A few months ago, Will Westerman gently broke through the human psyche when he quietly pushed out his indie pop hit “Confirmation.” Since then, the West Londoner has shared a handful of tunes while piecing together the skeleton of his debut album due out next year. Today, we’re premiering Westerman’s latest single “Easy Money,” and it puts a new spin on the concept of speaking sweet nothings to a lover.
“I started out writing a love song, then it sort of morphed into more of a conversation,” he previously stated in an email. “It’s a conversation I had many times over with someone I care about a lot. The subject matter is something I was thinking about too often. I wanted to retain a sense of romance in the music as counterpoint to where lyrics ended up, and I tried to make it so the voice appears to float within the music. The characters exist in a sort of transience.”
Westerman recently hopped on the phone from his dad’s house in Italy (where he is currently writing new songs for his album) to give us more perspective on the track. Stream the full single while you read our interview below.
When did your relationship with music begin to develop?
I was always—ever since I can remember, since I was a really young kid—very drawn toward music. I started singing when I was pretty young. When I was six. I started doing choirs when I was super duper young. My mom used to play guitar and I’d just sing along. Also just in the car on the school as well. My parents were both big music fans. They’re not musicians themselves but they’re both big lovers of music. Sort of from then, really. I never really thought about trying to make my own music until I started playing guitar, when I was 16.
I read that you used to be a teacher, so how did you end up swerving from an academic environment to pursuing music full-time?
I was doing music anyway. I wasn’t a full-time teacher in a school. I was just helping and tutoring kids who were struggling when I finished my degree. I did a philosophy degree and then I got back and had a few unsuccessful jobs like working in cafes and stuff. I wasn’t really able to hold anything down and I always liked studying philosophy and English as well, and thought maybe I could do that. I did that for about a year and I enjoyed it, but I found myself maybe not very good at being able to switch off the emotional investment of feeling responsible for the kids that you’re working with and trying to help. Fortunately, music started to move a bit and so I ended up just doing that now.
What changes have gone on in your life since you finished your last EP in 2017 to working on this album now?
I definitely feel like I’m in a very different place. When I put out that EP, it wasn’t that long ago, but I’ve been sitting on it for a bit of time because stuff happened in my life and I just left it for a while. Then it came out and I guess it didn’t necessarily have the sort of reach that the label were hoping for and maybe I was hoping for. So after that I was kind of in a place where I was just going to re-think what I was going to do and then I put out “Confirmation” which I was a bit unsure about because I just wanted to go away and let it produce and maybe put an album together. But then things seemed to pick up quite quickly so this year has gone super fast. I’ve been much busier and moving around a lot. My producer moved to Lisbon, so I’ve been going there a lot and doing stuff like this. This is not something I was doing a year ago (laughs).
So let’s talk about “Easy Money,” the new single that we’re premiering. I would love to hear more about where the inspiration for the song came from and what was going on in your mind when you were putting it together.
I often have a plan of “Oh, I’m gonna try and execute this with this piece of music,” and then it sort of goes off on a tangent. I don’t really write love songs, but I was thinking “Oh, this is kind of maybe gonna be a love song” and then it just morphed. A lot of my narratives tend to turn into conversations with myself or with someone else in my head. It basically became a song about a chat argument that I’ve been having with—to be honest, too many people—but principally with my girlfriend at the time.
It turned into this discussion about the kind of idea—my idea about it was insular thinking and thinking about things in boxes and sheltering in some way. It was also a reaction to my relationship [being] in a strange, transient state where I never really knew when I was gonna see the other person and a lot of that was with life and work and stuff. I think that it’s sort of about that. I’m not so good at saying exactly what the songs are about because they’re about lots of things, but kind of that.
The name itself, “Easy Money” reminds me of conversations with my friends about work and values. What does that phrase in itself mean to you? What is easy money to you?
Yeah, I guess it’s kind of that. I mean, that’s just the lyric that, again, just popped into my head, and it’s something that I’ve heard talking about in relation to this strange existence of this person who’s living. But I guess it’s a kind of centerpiece as an idea for something. It’s just thinking about, “What is that?” It’s an exploration of “What is that?” I don’t think it really exists. The whole way that the world is structured now, it’s geared towards facility and finance at the same time, and I was just trying to think.
This world, because of what I’m doing, from an outside space compared to a lot of people, it would look like it’s an easy thing to be doing, but it doesn’t really ever feel like that. It’s thinking about that transience and value, how you define yourself as well, and what constitutes difficulty and what doesn’t. I feel that everyone who’s trying to do something is working really hard and really struggling at points with it, and just strumming around that idea, I suppose.
How would you describe your music to someone?
I never really thought about it… I think it’s pop music. I feel like genre is becoming more and more of a redundant term. There’s so much cross-referencing between music now. I think the internet and stuff, everyone’s able to access so many different kinds of music instantly, and I feel like that’s definitely seeping into the way people put their work together. You don’t have these scenes like maybe you had leading up until the 2000s.
I think it’s like pop music because I feel like pop music is a structural term, like the way that you’re putting the music together. I definitely try and think about something near the center of what I’m doing, which is memorable and which make people think, and have that as a thing that you come back to in the song. So I think that fully is what pop music is, but then obviously that’s a pretty broad term. I guess it’s just that everyone has a different categorization as well for what that means.
I tend to base everything on moods now, but that’s just me personally.
What mood do you think my music has?
That’s so hard, because it depends… When I was going through a bit of a breakup, “Confirmation” made me sad, but when I listen to it now I feel a sense of peace and closure.
Oh, that’s nice. I try and have different shades in the music so that it can be happy and sad. I don’t like the idea of things being totally sad and also it’s really difficult to make something completely happy without it being saccharine.
I’d love to hear more about what else you’re working on like your album. Do you have an idea of when that might be coming out? Any details you’re willing to share?
Yeah, I’m hoping it will come out next year. I’m still at the stage, this is kind of why I’ve just taken myself away, because I find I get so easily distracted in London. I’ve come out here to just try and work out. I don’t want to get too self-important about it, but I feel like I want to have more of a clear idea of what I want to do with it because I feel, just in terms of the fact that it’s gonna be a longer piece of work, I need to have more of a plan. Otherwise, it could go just wrong. (Laughs) So, I’m still working that out, but I don’t know.
I mean, I have lots of bits of music. It’s just trying to find a way of tying it together, and coming up with the structure, I suppose. The loose structure, if anything to know about. Yeah, kind of like how I want it to feel and… So yeah. I’m still doing that at the moment, but it will definitely be next year. Maybe next summer. I guess it depends on what’s going on with labels and stuff. I don’t really know. You never really know.
What’s one of the most rewarding parts of being a musician to you?
Well, I think hearing how you were just talking about “Confirmation.” Hearing people that the music has connected and maybe it’s helped at points or whether it’s helped make someone feel something and feeling a connection and some sort of empathy, I guess. I think that’s the nicest bit about it. You feel like you put something into the world, which people could relate to and see some value in. That’s probably the most rewarding thing.
From a personal level, it’s nice to finish things and feel like you get them to a place where you’re happy enough with them, because often that’s not the case. I find there’s a lot of frustration in the process of actually putting stuff together, but there’s that personal one. I think my favorite thing is hearing people say that they’ve really felt something about something that you’ve made. It’s just putting something back into the world, I guess. It’s kind of an amazing idea. It’s quite addictive, I guess.
Are you planning on making a video for the song down the line as well?
Maybe… At the moment, I’m still putting the finishing touches on an EP, which will be coming out at the end of the year. So I’m wrapped up, which is why I’m going back to Lisbon, so I’m in that head space at the moment, but yeah it would be nice. Again, that’s kind of a new thing this year. I never really thought too much about videos. But yeah. I’ve had an idea, which I’ll keep to myself for now. So yeah, maybe.
For more of our premieres, watch YOTA’s music video for “Drop the Bomb” right here.