VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 34 | Bill Killionaire
VR chats with Scott Haynes of Guelph’s own Bill Killionaire
VR: Can you please tell me a story from your youth or childhood that in some way relates to the direction you’ve taken your life and your music?
During my grade 8 graduation ceremony, I was with great controversy awarded the class music award (a small sticker to be placed in a book as I recall). This was a peculiar accolade to receive for a few reasons. For one I had at the time no musical knowledge or training of any kind whatsoever. I had no inclination to learn about music, and received no influence or guidance beyond what any small town kid would possess. Music to me was not computers, and it certainly wasn’t athletics. A passing fascination maybe, but certainly not something I thought I was meant to do. But what separated me from my classmates, and must have made my potential apparent to the administrators, was my fearless, tuneless, and frankly godless volume. When we were made to bang together rolled up, spray painted magazines (lummy sticks) I recall making the loudest thwamps. When the lyric sheets to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “Bud the Spud”, and Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” were placed on our desks in Mr. Goddard’s grade 7 class, as soon as that cassette tape lurched to life I squawked and squeaked my out of tune pipes well over the rest of the class. I’ve since sort of learned to sing in tune, and actually lost most of that volume from smoking. But when I think of one of the only good thing the public education system did for me, it was to see potential buried under all that yelling. By the time I reached my late teens, I got hit by the love of music like a truck. I started playing late by music student standard, and there was always a feeling of being an outsider who was too far behind. Luckily I was sustained to become who I am now in part by knowing that even when I was a kid, someone knew that I should be playing music.
VR: What are your biggest sources of inspiration for your writing and your musical style? In what ways have these sources of inspiration impacted your musical life?
I guess the biggest sources of inspiration for me come from a few places. As a songwriter/lyricist I draw the most influence from the guys I consider to be the heavyweights of the 90s’ independent alt folk scene. Guys like Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), Bill Callahan (Smog), Kurt Wagner (Lambchop), and Vic Chesnutt are the ones I cop from the most. Once the songs reach the band though, they mix in more of an experimental punk influence. The Minutemen, Pavement, & Fugazi are touchstones of the sound.
Besides all that though I’m inspired greatly by some of the amazing musicians that take up residence in Guelph. Guys like Nate Coles, and Richard Laviolette made me want to move here in the first place. Now that I’ve been here for a few years and played shows with or just listened to all the great independent musicians here I draw constant inspiration and motivation from the scene. Further shout outs in this regard go to Esther Grey, Bleet, Dutch Toko, Baseball Furies, From East To Exit, Pauly & The Blowbots and many more. Guelph is a really inspiring place to be right now.
VR: Do you have any aspirations for your music, any specific goals you are working toward?
Immediate goals are to put out our self produced EP by the end of the year. It`s a homemade labour of love. We’ve got most of the recording done and will begin mixing soon. Also we’re going to debut some new t-shirts at our Sept 6th show at the Jimmy Jazz. By the spring time we hope to have raised enough money to produce a full length album and tour. Creating a viable and sustainable album cycle for this band is a major goal.
VR: What are your general philosophies of music and life?
The band and I are pretty devoted to D.I.Y. music and art. Members of Bill Killionaire work with different independent record labels (Out of Sound & Steady Hands), and we`re all dedicated to creating art on our own terms for self fulfillment, as well as the fulfillment of the community.