William Seymour photos by Shana Leigh Photography
William Seymour — Interview
William Seymour has just released his third solo album, Ride Along. In addition to his solo career, you may have seen his as a band member playing with Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast for the past 5 years. His bandmate, Aaron Austin, produced the Ride Along album.
Ride Along is a smooth blend of country and rock, and it makes you want to turn up and jam on down the highway to the coast. With it’s seamless blend of instrumental and soft, gently raspy vocals you get the John Mayer vibe, with a taste of Seymour’s early influence by The Eagles and Tom Petty. It’s a fun album for the listener with a feel-good sound throughout. It’ll have you swaying to the rhythm and waiting for that hook to drop.
I spoke with William and Aaron from the studio in Asheville, NC, to discuss how the album came to life.
Americana Highways: What’s your inspiration behind the album and how did you guys come up with the title Ride Along?
Aaron: At the beginning of the pandemic I invested in some recording equipment just to practice and get better at it. I asked Will if he wanted to write a song together and we started with a track that’s on the record, it’s called “Ride Along.” It’s the first song we wrote for the album. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to do the record. It would start with William just playing and singing a song and I would kind of build the track with fake instruments in the computer world and then we would take it from there. We had our drummer, from Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast, record live drums at Echo Mountain in Asheville. And then William and I did everything else except bass on two tracks which was our buddy Ted Marks and keys by Alex Taub. And Caitlin sang some back up.
AH: I love the album. What was the songwriting process? What was your inspiration behind Ride Along? How did it come to life?
William: That kind of happened organically. So, the first track kind of set the vibe for it a little bit.
Aaron: I mean yeah, I think without even realizing it. The first track that we wrote became the title track “Ride Along.” It kind of set the tone.
William: I just drive all the time. So we had the highway in mind.
Aaron: We pretty much wrote every song together. “Here Me Out” you had before, but we sat in a room and pretty much every song would come from the acoustic guitar and just William singing. We’d crash like, what is this song about? Once we got what it was about we found the hook of the song. Once we had the hook William would go in the other room and shut me in here and he’d write the verses. That was it. We’d just focus on the decorations and production side of it. But it always started with the melody and the lead first.
AH: You have this smoothe, chill vibe to the album. William, you’ve got this raspy voice. The album makes you want to cook something up in the kitchen, put on the vinyl and dance around. That’s how it makes me feel. It’s got a happy vibe to it. I know it’s probably exciting to hear feedback from fans. Do you have an idea of how you want it to be received?
William: I think the goal for everything I put out is for it to be different and better than the last thing that I put out. I think this one is definitely different and better. That’s kind of all I’m going for is for people to listen to it and enjoy it. If I can get that then it makes me pretty happy.
AH: What do you think is the biggest difference between this album and your previous albums?
William: This one’s got a little more country to it. The last one’s were more singer/songwriter, Americana. There’s still a lot of that in this album. This one is a little more country and a little more rock and roll. It still has the chill songs and stuff too but I think it’s exploring that a little more that the other albums didn’t touch on very much.
Aaron: It’s got more of an edge to it. We keep using the word ‘drive’ but all of the grooves have a drive to it. It’s more of a bigger sound right out of the gate.
William: In terms of recording, production-wise I think it’s stronger too.
AH: Yeah, you’re waiting for that hook. You’ve got this merge of instrumental with your voice where I’m just waiting for this release. I’m grooving to it and I’m waiting for the climax in the song and then it’s just like boom there it is. It’s there and I feel it. What is your favorite song on the album?
William: My favorite track is “Left For You.” There’s a lot of different elements to it. It builds really nicely. It breaks down and builds again. I mean I like all the tracks but if I had to pick one I think that’d be my current favorite.
Aaron: Yeah, “Left For You” is the best song. Right behind that I’d say “Missing On You.” And “Hear Me Out.” The first few tracks are awesome. The rest are awesome but those are super awesome!
AH: As an artist how do you get over ‘analysis paralysis.’ As artists we are always looking at our work and saying that ‘it could be better.’ Or, ‘I don’t know if I want to put that out there because it’s super vulnerable.’ I already have so much respect for musicians in general because it’s such a vulnerable space. How do you get over that part?
William: As a songwriter you can’t really escape people asking you about it. I think working with another person helps out a lot.
Aaron: If you both like it then you’re fine. If you both don’t like it, it’s maybe not the greatest so you just move on, then you don’t get analysis paralysis too much.
AH: How long did it take for you to create this album?
Aaron: Recording took a long time just because we live far apart but writing never took a long time. I would say a song was usually done in a day. Recording took much longer. Getting a song down is pretty quick.
William: Sometimes hours. I live so far from away from here. We would set up chunks of days where I would come down and just stay in here for three or four days just keep writing and recording the whole time.
Aaron: We probably did it in two weeks but over the span of two years. A year and a half.
AH: How long have you two known each other and played music together?
William: 4 years or so
Aaron: He’s been in Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast for five years and we met through that.
AH: I feel a John Mayer vibe to your style.
Aaron: It’s either John Mayer, Jack Johnson or Dave Matthews.
AH: What else do you want people to know about the album?
William: I just want people to listen to it. (laughs)
Aaron: There’s some records where there’s a vibe or an action attached to it. Like you’re saying you want to go for a drive, or make dinner. This record’s definitely like that. This record for me is definitely driving down the coast, going to the beach, coastal Carolina, top down, dive bars. I think it’s an experience and I just want to hear people’s take on what they feel when they hear it.
AH: Yeah like Adele’s last album where she had been through her divorce and you can feel it all through the album so there’s a theme for the album. For Ride Along, it feels good and I want to turn it on to feel good.
Aaron: It’s more about the listener I would say. It’s a cool angle. Other albums may be from William’s perspective but this one he is writing very much for the listener and gives you all the payoff you want to get. It gives you that moment that you are looking for and it’s just really enjoyable.
AH: What’s next? You have the album release on April 4th. What’s going on from there?
William: We are playing three shows with Aaron, Ted, Michael Davis playing drums. Then we have Tommy Knowles on keys and Caitlin. We are playing three shows: one in Roanoke, one in Lexington and one in Greenville, NC. They’re album release shows. Then we are going on tour with Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast a lot this summer.
AH: How do you balance between what you are doing with Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast and then doing your solo album?
William: I normally don’t play with a band. I normally play solo. We are just doing this for the album release shows. There’s not a ton of interference. When we are not touring I play by myself.
AH: Well you’ve got a great album review from me. When I like someone’s work I love to support them and share with friends and family.
William: I really appreciate that.
AH: Let’s leave it with a quick-fire round. Alright, green room must haves.
William: Water and whiskey.
AH: Favorite artist.
William: I’d have to name like five.
AH: One festival that you haven’t played you are dying to play.
Aaron: It was LOCKN’.
William: Yeah that would be it but I think that’s over.
Aaron: LOCKN’, Peach and Bonnaroo.
AH: Favorite guitar
William: Martin D28. They’re good guitars and if you find an old one they just sound really good. Similar to my guitar, it’s just like the holy grail of acoustic guitars. For some people.
Aaron: If I had to pick one I’d pick the Telecaster.
AH: Something you would change about the music industry if you could.
Aaron: I’d make me really famous and successful. I’d get $20 every stream on Spotify. There’s nothing I would change about music in general. But the whole economics are all screwed. It’s just how it is. Everyone knows that.
William: It’s always kind of been like that so it’s nothing new.
AH: Alright, last one, do you have a pearl of wisdom? Like, you can’t soar with eagles if you run with turkeys.
William: That’s pretty good. I’d have to say that then.
Aaron: I haven’t reached my wisdom level yet.
AH: You haven’t reached your wise old age yet?
Aaron: I haven’t learned the lessons yet.
AH: Alright when I come back to you in 10 years there will be a little more wisdom there.
Aaron: One idea for me is that it’s really hard to pursue being a musician. But there’s always the idea that you could fail too at something you fucking hate. We could quit music and go pursue something and then fail at that. I guess the pearl would be you could fail at something you hate.
William: You could fail at anything.
Aaron: So you might as well fail at something you love.
AH. Good luck kids. (laughing) Yeah, I feel that. It’s hard to take that leap of faith and actually pursue something you’re really passionate about because there’s a lot of struggle along the way but there’s struggle along any path you take. So you might as well take the path of something you really love. Well that’s a great wrap up. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, I appreciate it.
William: For sure, thanks for doing this, we really appreciate it. Find William Seymour tour dates and music here: https://williamseymour.bandcamp.com
You can catch William, Aaron and the band at one of the following album release shows this week:
April 7th – Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, VA
April 9th – High Rock Outfitters in Lexington, NC
April 10th – State Theatre in Greenville, NC
You can find William Seymour on Instagram: @william_seymour and Aaron Austin @aaronaustin88.
As well as their band, Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast: @caitlinkriskoandthebroadcast.
RIDE ALONG, 2022
Produced and Mixed by Aaron Austin
Recorded at Olivette Studios and Echo Mountain
Mastered by Mat Leffler-Schumann
Music by William Seymour and Aaron Austin
Lyrics by William Seymour
“Look at Miss Ohio” Written by Gillian Welch 2003
With songs like “Hear Me Out”:
I was sinking in the water
You were on the sand
I reach for the horizon
And then you take my hand
I’m never gonna let it go
I live for nights like these
The moon was getting brighter
And I was on my knees
And I said hear me out
Don’t be mistaken
It’s in the way you call my name
Cause it’s amazin’
And “Left For You”:
I always thought that I knew
What you meant to me
But then we fight after you’ve
Had a couple drinks
And all that I wanted from you
Was a love that was taken
A love that was broken in two
I didn’t want to leave
Cause you do the things that things
Didn’t want to leave
Cause you did the things that make me cry
But even after all that was through
It was never enough for you
I was never enough for you