William Crighton's new album is titled 'Water And Dust',
There's a raw intensity to William Crighton's newest studio album 'Water And Dust', the rage simmering just below the surface fuelling a diverse soundscape that navigates brooding blues, rollicking folk-rock, impassioned post-punk and starkly beautiful indie rock, alt. country.
William worked with a collection of well-known Australian musicians (Midnight Oil's Rob Hirst, internationally renowned didgeridoo player William Barton and three-time ARIA Award winner Jeff Lang) who each added their own touch to his compositions.
"If a song has spirit then other musicians feed on that and the song takes on a life of its own each time you play it," Crighton says.
"If the musicians don't get it, then who is going to get it? I put a lot of faith in having the right people in the room and trusting their contributions."
'Water And Dust' is an album that will gift new layers with repeat listens, revealing more and more of William's soul, the artist's honest storytelling capturing the many facets of the Australian character that will resonate deeply.
"I like to think that all of these songs on 'Water And Dust' have hope in them," William says.
"That country where we recorded 'Keep Facing The Sunshine' has a gentle and powerful nature that seemed to keep the darkness at bay.
"The people who have influenced me most are often the people who have been through real trauma and still manage to be grateful for the wonder of life. Even when something terrible happens you can usually still find a way to be grateful for the lesson."
You've just released your third album; how do you feel about 'Water And Dust' and the work that you have recorded? Very happy with the way it turned out.
The opening and title track 'Water And Dust'; it not only sets the mood for an outstanding album but it's like you've captured the spirit of the Australian landscape – was it a song that as it came together you knew it'd be the perfect to start the album? Thank you. Not really though. It just worked out that way.
Second track 'Your Country' is a fiery blend of scorching rock and biting lyrics as the song questions certain agriculture practices and industrial pollution; was it important to include a protest song of sorts in this collection of songs? I'm passionate about the environment. We are part of the natural world – not separate from it.
I've always been passionate about protecting the bush from certain types of humans. Having kids in my early 20s brought the future into sharp focus and frankly it's not looking good; optimism is essential though so trying to remain that way.
This song's focus is bringing people together, taking responsibility for our future and not leaving it in the hands of greed.
The collaborative nature of working with Rob Hirst, William Barton and Jeff Lang on this project; how much input did they have in shaping and nurturing these songs? They are all wonderful musicians and people, and brought a tremendous amount to the album.
Everyone who played on it bared their soul and their spirit. Watching my good mate drummer/ producer Matt Sherrod work with Jeff Lang was one of the many highlights; they really brought the best out of each other. For the record Rob Hirst is like a jet taking off!
Throughout the album, William Barton's didge playing is a sonic delight; how integral did it become to the sonic make-up of the album? It's a huge part of the journey of this album.
You recorded the album at Jim Moginie's Sydney studio. What kind of tools and toys did you have at your disposal? Half of the album was recorded at Christian Pyle's studio in Goonengerry and half at Jim's place. Matt Sherrod, Christian Pyle, Damien Charles and Blaine Cuneen were responsible for pulling the sounds and they did a great job.
I enjoyed the various vintage amplifiers, keys, synths and various stringed things that were on offer too. Both of the spaces are very comfortable places to work.
'Killara' is raw, yet gorgeous storytelling, the story of a man arrested in Glasgow who finds himself in Sydney Cove then inspired by an Aboriginal woman; you obviously have a deep love for the history of this country and telling honest narratives; what has fuelled, fed that passion? The more I learn about this country and it's history the more I'm inspired by the stories it has to tell.
The flamenco guitar intro to 'Keep Facing The Sunshine' is a delightful change of pace; what inspired that artistic direction? It's actually an Irish Bozouki played by Jeff Lang. Jules and I had finished the song that morning, we recorded a couple of takes before Jeff got there and then he added his magic. The song leant itself to that treatment I guess and it's a nice change.
The album also features your rendition of the Henry Lawson poem 'After All (Good World)'; was that a spontaneous choice or something with a deeper meaning personally? That poem has hung around in my head since the first time reading it.
It's romantic and direct, there's a great love of country and an acceptance of things that I find beautiful. Some hard truths too. . . 'The Man who is bitter against the world has only himself to blame.'
You mention in the album bio that "we did our best to create a decent musical journey that you can listen to deeply or just crank at your next BBQ"; was that something that naturally occurred – writing, recording music that can resonate with the soul as equally as being the soundtrack for a social gathering? We make the recording process a social gathering of sorts and I think that comes across in the music.
The melody, rhythm of a track and the importance of lyrics conveying the emotions the music is garnering – does one lead the other or does it depend on each song? I think they all feed each other.
You have a couple of festival shows upcoming including Dashville Skyline as well as two support gigs with Midnight Oil alongside other shows; it's been a mess the past two years but are you hopeful of what the year ahead holds? Very hopeful! Fingers crossed. We're in a new reality now. Who really knows?
You've also got UK and German tour dates in April; you must be pumped at the prospect of international travel again? We have pushed it back to May now, but can't wait to get over there and play again.
Thanks for your time; anything else you'd like to add? Thank you for taking an interest in the album.
William Crighton 2022 Tour Dates
Fri 18 Feb - Riverboats Music Festival (Echuca-Moama) Wed 23 Feb - Newcastle Entertainment Centre* supporting Midnight Oil Fri 25 Feb - The Grace Emily (Adelaide) Sun 27 Feb - Dashville Skyline (Hunter Valley) Wed 2 Mar - WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong)* supporting Midnight Oil Fri 18 Mar - Marrickville Bowling Club (Sydney) Sat 19 Mar - The Street (Canberra) Thu 24 Mar - Great Southern Nights @ The Brass Monkey (Sydney) Fri 25 Mar - Great Southern Nights @ The Victoria (Bathurst)