Five minutes with Busted's Matt Willis ahead of the Summer Music Saturday gig at racecourse
Chart-toppers Busted headline the Summer Music Saturday at York Racecourse on Saturday June 29 - here Matt Willis talks about getting the band back together.
You said something on stage last night at Wembley that really made me think about how Busted this time have been around longer than the first time. What do you think makes it different this time around and that has contributed to the longevity of the band?
I’d like to think we’re adults now. As a band we talk about everything and we let people know how we’re feeling. I feel like Busted never have to break up ever again. We’re grown ups, if we want to go and do something else then we’ll go and do something else.
"We’ll talk about it, make sure it’s okay with everyone, and when we can do it. Busted is a priority in all of our lives but it is just half of our life, it’s not the entirety like it was back in the day. Back in 2003/2004 it was all encompassing, we had seven days off in two years.
"We were part of this weird money-making machine that no one really wanted to jump off of until it was blowing up from the inside out and then it eventually did. Now it’s very different, we’ve all got other things that we like to do outside of work and we do those things but we all come back to Busted.
It’s important to have a work life balance like it is in every other industry, does it feel better now that you’ve got your own interests and you’re sharing it with your family now?
Having a work life balance is important for everybody. I love my job, I love my life way more, and my job is part of my life. I’m very lucky to be doing this; I would probably be doing this for free otherwise. I’m very lucky I get to do something I love everyday, and with every other aspect of my life I only do things that I enjoy which is a good thing.
With Half Way There, it reverts back sonically to more of an earlier Busted sound in comparison to Night Driver. Was it a conscious decision or did it occur naturally in the studio?
It took a while. If I’m honest this was a really hard record to make. It was the most obvious decision staring at us in the face but it took a long time to get there. I actually thought Busted wouldn’t make this album and that we’d end up disagreeing about the direction of the band, which is what happened when we first started to make this album since we all had very different ideas of what we wanted to do. We became quite problematic in the studio, the problems always stemmed from creativity.
"We have three writers in the band so you have three people who want to contribute and feel their contribution; it’s challenging making records. We spent our entire album budget just on making demos, so when we finished the demos we had no budget left to make the album and we made nothing that we felt we could hang our hat to as the next Busted album.
"So we rented a tiny room in London and we wrote one song that was called Nineties which is at the beginning of the album. Dougie from McFly and I wrote that riff a few years previously for another song that we wrote together. So we had this riff and we loved it so we just thought let’s write a Busted album like what we think Busted is. That’s what we did and it kind of worked.
Considering the creative process for the album, it must have felt so good when you hit number two in the charts with it
It was a real pay off. It would have been lovely to get number one but number two is still a massive achievement. Taking a record that we’ve made to everyone at Warner and them loving it as much as us, getting behind it and helping us really injected some power into that and get the position that we needed. Without that power you don’t really know where to go.
The success and longevity of the band proves that 15 years later you can come back with a number two album and play arenas across the UK, now on the 29th June you’re going to be headlining York Racecourse. You’ve played a few racecourses before both as Busted and McBusted, what keeps bringing you back?
It’s a really fun day out. We get there early and we start betting and have a really good day out. It’s a nice event, everyone’s in a good mood; they’ve had a good day, even if you haven’t won anything. I never win anything! I’ve never won anything from a racecourse in my life, but I’ve had such a great time. I love it; I can’t wait to go again.
"Some of us bring friends and family members with us and have a really great day out, everyone’s up for it, and a bit pissed which is really fun.
What can someone coming to the show expect from your set?
We want to play all the hits so everyone can have the best time possible, however much we are proud of our new stuff and our new record, we do know we have a back catalogue that people love and we love it. We’re going to play a big set full of bangers and hopefully every song people will know.
What’s your favourite song to play from Halfway There?
Is that the one that gets the best crowd reaction or just one that you enjoy playing?
I love the bassline and I love playing it, it’s really fun and it’s a proper pop punk song, I grew up on this music. I kind of always wanted to be in the band that Busted have become now with this album.
"When I was learning to play I listened to Green Day, and bands like that and always wanted to be in that kind of band. So this song sounds like a band I’ve imagined myself being in and that makes me happy, I love it.
With Busted you have such a diverse audience, you’ve got people that exclusively listen to pop punk and rock and then you’ve got pop fans as well. With the racecourse everyone just gets together and there’s families there just enjoying music together.
I think that’s what’s great. It’s quite a weird thing to play something like that. A few years ago we played a few uni-leaving parties and that’s a weird fucking gig.
"These younger fans at university might know one or two tracks from Busted, some people might love Busted and know everything but that’s maybe 10%, the other 90% kind of know one or two tracks. It’s not a Busted gig, and these racecourses are very similar in that respect. But it’s an older crowd so they’ll probably know a lot of the older stuff. It’s our job to make sure everyone has a great time and I take that very seriously, I want to make sure everyone wants to come and see Busted after we’ve finished. I really try very fucking hard to try and make that happen.
The tickets for Busted and racing are now on sale via www.yorkracecourse.co.uk or calling 01904 620911.