Creative arts such as music have always been a part of our lives. Modern music is more dynamic and the trend of music changes from time to time. The promotion of music within the US has also been due to programs such as Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Billboard Charts as well. Among the notable bands of the 20th century that have made a big name in the industry include Willowz. With several awards and listings on the Billboard charts, the band continues to stay among the top performing ones.
Willowz are an American rock punk band which started off from California. It started off as a band by young boys on a very small scale in 2002. Richie James Follin is the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band while a female artist is also a part of the band named Jessica Reynoza. Both of the artists were only 18 years old when they actually started the band and were attending the same college as well. They used to be a part of college singers club and it was the time when the two felt that they need to create a band.
The genre in which the band has focused is rock n roll with folk to punk rock and changing from soul to power pop and garage rock. Diversity within the songs of the band helped the band in having success as they constantly changed the patterns to adapt according to the trends of music and by assessing the songs which were the most liked ones in the audience. As of the date, the young band has been on a world tour and performed on large scales as well. 4 major studio albums have been released by the band that got multiple listings in the Billboard Charts and others as well.
How Did the Band Get Its Fame?
Posh Boy Records was the record company which featured the first song by the band in 2002 which was not much popular, but a full-length album was later released in 2003 by Dionysus records. The band got recognition only when French movie maker MichelGondry listened to the album and was impressed by it. He placed the song “Something” sung by the band in his Oscar-winning movie called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Gondry liked the band and his performance in the songs so much that he offered the couple a paid trip to New York where he helped the two in releasing the music video for their song “I Wonder”.
Second album by the band, Talk in Circles, was released in 2005 which was a massive hit mainly due to the fact that the band combined a range of different types of music styles and genres. The dream punk was being combined with pop music and rock was there too. Paul Kostabi and Richie James Follin teamed up once again in production. The variety in music was only possible with different types of new instruments such as Rhodes, organ, horns, and woodwinds.
The band also incorporated audio samples of animals and church bells. A unique approach towards their songs were one of the reasons as to why they got so successful in less than 4 years’ time. The famous American magazine Rolling Stone named the album as one of the “best albums of 2005”. With rising fame, the band was becoming popular in different external programs as well. It was featured in a documentary about founder of Sympathy music for the Record Industry.
Growth for the band
Although, the band had started from just two members who were studying in the college, there were more members added to it later as well. The lead Richie James Follin and Jessica Reynoza were already there while Aric Bohn joined as a vocalist and guitarist, Loren for Ted and Humphrey for drums, Alex Nowicki for drums, and Daniel Bush as secondary guitarist.
The band released its third album in 2007 which was named “Chautauqua”. It was released on Dim Mak’s Records. It was recorded in the Thunderdome studios in New York. This was yet another changed album released by the band that was mainly considering heavy guitars and electric guitars being more riff oriented and having a medium tempo for the songs. Even though the previous songs were faster and based on rock music, this album featured normal ones with orchestra music.
Famous songs from the album included Evil Son and Jubilee which were featured by the Spin Magazine. The magazine said that these songs were having major orchestral arrangements along with an element of pregnant guitar solo sight which just depicted the time of 1960s acid trip. The magazine said that Jubilee was more related to the folk and country influences which helped in carefully honing stylistic prowess as well. Gondry, the French film maker, had his son Paul Gondry direct a music video for the band which featured collaboration with the different types of famous artists that included Valerie Pirson, Will Robertson, Owen Levelle, Shoko Komori, Ivan Abel, Christi Bertelsen, YotaBertrang and Paul Barman.
Perhaps the last most famous album by the band was released in 2009 with the name “Everyone”. This album was produced by the band in Dallas, Texas with the producer Stuart Sikes. The fourth album was completely different than the last two ones as this one focused on power pop sound and got back to the garage rock from where it started off.
Many critics including A Tiny Mix Tapes said that this was a complete transformation by the band considering its last albums and regarded the band as a well-oiled hit-producing machine. The title track from the album “Everyone” was featured on HBO in Spring 2011 as well. Upcoming season of shows helped in entitling the spot. The song “Repetition” was also famous and was in a Kickstart Commercial for Mountain Dew.
Future for the Band
The Willows has always been making news and stayed at the top for the fact that it always changed the ways in which it was taking the songs. The changing musical instruments, song genres, and the lyrics has had the band featured in multiple placed. Recently, Netflix featured the band in Steve Aoki’s documentary “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”.
The band’s fifth studio album entitled “Fifth” released in 2017 under the Thrill Me records. Even though this was a long gap of the band, it showed that the band is still together and active. However, yet again, three years since Fifth was released are about to end and no new song has been released by the band.
Willowz can be seen as a symbol for music. Music in the US evolved from bands like The Willowz from production of alternative music rather than mainstream one. Every big band once started small and behind their exceptional success stands countless efforts. The case of Willowz has also been the same. Much of the newer songs are expected in the future from the band along with their future tours as well.