Guilfest more than most is a festival where new and unsigned bands get a real chance to show what they can do.

The Surrey Advertiser Stage is the focal point for much of this across the three days, and it was here Room Thirteen were impressed by the Kent based band Where's Billy.

As this reviewsays, it was the name that initially grabbed the attention, but the promise in the festival programme of "pyrotechnics" certainly made this something worth further investigation.

Sadly, as will be explained later, the fireworks didn't make it to Guildford, but the quality of the music on show that day made Where's Billy one of the best bands we'd never heard of from Guilfest 2007.

Mike, Darren, Milky and Jamie now talk to us about Guilfest, the name that attracted our attention and all the other general stuff bands you've probably not heard of either should tell you.

R13: How did the band form and how long have you been together?
Milky: We were formed at school by myself, Darren and Mike nearly 10 years ago. We were all taking GCSE music together and had to perform on a music evening as a group playing Beatles and Oasis covers, it's gone from there really. We've got through several band names and bass players along the way.

R13: What do all the band members do away from the band?
Darren: At the moment we all have day jobs but are looking to cut them down to part time as soon as possible and eventually quit them all together when this baby gets big enough, unfortunately gotta pay our keep though.

R13: Who are the bands that have influenced you and how has this rubbed off on your own sound?
Jamie: Well Mike and I tend to like heavier material, Milky more of an indie style and Darren a mixture of both. As a whole though we all agree on Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Feeder and Kasabian as having a heavy bearing on sound. We won't take a section of someone's material, mess it up a bit and call it our own, I guess we just do our thing and it's there to be compared. If we're writing and our sound starts drifting too close to another bands then we wack the anchors on and go back to the drawing board.

R13: You're currently unsigned, have you actually recorded singles or sampler CDs and released them at any level?
Milky: No singles to date, our only release so far has been our EP 'The Loss of Patience' which was released in normal hard case and sampler CD form in January. We are returning to the studio in September to record an extended EP/mini album. To date it's still unnamed.
Mike: We are going over to the south of France at the end of September to record which should be a good laugh. We're driving the gear down in the van and taking the video camera to document the trip for our Myspace. We are hoping to have the EP released by Christmas and at the same time we are contemplating adding a bonus DVD of our performance at Guilfest to it.

R13: How regularly do you play live and how far a field from Kent have you performed?
Darren: We rehearse all the time and average out playing once a week at the moment. To date we haven't gone too far afield, only really as far as London, Brighton, Hastings and Guildford. Next year will be a different story though as we are lined up to go over to America.

R13: How did you get the Guilfest gig?
Mike: Basically rung and found out the application date, made sure our demo arrived on that date with a mailer that caught their eye followed by a phone call to confirm the demos arrival and introduce the band. The demo went straight to the stage manager, he was sold on our track 'Tourists' and that was that.

R13: How was that experience?
Jamie: Yeah it was great. It was really well organised and our sound tech was spot on as was their equipment - which always helps as you don't always get a decent P.A at half the venues.

R13: I read on your blog you did a spot of backstage mingling behind the Rock Sound Cave, how was that and who did you meet?
Mike: Yeah that was superb, we watched The New 1920, Hell iI For heroes and Reuben from the side of the stage, they kicked arse. We only briefly spoke to Reuben to congratulate them on their set, spoke to Justin, the drummer and the rhythm guitarist from Hell Is For Heroes for a short while and also Pull Tiger Tail and The New 1920, Milky gained us invites to an aftershow party in London somewhere but we declined because we had no way of getting there or back as we were all to pissed to drive, not very rock and roll I know but you can't take the chance. Doing all that kind of thing just fires you up more, makes you more hungry. I knew we were hungry for it but now we are starving!

R13: Who else did you see that weekend that you particularly liked?
Darren: Charlotte Hatherley was pretty good, My Vitriol were the bomb, Hell Is For Heroes, Reuben, The new 1920 and Supergrass were all great and I was pleasantly surprised by the Ordinary Boys.

R13: You were meant to have some kind of Pyrotechnics in the performance, what were we supposed to see and why did this not happen?
Milky: We had these mental fireworks that were gonna go off on cue throughout our set and at the end we were due to have a curtain of flares with a big explosion. Unfortunately this had to be aborted due to health and safety fears. Basically we were never told that we would be playing under cover so it was assumed naturally that we would be outside so as soon as our Pyro tech turned up and saw that, it was called off for fear of igniting the marquee.

R13: You did some kind of prize draw during the Guilfest set, was this something you'd always planned or was it a replacement for the pyrotechnics?
Mike: No it was always part of our plan as was the pyro. We had five thousand of those Guilfest flyers printed and each one was numbered by hand, painfully boring but I think you'll never get anywhere sitting on your arse, you've got to push the boat out to get extra fans, They don't generally come to you as they've never heard of you, you have to go to them.

R13: For me those kind of ideas are the things that make a band stand out, what inspired you to bring those sort of things into your sets and have you done other things to try and involve the crowd?
Darren: I would say our desire to play in front of the biggest crowd possible would be the biggest reason. We always try to think of new ways of attracting interest when we play at major events, just being there isn't enough people need to know who you are and free cash seems to work quite well. On a smaller scale when we play locally we get the crowd to count us in and really interact with them throughout, just the run of the mill stuff really.

R13: Bands often talk of nightmare moments when playing, have you had any of those yet?
Jamie: Thankfully nothing major. We turned up to play a gig in London once, they had a seventeen year old sound tech who would only let Darren, Milky and I play a couple of notes at sound check and he said that you don't need drums at a sound check so Mike was left watching in disbelief. The club manager spoke to us like shit then when the first band started playing the P.A cut out completely leaving the sound tech shrugging his shoulders. We went over to the manager and said that the club was a fucking joke and that we were leaving. Not really a nightmare for us, felt bad for the other band though.

R13: Now that Guilfest is done, what is next for Where's Billy?
Mike: Well there is a lot on the boil at the moment for early 2008. We are heading over to America to do a few dates and hopefully play at the SXSW in Texas, we are sorting the application for that at the moment. We are looking to get on a support tour, have a massive advertising spree and do some more recording. But at the moment we are doing a lot of local gigs to drum up the funds to do all of this. We have a hell of a lot of fresh ideas and plans so anything could happen.

R13: Has Guilfest brought you attention that you hadn't had before and is this likely to lead to anything?
Milky: Yeah. We've had a couple of fantastic reviews and earnt ourselves a load more followers, so we are chuffed because that's exactly what we wanted to get out of it.

R13: Finally, who is Billy and have you any idea where he is? ... or would that be telling?
Darren: Really we haven't got a clue who Billy actually is. The name came about from Milky's parrot whose name was Billy. For some reason when greeting our mates we started calling everyone Billy so instead of saying "alright Rich" we'd say "alright Billy". That name was given to our group of mates as a whole 'The Billys', and it kind of came from there I guess so maybe we can now call all our followers 'The Billys' as well.

Where's Billy are Darren (rhythm guitar/ vocals, Milky (lead guitar/vocals), Jamie (bass) and Mike (Drums).

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