The Blisfully Atypical Folk Rock of Drew Worthley
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 08, 2015

  • Posted by: Joseph Farago

Understated (and authentic) quirkiness is just the start to Drew Worthley's music; it's chalk full of bizarre references and vocabulary, blissfully combined for an atypical folk-rock concoction. A UK native, Worthley expresses love and triumph in his own unconventional style. For many, his songwriting is a type that breaks down many boundaries. From modern rock/pop to spooky instrumentation, Worthley stirs in a myriad of approaches to contemporary composition. On his new single Bone China Savior, he utilizes all of his innovative ability. Creating an eeriness with clanging piano keys and a music video with a diverse set of content ranging from The Flintstones to an animatronic moose head, Worthley uses outlandish tactics as something to relate to. With so much mundanity in the world, its nice to know that this artist is bringing his individuality in every song he composes. We got to talk to Drew Worthley about his new single, the accompanied video, and his personal inspiration.



The song, with its tinkling piano and whispery, indistinct background noises, is definitely macabre. You manage to evoke a spookiness without ever sounding Halloweenish. What genre would you define "Bone China Saviour" as - or would you define it at all?

Genre is something I've always struggled to pinpoint with my music. For this track I tried to steer a song that was originally written as a melancholic acoustic number into something more ambiguously poppy. Phil Wilkinson (who produced the record with me and whose brilliance is responsible for so much of the ghostly arrangement) calls it 'Cerebral Pop." I'm also happy with 'Indie Pop' and the heritage that draws upon great 80s pop music when lyrics could be unabashedly bold and weird and even intellectual. Perhaps then, 'Cerebral Indie Pop'?

As to the video -- which is a mishmash of clips with sources varying from old political broadcasts to children's cartoons, some of them quite haunting -- how did you choose the clips that you used, and why did you choose to make your video this way?

For me this has always been an intensely visual song. There is a denseness of imagery in the lyrics which I really wanted to compliment in the video without simply 'matching' pictures with words. I am also hugely inspired by the film-making of Adam Curtis and his creative reworking of archive footage. So I had a few ideas from the off- for example - sidestepping from a lyric about Che Guevara to a clip of Richard Nixon looking decidedly pensive (taken from a 1960 debate with JFK). I also wanted to play with a reoccurring motif of the eye being the window to the soul. It was a challenge to ensure that I only used royalty-free/ Creative Commons footage but I found a bunch of great eclectic stuff including some old public health videos, a notorious advert for Winston Cigarettes featuring the Flintstones and some eerie Mother Goose puppetry from the 40s. The final cut was a mixture of careful planning, painstaking editing/time splicing, happy accident and organic inspiration.

The lyrical imagery from this song is so strange, different from anything I've ever heard before, especially the bit about the Holy Pope "ponder[ing] now the purgatory of my fridge". Where do you pull your writing from?

In the main my writing is cathartic. I met Denison Witmer at a festival we were both playing a while back and he said that for him songwriting was about creating selfishly and giving away your creation selflessly. That really stuck with me and encouraged me to continue writing songs that can often be both personal and conceptual but deeply meaningful to me. I suppose I have quite a healthy left/right brain split in that way. So I pull strongly on matters of the heart, alongside political, religious and philosophical writings that inspire me. My new record CRUCIBLE draws variously on childhood memory, Dostoevsky, faith, doubt, architecture, existentialism and even the economic writings of JM Keynes.

Lastly, I have to ask; what exactly is a "Bone China Saviour?" Where did the inspiration for that phrase come from?

The answer to this is somewhat prosaic. My old flatmate literally had a kitsch teacup with a classic old painting of Jesus emblazoned on the outside. I had insomnia for a while and was once up in the wee small hours of the morning, playing guitar and drinking whiskey from that cup. I started singing nonsense lyrics about a 'Bone China Saviour' and quickly forged the song's essence around that quirky porcelain messiah and the various places in which we conspire to find salvation; be that in alcohol, political revolution or the fading remembrance of love.
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