I realize that I might be going out on a limb with this, but the latest offering from Philadelphia’s very own hard rock quartet Willpowerless may just be the biggest pleasant surprise album of 2012. The band consisting of Ryan Panfil (vocals), Jordan Panfil (bass), Craig Steel (guitar) and Jacob Castro (drums) issued its’ newest release this fall. Taking The Clock Apart captures all the right elements including driving guitars, a heavy back beat, catchy as all hell vocals and lyrics that end up making it the type of standout rock album that once it enters your iPod or CD play rotation, is almost impossible to take out!
The band has sold nearly 5,000 albums to date going the DIY route, along with another 2,500 individual downloads, which includes the buzz created previously via their stellar 2011 release Found Their Way Home. With a new video for the song “Only One Person” now available for viewing on the band’s YouTube Channel and a media campaign on the horizon for the stand-out single “The Here and Now,” it seems to be the time for Willpowerless to go from a band that you “should” know to a band that you “do” know.
Interview with Willpowerless
Rick/RR: Greetings my rock brothers from another mother. How are things in the City of Brotherly love?
Ryan/WPL: Well it’s been tough trying to cheer for the Eagles, but other than that it’s been pretty awesome. It’s a blast to be from Philadelphia. We love it here.
Rick/RR: Willpowerless is a fascinating choice for a band name, I love it. It definitely catches your attention.
Jordan/WPL: Yeah, Willpowerless is definitely different. It’s love or hate for a lot of people, but in the end it’s who we write for, and they get it.
Rick/RR: Talk about the band and how you first came together a few years ago.
Ryan/WPL: Well we formed the band as young high school friends but have only been doing it professionally for the past few years. We actually had a brief split after our 2006 release. Jordan, Craig, and I all continued writing music and performing as Willpowerless with another drummer. During that period Jake was involved in several different projects and actually helped write and record the debut album for Us, From Outside that was released on Tragic Hero Records.
Long story short, our paths reconnected and we’re back and writing music together. We needed that time apart though. We’re all more mature and it’s never been easier to write music together. Our last album was titled Found Their Way Home which basically described our journey up to that point.
Rick/RR: You just released your latest offering entitled Taking The Clock Apart. A great new effort that takes the strong melody lines and hooks you showcased with your previous release; Found Their Way Home and took it up a notch.
Jacob/WPL: Well thanks for the positive feedback Rick! We had a really good time writing this album. It was a much different experience than everything we’ve done before. It was our second album recording with producer Evan Myers so everything really came together nicely.
Rick/RR: Did the music writing approach change much this time around with Taking The Clock Apart?
Craig/WPL: It actually did. We made a conscious effort to focus not just on the songs themselves but also how the music would translate for a live audience.
Rick/RR: The artwork for the album also catches my attention and imagination. The cover picture almost comes to life and the man with the clockwork internal organs appears in a way that he could be Mr. Will Powerless!
Ryan/WPL: (Laughs) This is somewhat off the topic, but we do get a lot of people who misinterpret the name as two words . . . Will Powerless. But to answer your question the album cover is supposed to reflect taking yourself apart to put yourself back together the way you want to be.
Rick/RR: Overall, one of the things I really dig about Willpowerless is some of the catch lines that really drive home your songs. A couple of examples that standout are: “I need to see no rust on my gears, and understand there is nothing to fear but living in fear” from the song “Nightmare In Wake” and the chorus from “The Here and Now”…“It’s time for the here and now, and to ask yourself what kind of mark will you leave when your time runs out.” Talk about where you draw your lyrical ideas from and what inspires them.
Jacob/WPL: Well, our lyrics come from our everyday experiences and feelings. We try to write for the willpowerless . . . those who need music as a medication, therapy, drug, weapon, etc.
Rick/RR: You just shot a video for the song “Only One Person” from the latest album, which features a great live performance from the band. Talk about the process of doing the video.
Craig/WPL: That was definitely an awesome experience. We actually shot it in a run down bleaching factory from the really early 1900′s. It was also an incredibly hot day and believe me that old factory had no ventilation. It didn’t make our drummer Jacob too happy!
Watch the “Only One Person” Video:
Rick/RR: With the building being abandoned, there appeared to be quite a bit of ruin left in there from the original tenant. Hopefully no one in the band cut themselves on anything in there as I am sure that would have resulted in an automatic tetanus shot! (Laughs)
Jordan/WPL: Oh yeah, the prior tenants did not clean up after themselves! You had to watch where you walked because of all the debris, old nails, and hidden bleaching wells. It was a dangerous spot to shoot a video. In fact, we ran into a local guy before shooting the video that said he used to work there years ago. He told us that even if there were a million dollars hidden in that building that he wouldn’t go searching for it! Just a fun fact! (laughs).
Rick/RR: You are also starting to work the single “The Here and Now” with a full media base campaign as well. This seems like the type of song that should make an impact and turn Willpowerless into a household name.
Ryan/WPL: Well, that’s what we’re hoping for. The “Here and Now” is a catchy song that has a lot of inspiration behind it. We’d like to see this media campaign really help us get to the next level.
“The Here and Now” lyrical video:
Rick/RR: Will the band be hitting the road yet this year or early 2013 to further support the new album?
Jordan/WPL: We’re actually already in the process of writing our next album but yeah, we’ll definitely be out supporting Taking The World Apart some more. You’ll be able to catch some dates with us and Parabelle in the near future. We are kicking off January 2013 with a hometown show (Philly) with our friends in Prospect Hill, Awake At Last, and Polar Ice Cap with some other dates after that. We’re in the process of firming up some big shows/bills for 2013, but nothing we can officially announce yet.
Rick/RR: If you could land you dream tour bill, what two or three other bands would you go out with?
Craig/WPL: Well that’s an easy answer…we’d love to hit the road with the Deftones! We’d also like to tour with bands anywhere from Breaking Benjamin to Soasin to 36 Crazy Fists. We’re influenced by many styles of music.
Rick/RR: Who provided your original inspiration to join a band and do rock music?
Jacob/WPL: Well, each member has a different story, but we were all just naturally magnetized to wanting to write and perform music as friends. We love it!
Rick/RR: How about your favorite song as a rock fan yourself?
Rick/RR: Where is the best place(s) for fans to get a hold of your smokin’ hot music?
Jordan/WPL: Actually, right now we’re offering our latest album for free on our Facebook page and on our website. Just go download your favorite tracks and please just remember to share our music with your friends! You can also download our music all over. We’re on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, Rhapsody and the like. Thanks!
Rick/RR: Thanks for the chat guys, keep it loud!
Ryan/WPL: Will do. Thanks so much for having us and stay tuned for more music!
~ Rick Lindner, Journalist – RockRevolt™Magazine
~ Photographs provided by band publicist (Live Picture was shot by Best Photography)