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We park right outside the venue – Boot & Saddle – and meet Amy behind the bar and Steve the sound engineer. It’s a great little room. Compact, well-lit, good PA. George sets up and I go get some tips from Amy about where to get pizza, and head out on this mission. All I have left on my North American Junk Food list is pizza, a milkshake, a Dr. Pepper and a box of Junior Mints. And just twenty-six hours left to tick them off.
I have what’s been diagnosed by a speech therapist as a ‘severe covert stammer‘ – often referred to as ‘interiorised‘, which means you don’t hear it in the usual s-s-s-stuttering way, because I’ve spent my life hiding it. It manifests itself in other audible ways though, which, if you met me, you might put down to my accent, or my talking quickly, or you just not catching what I’ve said. I like talking, and do a lot of it, though in every sentence there will be something I find difficult to say, so I may need to swap a word out, or switch the syntax, or in some way distract you – audibly or physically – from what I’m failing to articulate, which involves always thinking a few words ahead so I can make changes before I get there, like swerving to avoid something in the road.
I might intentionally mumble a word because I just can’t say it, and then quickly move on to the next ones, hoping that they will give you enough information to allow you to piece together the crux of the meaning. In loud environments I might intentionally shout gibberish in your ear as a way of ‘breaking the dam’, figuring you’ll just think you couldn’t hear me over the music, say, which gets my mouth moving, making it easier to get the sentence out second time around. I also swear more than most, partly because, for example, it’s easier to put what’s called a ‘hard onset’ before a word I can’t say. The ‘k’ in ‘fuck’ is a useful tool in that regard. And in a revelation that may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually more difficult to speak when I’m back home in Scotland, because there I can’t really get away with altering my dialect (not my accent; that’s a constant) without people accusing me of “talking posh”, so back there I say “ah dinnae ken” instead of “I don’t know”, whereas everywhere else in the world I can use phrases in both dialects with my accent remaining intact. Tiredness, anxiety, the affect some foods have on me and even my posture can all cause problems. In extreme cases – if I need to talk for extended periods without rest, or if it’s very cold – my mouth stops working. It starts with a tingling sensation around my right eye, spreads down the side of my face and envelops my whole face, until the muscles around my jaw seize up and my lips become numb, as your hand does if you sit on it for a few minutes.
Some of the speech issues are context-based. I can say “toilet” all day without a problem, but if I walk into a bar or cafe and and try and say “Can I use your toilet please?”, I can’t say it. I just don’t have the ability to control that particular group of words in that order. They run away from me. I can’t ‘just slow down’, I can’t just ‘take a breath’. The ability to deliver the sentence is as elusive to me as quantum mechanics. It’s easier in North America. I can just say “restroom” or “bathroom”. No problem with that. But not “traditional”. Can’t say it under any circumstances.
Years ago, when I struggled far more with it than I do now, I’ve seen me walking six miles home because I wasn’t able to board a nightbus and say to the driver “Fifty pence please”, or any other variation of any other words that would allow me to illuminate my destination.
A further complication is when speaking to someone who already has problems understanding me. I get more nervous with the effort finally – finally! – getting this person to get what I’m saying the first time, and since they also approach the conversation assuming they won’t understand me, they just cut to the chase and ask me to repeat myself (0r worse; ask someone else what I just said), often before I’ve even finished the sentence. For someone who (when tour managing) has a job that needs clear communication, it can be tiring and disheartening.
Part of the reason I took up lecturing was to help get all this out in the open. And it’s why I like writing more than talking; I’ve ten conduits to write through, only one to use when I talk. On top of all this I have conductive hearing in my right ear, which basically means it’s a bit dull on that side, and since I’m not in my twenties anymore, the left ear no longer compensates so, in loud places, hearing myself or you can be tricky, which impacts on the confidence I have in my speech, which in turns increases the frequency of my stammer.
And the reason I’m telling you all of this is to try and explain why I walked into a pizza joint to buy three single slices, but walked out with four, and one whole pizza…
I’m giving a 90 minute talk (+30 minute Q&A) on Tour Management at the All Years Leaving Festival, Hare & Hounds Birmingham, Saturday 24 October. Info here, and link to combined lecture + festival ticket. East India Youth will perform at midnight, upstairs in the main room. Continue Reading →
Aside from lecturing around the UK and Europe, I’m also delivering Tour Talks; conversations, lectures and Q&As when I’m actually touring. Many of those who want to learn about the live industry aren’t necessarily keen on an academic environment, so I’m using the venues I’m working in as lecture halls, and inviting bands, managers, students, members of the public… anyone who’s interested in Tour Management, Venue Management, The International Festival Market or Artist Management to come down for a crash course in whatever topic we’ve agreed to discuss. Here’s a list of all the talks and lectures. If there’s one you’d like to attend but you don’t qualify for entry due, email me and I’ll see what I can do. Continue Reading →
When we were out on the North American tour in May, we visited KEXP in Seattle to record (and have filmed) a four-song session. You can watch it here, or below, and view Charina Pitzel‘s fantastic photography too…
“In this stunning set, William Doyle brings his alter-ego project, East India Youth, into the KEXP live room, unfurling a collection of intriguing tunes from his April 2015 release, Culture of Volume. Marshalling strange, ingenious ideas into coherent, interesting pop music, East India Youth flirt between genres; with a mix of IDM, soft rock, and prog-pop all rendered with an amazing level of detail, with no expense spared. From the electric boogaloo of “Hearts That Never” to the the distorted guitars of “Looking for Someone” this is a live set that deserves to be listened to on expensive headphones”
If I had a name like Wyndham Wallace I would not associate or correspond with anyone with a simple name like mine. However, since you have lowered yourself to such depths, how can my old Indian heart (west not east) not respond favourably.
—Lee Hazlewood, fax message to the author, Valentine’s Day 1999
A message from Will…
The Music Venue Trust – a charity founded in 2014 to preserve, secure and improve the UK’s network of small to medium scale (mostly independently run) music venues – hosted Venues Day in London at the end of last year. Over 120 venues from across the UK attended, to put their heads together to see how they could improve their lot. They’ve produced a report called Understanding Small Music Venues. You can read it here. If you haven’t got time and you don’t mind if I shamelessly spin it to fit my agenda, here’s my overview: Continue Reading →
It’s just has its first airing tonight on Huw Stephens’ R1 show, and if you missed it, the new song is called TURN AWAY. You can listen to it below, and if you pre-order the album now on iTunes you’ll receive TURN AWAY instantly. Go right ahead and order it here. Continue Reading →
It’s with great regret that I’ve had to cancel East India Youth’s show at the Frost Festival in Copenhagen this Sunday, due to Will’s ill-health. It’s not something I do lightly, and – having promoted for 25 years, co-owned a venue and booked a festival – I’m acutely aware of the shit this puts the good people at Frost in at such short notice. Those emails are never nice to send, but a whole lot worse to receive.
Copenhagen is a city both Will and I love and we were greatly looking forward to visiting, and playing what would have been the first show with his new live-set up, and songs, but his health isn’t something I can gamble with.
Many people worked hard to arrange this show; Head Booker Kristoffer, our Danish promoter Kasper, Festival Director Mikael, and particularly Marie, the Head of Production. A lot of money and time has been expended. And there are those who bought tickets for the festival, partly to see EIY.
I am truly sorry, and to all those mentioned above I offer my apology.
I wish things were different.
Manager, East India Youth
“Here is a video for the song CAROUSEL which features on my new album CULTURE OF VOLUME (Released 6th April/7th in the USA on XL Recordings). I premiered this song at my last London headline show and the response was electrifying. It’s a very important song to me personally and so I wanted to share it with you first, as an introduction to the new album. I hope you enjoy it.” – Will
Director: Andy Inglis
Producer: Cherise Payne
Director of Photography: Katie Swain
Editor: Kit Wells (Final Cut)
Colourist: Jason Wallis (ELC)
1st AC: Rupert Hornstein
2nd AC: Helen Durbin
Gaffer: Michael Chambers
Spark: Chris Mortley
Grip: Kirk Thornton
DIT/Playback: Howard Holloway
Make-up Ammy Drammeh
Runner: Daniel Taylor
Runner: Ed Watson
Special thanks to Sinead at Onsite and Jason at Pinewood MBS
Watch out Kristiansand, Århus and Seinajoki. Everyone’s favourite* artist manager and tour manager is coming to lecture… Continue Reading →
We asked the good Sebastien Dehesdin if he’d come down to Heaven late last November and document East India Youth’s homecoming show, during which he played TOTAL STRIFE FOREVER in its entirety for the last time (released on Stolen Recordings in January 2014). Continue Reading →