Interview: Southampton singer/songwriter Welly on single Shopping and more

Interview: Southampton singer/songwriter Welly on single Shopping and more

By Lewis Maclean.

Southampton-born singer/songwriter – Welly (aka Elliott), is the frontman in a group – Welly – named after the main character (like Scooby Doo), but the other players are Joe and Matt on guitars, Jacob on bass, and Hannah on percussion/synthesisers. Welly no longer lives in/around Southampton but has his roots here, with his employment history including a local Poundland and a stint at Paultons Park.

Where are you from?

I’m from Southampton. Well I say Southampton, more like Chandler’s Ford way, but it’s the easiest way to tell people where it is. 

How did you get into music?

I went to school with two of the lads in the band, Joe and Jacob, we played a lot of shows, in a sort of like, Britpop band – Arctic Monkeys covers etc. We played Heartbreakers, The Joiners and the Engine Rooms, and I used to play drums in that band. 

One day I got bored of drums and decided, ‘right, I’m going to play guitar now’. Then I moved to Brighton for university and they all slowly came to join me, and now, we’re back on form. So, yeah, just giving it a go.

How would you describe your musical influences?

Songs tend to comes from like disco-y stuff, I tend to write stuff like The Human League, and I was sort of raised on poppy-disco stuff, like Sophie Ellis-Bextor, New Radicals and Mika. 

But to be honest, when I sit down to write my biggest influence is old English TV shows, sort of CBBC shows. I don’t know why, but it made me write, watching telly, watching old comedies and stuff like that. It’s bizarre how that becomes music. I quite like narratives.

Where does the name Welly come from?

It’s just a nickname I’ve had.

How many years have you been making music?

I started out playing drums about 10 years ago, but I’ve only been writing songs for about four years. I picked up this guitar, we went to Portsmouth, to this squat, to pick up this £50 pink guitar. One like John Squire from the Stone Roses, and I just taught myself. It just felt really natural, I never sat down and thought I want to write a song, it just sort of fell out of the sky. Which is quite lucky.

Do you have any gigs coming up?

Well, I’m trying to get a tour together for this summer, so hashing out a lot of stuff behind the scenes – working on a master plan slowly. There’ll be shows soon. We’ve got a couple of showcases in like Bristol, Liverpool… stuff like that. I’m feeling very fidgety and I miss playing live a lot.

Shopping is your new single. What’s the idea behind it?

Well, it’s, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I feel a lot of people, quite readily say ‘oh, where I live around me is crap, our local town centre’s so minging’. The same people who buy all their stuff online and don’t do anything to help their local areas. I hate that sort of, apathy and willing neglect, always wanna shift the blame.  They want to whine and decline

It’s about that,  and it’s about the glamour of these places , even the place in the (Shopping) music video was really cool in the 70s, but now it’s just a vape shop, sort of kids with nothing to do and the irony of that. 

The problem is people complain about their local area but do nothing to help it. 

Like not putting back into live music?

 Oh yeah, that as well. Exactly, Shopping was an example of how everyone says ’Oh, there’s so many good live bands’, but nobody goes to see them. Take a chance on little bands, to get good ones.

You mentioned being influenced by British TV shows, what are some of your favourite TV shows?

I like, Black Books, I like Father Ted , there’s this sketch show called Ellie & Natasha , but it’s more like Horrible Histories, Horrid Henry and things like that , like Postman Pat – y’know, like American kids TV is all really wacky, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Superheroes. It’s all like, ‘You could be President one day’.

English TV is like Fireman Sam and Postman Pat. I love how more down to earth it is. It’s not y’know, like, you can be a superhero as well. I love how English TV is down to earth, so realistic. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Just a massive house, a hundred cars. No (scoffs), um, I dunno. A solid fan base, where we can put out an album every few years, once we’ve got that fanbase there. That’s what I want to do in ten years, but right now I want to be, like, y’know, got all this f****** ambition , (I want) to sum up a generation, plenty of time, but right now I want to mean something – mean something to someone like every band does, y’know? I want to write songs about people like me, people like us who grew up in certain areas, grew up in normal towns on a pop-music kind of budget.

Cos y’know, you get people who went to private school, and the first album is all about suburbia, middle England, and not everyone in the country is having the same experiences, so… write about that.

How would you describe your music as a food?

As food?  Ah, well like a plate of picky bits. You will have like grapes, slices of apple, ham, couple of crisps, with party rings. You know? Like a plate at a kid’s party, just random – you know what I mean? Cucumber slices, stuff like that.

What famous person would you want to meet and why?

Do you know, I would have really liked to have met Terry Hall from the Specials! Or Queen Victoria, just to have a word, see what she was up to.

If you could be alive at any time in history, what era would you pick?

Probably – I’m going to sound like such a nerd now, but – around about 1830 in Manchester, just as the steam train was invented. Just to see the change, like, the steam train literally changed the course of history. People didn’t have to care about time that much, they didn’t get anywhere quickly. I would like to see that, ‘cos people would’ve lost their s*** when the train came. I would like to see that sort of thing, I would like to be there.

Do you have a favourite artist/painter?

I really like J.M.W Turner, hes the bloke on the £20 Note. More ‘cos I like his story; he came from nothing and ended up painting for royalty. When he painted, he had this smoky, sort of, otherworldly look, of very important things.


The video for the new single Shopping is online:


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