Fresh off the heels of his infectious last single Countrified — which shares the album title — Will Day returns with the equally ‘countrified’ ballad Simple Then. The track features fellow Australian country singer, Brooke Schubert. The single is accompanied by a beautiful music video directed by Jay Seeney of Blacklist Productions. Featuring some of the natural wonders of the Gold Coast and the iconic, blue HOTA bridge, the video shows Day and Schubert singing intermittently between shots of a younger couple. Beginning off happy, you see the relationship slowly fall apart, synonymous with the song’s core storyline.
“When Jared (my producer) and I wrote Simple Then we knew straight away that we wanted it to be a male/female duet, it was just about finding the right fit. In my opinion, Brooke has one of the best voices in the country, so we were stoked when she agreed to come on board. It was wonderful working with such a professional. It’s special track and Jared, Brooke and I are really happy with how it’s turned out.”
A simple rock beat supports the two vocalists. “Take us back to when time moved slowly” they sing in perfect harmony moving into the chorus. Layered guitars and traditional country/rock instrumentation supports their voices. keeping the song lively without compromising the emotional elements of the story.
“Boy meets a girl, girl falls in love, boy breaks her heart”
As a sucker for a sad banger, I couldn’t wait to pick Will’s brain on what went into writing such a beautiful track. Luckily, thanks to the ever-changing lockdown, he found a window of time to chat to us!
You’ve just released your new single Simple Then alongside fellow country star Brooke Schubert. Can you take us through what this song is about?
I wrote Simple Then with my producer and friend Jared Adlam. It’s a song of love and heartbreak. It tells the story of a couple who fell in love at a young age but as time goes by, they drift apart. Early in their relationship, there were no complications, life was simple, fun and carefree. The boy breaks the girl’s heart, and they soon realise that there is no fairytale ending.
Both you and Brooke are established in your own right in the country scene. How did this collaboration come about? Who approached who?
Jared and I always envisaged this track to be a duet, it was just about finding the right person. Brooke has a wonderful, soulful and rich voice – in my opinion, one of the best in the country. We thought what the hell, let’s ask her! She basically came back to us straight away with a big ‘yes’. We knew it was going to work as she mentioned how much she loved the song and the story behind it. If your duo partner believes in the song and the project, it’s obviously a great start. When she came down to the Gold Coast to track the vocals, Jared, Brooke and I were so happy with how our voices blended. We’re all very proud of the track and it was such a pleasure to have Brooke involved.
I really love the imagery, storytelling and scenery in the music video. Can you take us through how the visuals tie in with the concepts of the song?
Simple Then is a song of love and a song of heartbreak, so we needed to try and really match both of those themes in the clip. Director Jay Seeney (who did a great job) suggested we go with lots of dreamy, slow-motion footage of the couple to paint that picture of young love. We needed to match those pictures with the right locations though, in order to tell the story effectively. We decided to use some beautiful Gold Coast locations such as Main Beach at sunrise, the HOTA footbridge and Curtis Falls on Tamborine Mountain. Combining those with the performance shots of Brooke and I on Tamborine at sunset, we managed to achieve what he hoped for with the clip and are all proud of the result.
Your music has a really developed country sound! What are the top 3 albums that helped shape your original sound?
‘Golden Road’ – Keith Urban
‘Country Proud’ – McAlister Kemp
‘Sweet Baby James’ – James Taylor
Queensland has been hit with harsher lockdown rules than ever before. As someone who’s played alongside some really established names in the industry such as Shannon Noll, Icehouse, Diesel, The Whitlams, Casey Barnes, Hoodoo Gurus and more, how have these laws affected you as an artist?
It’s been tough, there is no doubt about it. I have just cancelled all August dates of the ‘Countrified’ national tour. This was the kick off month for the tour so it’s pretty heartbreaking to cancel shows that you’ve been working on getting in place for more than 6 months. I understand the need for why this happens, and health is priority – it doesn’t make it any easier though. There are hundreds of thousands of arts workers nationwide who have continuously been affected by these lockdown laws, so here’s hoping our industry can recover as best as possible once there is some light at the end of tunnel.
What tips do you have for any musician who is struggling with the impact on the music industry?
It’s a tough question as I think so many of us have just had enough and not sure where to head from here. We really need to be conscious and aware of people’s mental health in these tough times, it’s very difficult to stay positive when your livelihood/income/passion is just taken away from you. It’s not just the arts, there are multiple industries that are facing the same challenges. I think the key is opening up and talking to a mate and continue to connect with people where you can. One thing I’ve found uplifting is the ability to still be able to release music. Although I can’t tour the album at the moment, I can still continue to be creative. For people in the arts, I think keeping in touch with our creativity and passion is what will get us through.
Simple Then is the third release from your new album ‘Countrified’. Can you take us through what to expect from the record? Are there any key themes you will be exploring or messages you wanted to send through the track list?
There isn’t an overall specific ‘message’ portrayed throughout the album other than that – “Hey this is me”. Being my debut album, it’s my first real shot I’ve had at releasing a body of work and allowing the world to see what I’m all about as an artist and as a writer. There’s some very personal songs on there as well as some straight up country rockers. I wanted to capture a blend of both – the singer/songwriter vs the high energy country rock artist. I think it represents who I am and where I’m at in my career perfectly. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve created and think every track deserves it’s place on the record. The album feels like it’s been a long time coming for me but it’s definitely been worth the wait! Special mention to my amazing producer, Jared Adlam. This was a real team effort and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.
With the album, you’re embarking on a huge national tour! What can fans expect to see there?
There will be a real blend of intimate shows where I’ll break the songs down acoustically in a solo/duo format and some shows where it’ll be in a full country rock format. It really depends on where I can logistically manage to have a full band on the road with me or not. I’ve done thousands of shows as a solo artist though, so either way, people can expect an engaging show.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to any person wanting to get into the music industry?
Hard work and persistence is the only way. Set a goal that you want to make a career for yourself and just do it. Once you reach one goal – set another one and repeat the process. You just have to keep knocking on doors no matter how many highs or lows you have along the way. It’s a tough game but I’ve always known that since I made the decision as a 16-year-old to be a musician/artist. You just have to keep at it, it’s the only way.
And finally, what is the single best memory you’ve had over the span of your career?
There’s been many but this question prompted me to recall a moment I had earlier this year. I was lucky enough to be invited by CMC Rocks to play at their event called ‘Round-Up’ as part of Beef Week in Rockhampton. The band and I played to a few thousand people and country rocked their socks off – it was so much fun. What makes it so special in my mind is the fact we could even have the opportunity/capacity to play to that many people whilst still in the grip hold of COVID. I am writing this while I am lockdown which makes the memory extra special. I guess for that gig the timing was perfect!
Simple Then is available now on all platforms.
Friday 24th September
St Georges Hotel | St George QLD
Friday October 1st – Sunday October 3rd
Savannah in the Road | Mareeba, Cairns Hinterland QLD
Saturday 9th October
Wandoan Camel Races | Wandoan QLD
Thursday 14th October
Lyrics Underground | Perth WA
Saturday 16th October
Ravenswood Hotel | Ravenswood WA
Sunday 17th October
Caves Hotel | Yallingup WA
Thursday 28th October
Lizottes | Newcastle NSW
Friday 29th October
Braidwood Services Club | Braidwood NSW
Saturday 30th October
Tourist Hotel | Queanbeyan NSW
Sunday 31st October
Lazybones | Marrickville NSW
Thursday 11th November (Supporting Hayley Jensen)
Vinnie’s Dive Bar | Gold Coast
Friday 19th November
Port Sorell SLSC | Port Sorell TAS
Saturday 20th November
Circular Head RSL | Circular Head TAS
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With thanks to Little Sparrow PR + Checked Label Services