchy melody. Whatever it is, even if I’m in public, I quietly take out my phone and record voice memo’s of every idea, otherwise I’ll forget them.
SR: What motivates you each day to continue creating music?
WB: I think there are lots of factors that motivate music or creativity in general. Obviously, love and relationships are a pretty good fuel for songwriting. But I’ll often write songs based on more general feelings, or even specific events. For example, the single I just released, “Mad at the World,” is a song inspired by these disgusting attacks that happened in Toronto this year.
SR: What inspired the song “Mad at the World”? What was the recording session like?
WB: Well I started to write this song after Toronto experienced these deadly attacks that we are completely unaccustomed to experiencing. The song came very effortlessly, I remember finishing writing the entire thing in an hour or two. I then played it for Andrew Dawson, who is my great friend, plays guitar and produces Gold Complex, and also produced this song and he took an instant liking to it. The recording session was also very fast. I think we did two or three vocal takes, and a lot of the vocal you hear in the song is from one single vocal take.
SR: What do you want your listeners to take away with them after listening to your music?
WB: I think with this song specifically, it’s pretty universal in it’s message about finding ways to combat fear and hatred during times of adversity. At least I hope it is. I hope that this song makes people feel that they can acknowledge that things might not feel the best right now, while also making them feel that optimism can actually create positive change.
SR: What current artists are motivating you?
WB: I actually just got really into Eminem’s new album so I’ve been listening to that alot. A guy called Clark Beckham that a friend showed me. The Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga songs are great. There are some local Canadians that I’m loving lately like Jocelyn Alice, Justin Nozuka and Ralph, the latter two I went to high school with actually.
SR: What are the most challenging things about being an artist?
WB: Combatting self doubt and being able to support yourself financially with your art.
SR: What advice would you give anyone who aspires to be an artist?
WB: This is such a popular question that I also feel like typically comes with such a popular answer, which is “believe in yourself.” I think that self belief is monumentally important, but so is actual productivity so my advice is to create, hustle, and do the work that you want to be doing as opposed to just talking about it. And this is advice I have to give myself all the time as well. I’ve been guilty of moping around, complaining about my circumstances more than enough times to know that we can all change our circumstances if we just try hard enough.
SR: What is next for you?
WB: I’m so excited to be working with an incredible pop producer on a follow up solo single, so please stay tuned for that. And I’m equally as excited to be releasing an album with my band, Gold Complex that we’ve been working on for years. We’re releasing a single next month and will then begin the rollout for the album. I’m recording a cartoon series called “Bakugan” right now and can be seen in the upcoming film, Clara, which just premiered at TIFF.
Thanks very much for having me guys!
Catch all the latest news on Will Bowes on his official website