"'Knockin' is like my depression session" - Bryony Williams talks DIY shoots and two-hour baths

"'Knockin'' is a big ‘fuck you’ to all of my self-induced negativity because really, I’m fucking ace and so are you."

Bryony Williams. Credit: Bryony Williams/Lucy Tibbs

Bryony Williams might just be Wolverhampton’s best-kept secret, and she’s back with her latest single ‘Knockin’’ to prove it. She has a natural affinity for making bloody great music, and it’s obvious that she’s an artist who knows exactly what she’s about. Listen to any selection from her catalogue - Bryony released her first EP back in 2016 – and you’ll be bowled away by her consistency. There are elements across her work that properly define her style; from her powerful, silky vocals to infectious guitar lines, Bryony never once falters.

‘Knockin’’ is, if anything, an assurance of such musical prowess. Heavy-hitting instrumentation swells over a landscape of bluesy melodic arrangement, with Bryony’s lush delivery of uncompromising lyrics elevating the track to impressive heights. Bryony tiptoes the line between pop and rock on this single, melding together nuances from both genres to craft a seriously catchy tune that is well-deserving of multiple listens (on repeat, if you’re anything like me).

FUZZY caught up with Bryony to chat about the track, DIY backyard shoots, two-hour baths, and Phoebe Bridgers.

FUZZY: Congrats on the new single! The DIY music video you shot with your family is so fun - what inspired it?

Ha! So, it was actually inspired by my dad. I was in my little studio playing different mastered versions of Knockin’, trying to decide which one to use for the record, when my dad bursts in playing air guitar and dancing round the room. He then tells me how he’s been listening to it with me from his garage directly below the studio and couldn’t for the life of him think which artist made this song! To then slowly realise it’s actually his daughter who’s the artist. Anyway, this sparked my imagination and knew I had to simply utilise my dad’s air guitar skills somehow! So, we brainstormed and within five minutes, I had sent a group WhatsApp message to the family requesting their presence for the following Saturday, along with the concept. Honestly, it was 75% all of my dad’s idea – from the walking out of the shed to the hosepipe as a vocal mic. Though I will take credit for the outtakes, close-ups, and casting. My mom 100% created her drum kit and my brother who filmed the whole thing was the one to suggest spraying the phone right at the end, ultimately getting him a little damp after the third and final take.

It was super fun to shoot! And something I think as a family we can cherish and that will be online forever presumably. Unless they rip up their contracts. I’m lucky to have them. This also had to have a very quick turn-around and I have a very low budget. I then worked with Sammy Jetter-Kell who shot the music video for my song, 'Silhouette', to just add some little editorial nuances like zooming into faces etc. to add a comical side to it.

FUZZY: What (or who) is the story behind Knockin’?

'Knockin’' is like my depression session. For those days when you’re stuck inside your head but even then, you can’t begin to comprehend anything, which is what I mean when I sing “braindead”. The lyrics throughout I think are pretty direct, especially when touching upon “my friends and family” and referring to depression’s invisibility. Overall, this song is a big ‘fuck you’ to all of my self-induced negativity because really, I’m fucking ace and so are you.

FUZZY: You recently wrapped up recording your album, State I’m In. Tell us how you’re feeling about it!

Ah! I’m super excited for people to hear it. It’s my best and proudest work yet and I really want to show people what I’m made of! For a five-track album, each track stands alone and taps into something different. Though the Bryony Williams sound stamp lives on through a couple of tracks, there are definitely surprises, even Matt Allwright from The One Show plays pedal steel guitar over one of the tracks! That track is also bound to make anyone cry (which I’m most excited about).

FUZZY: How have you been easing back into real life after lockdown?

Well tbh, before lockdown I was backpacking around South-East Asia and before that I was completing my masters so my life right now feels almost like it has always been… which I can only describe as freelance. Some days I love the freedom and I’m at ease with doing what I’m doing, whether that’s gardening, slacklining, music things, grabbing a casual two-hour bath. Or I’m the opposite and I’m a bit of a nervous wreck, worrying about when I’m going to be employed again, what my life should be… but I can be anything!

FUZZY: What’s on your On Repeat Spotify playlist?

1. Saintseneca - ‘Winter Breaking’

2. Canned Heat - ‘Going Up The Country’

3. Courtney Barnett - ‘City Looks Pretty’

4. Katy Perry - ‘Smile’

5. Ladyhawke - ‘Colours In The Dark’

6. Billy Nomates - 'Hippy Elite’

7. No Joy - 'Hare Tarot Lies’

8. Sorry - ‘Ode To Boy’

9. Teddy<3 - ‘Get Me High’

10. SALES - ‘Renee’

(Just to name a few)

FUZZY: If you could have dinner with three artists, who would they be and why?

1. Phoebe Bridgers because why the heck would I not? We could all wear matching skeleton outfits too.

2. Anastacia because she is my number one music mom and I’m sure she would bring a dinner party thank you gift of about fifty tinted sunglasses. What a steal.

3. And the HAIM sisters! (If they could all be counted as one artist… I don’t make the rules!) But I guess Este will do.

It’s okay Bryony, all three HAIM sisters can attend. See you there, yeah?

New single, ‘Knockin’’, is out now.

Words by Jess Hodgson.

3rd September 2020.

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