The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Rope Ladders From Heaven: William Doyle's Favourite Records
Daniel Dylan Wray , March 17th, 2021 10:10

Ahead of his excellent latest album, Great Spans of Muddy Time, William Doyle - fka East India Youth, whose debut EP was first ever record released on The Quietus Phonographic Corporation - talks us through his Baker’s Dozen. William Doyle photo by Ryan MacPhail


Julianna Barwick – Will
That three or four year period after starting East India Youth is a real blur because of how much I crammed in. From meeting John at that gig until I did the last East India Youth show in April 2016, it was just non-stop. That's quite a lot for you when you're in your early twenties. I had become so self obsessed by that point. East India Youth had gotten out of my control and I wish that I'd taken some time out.

I moved to York in the summer of 2015 just a few months after the second East India Youth record came out but I had kind of lost it a bit. The reason I can't plug the gap with any era-defining records in that time between meeting John and this Juliana Barwick record is because everything was directed inwards. I wasn't engaging with what was going on in the outside world. I had a brilliant time during this period but it was difficult. I moved to York as a reactive move.

Living in London I'd become pretty anxious. I was quite unhealthy and drinking loads. My routine in London was just drinking, having fleeting relationships, and then fucking off on tour for a month and just not really connecting with people and losing a sense of myself. While the immediate benefit of getting out of London was great, things were starting to wane with East India Youth and my deal with XL was up, and that's when things hit me with a tidal wave. That's when I struggled with my anxiety more than at any point in my life. It was almost psychedelic in its manifestation. I was experiencing this sensation called derealisation, which is like an out of body experience where you don't feel connected with your surroundings. I describe it as like watching your life happening on a cinema screen with you sat in the back row. There's this distance between what you're experiencing and what's going on.

So similar to the way I talk about the Cass McCombs record, this record swooped down for me. It's kind of an ambient record and it felt very grounding and healing to me at that point. I can't thank the record enough for getting me through a time when it felt like my career was in bits and I had ostracized myself from people. My social circle was fucking minimal. The only other power I had was music. This is totally wishy washy bullshit but I love this record is called Will because it felt like it was almost addressed to me at that moment. Even though that is total bollocks I'm totally willing to buy into it. The fact that this record came out when it did and meant as much as it did feels totally priceless.