About the Willkommen Collective
The Willkommen Collective is the name given to the group of Brighton-centred musicians, artists and promoters surrounding the bands Shoreline, Sons of Noel and Adrian, The Leisure Society and The Miserable Rich.
It’s an ever expanding co-operative – a group of like minded souls gathered along the way when Shoreline’s Tom Cowan and Jacob Richardson from Sons of Noel and Adrian made their pilgrimage to Brighton’s pastoral, bohemian climes with the view to creating a self-sufficient musical alliance.
After Cowan grouped a dozen musicians together to perform his music in Shoreline, many revealed themselves to be songwriters and used the ready assembled pool of musicians to realise their ambitions, resulting in countless wildly different projects utilising many of the same band members.
Aside from the Collective’s welcoming nature, the name Willkommen pays homage to cellist and beard cultivator, Will Calderbank, who almost every group have in common. Alongside violinist Mike Siddell, famed for playing with Hope of the States and Lightspeed Champion as well as countless Willkommen bands, you might have heard Will by means of Nick Hemming’s group the The Leisure Society recently. Their debut album, The Sleeper, was released to unanimous media praise and saw their Christmas 08 single, The Last of the Melting Snow, nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Not bad for a guy who, at the time, was working in a fabrics factory.
The Leisure Society’s winsome chamber pop is only part of the Willkommen’s rich tapestry of aural candy floss. Daniel Green specializes in soulful, rustic bonhomie via the Laish Quartet. One of Willkommen’s most obvious proponents of the British folk tradition is the Sons of Noel and Adrian, the mothership of the Willkommen operation. Many have marveled at vocalist Jacob Richardson’s whistling prowess and city levelling baritone. Bar room string quintet The Miserable Rich’s rustic take on pop with a modernist sheen has lead to considerable success in Germany and UK tours with the likes of Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan.
A Brighton via Rome collaboration between Tom Cowan, the collective and Beatrice Sanjust Di Teulada, Shoreline deal in sensuous, soft-focus soundworlds. Beloved by The Wire magazine, Hamilton Yarns are Willkommen’s purveyors of (un)easy-listening esoterica while The Climbers are something of a Willkommen studio- super-group headed up by Tim West: the kind of flawless music cut by Curt Boettcher and Gary Usher out on the Strip in the late 60s re-imagined in the suburban environs of the South of England.
There has been a lot of fresh blood recently in the form of The Mariner’s Children, barn-burning folk-noir recently seen storming cities around the UK with Willkommen’s extended family Peggy Sue, as well as Sons of Noel and Adrian vocalist Catherine Cardin’s beautifully fragile solo project Redwood Red and the charming, lo-fi, perfect pop of Curly Hair. All these and many, many more.