Track x Track: Sad King Billy - Sad King Billy
Boorloo/Perth-based singer, songwriter, multiinstrumentalist and singer takes us through his deep and diverse debut album
Image credit: Emelia Peet
After we premiered the live version of opening cut Bad Man last year, Perth/Boorloo's Sad King Billy has readied his self-titled debut album of blues and folk inflected alt-rock sounds.
The solo project of Julian Peet (who has toured and recorded for the likes of The Southern River Band and Old Blood over the years), Sad King Billy's debut album showcases Peet's skills as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter, with 10 diverse yet connected songs that range from stripped back fingerstyle guitar pieces to rousing, rollicking and rocking tracks.
Recorded at the fabled Rada Studios with accalimed producer & engineer Dan Carroll, lyrically the album sees Peet grapple with a range of topics as he "unflinchingly explores and reflects upon loss, being stuck, growth and pain".
To celebrate the release of Sad King Billy, Julian was kind enough to take us through it, track by track - have a listen and get to know:
I once described the meaning of this song to someone as best as I could whilst trying to make sense of it myself and they turned to me and simply said “it’s about being stuck”. I think I wanted this tune to be a little simpler and brighter in nature to contrast amongst the others but it did give me an avenue to explore with more vocal layering and a smattering of Sad King Billy weirdness.
A track more representative of a headspace than a particular story, it’s produced and designed in a way to move through different stages of emotions to end in chaos in a storm of sick dying guitars. Dan and I had a lot of fun making this one with plenty of room for exploration at times it feels like Don Henley and at times Thundercat.
Every Part of Us
“Every Part of Us”, is a song I wrote at the time for someone I loved deeply who I watched struggle within themselves and with their past. More so, how it felt to try and create a shelter within the storm for that person. In hindsight the song is a message to myself that I was witnessing the beginning of someone trying to break something from the inside that you’ve put all your best parts into.
Don’t Come Back
I wrote this song about three years ago, at a time when I was able to look back with a different perspective on a long term relationship breaking down. In a lot of ways the song is in itself another way to process loss, like a message to your previous self and situation to see the repeated patterns and obvious signs. I can now see it as a healthy way to express some of the things I felt a lot of pain about at the time like anger, frustration and feeling misunderstood by those you love.
It’s all about growing up, struggling, growing up some more, struggling some more, growing up while you’re with someone and struggling while you’re apart. All the while hoping you’ll grow enough to maybe stop struggling and hoping that it doesn’t hurt the ones you love most.
The first single I released going back a couple of years or so now, I wanted it to be mysterious, dark and chaotic. All about the greed and grind in our great state. A mixture of Appalachian acoustic guitar pickin’, crushed machine-like drums, brooding synths and chainsaw electric guitars…you get the picture.
Why Do I Care
A good question to ask yourself on the regular, a song all about frustration and letting that shit out in the form of a good ol fashioned rock song. Big riffs, a pushy chorus and a spooky bridge I sometimes listen to this and think it could be a totally different band, very interested to hear what people think of this one.
Waiting Jaws was written for someone who struggled between a world of expectation and unrealistic standards working in a corporate job and her creative side that was dying to express itself but has been left unfulfilled. Our society doesn’t encourage and adequately support what I believe is an inherent part of all of us, creativity. We often have to struggle on either side of the fence, with jobs that we find unfulfilling or creative pursuits we find fulfilling but cannot survive on solely.
The People Forgotten
Lyrically a mini anthem for the downtrodden, this track is me getting back to my traditions by creating more of a 70s full band sound with plenty of guitars and big live drums. It of course ends in a synth guitar solo, something like a mutated version of Steely Dan’s “Aja” outro minus sax.
Ode to a Dying Race
My modern take on the ever developing hellscape, my sci-fi version of “don’t be a dick” if you will. Went pretty all out on this one with a string arrangement, nature samples, voices from the ether and even Dan’s cat making an appearance purring into an expensive vintage microphone all for the sake of art. A climactic and cinematic finisher for the record with plenty of over the top over the top.