Interview: Marlon Williams talks moving on with Make Way For Love

Should you have been lucky enough to see Marlon Williams back in Australia near the end of 2017, you’ll have been some of the first to hear his new material brought to the live stage. It’s been a long awaited debut of new music, no doubt for the artist and fans alike and with only a short amount of time remaining before Williams’ sophomore album, Make Way For Love, is released, it’s safe to say that anticipation for this one is reaching some kind of fever pitch.

For the Lyttleton, NZ son who called Melbourne home as his 2015 self-titled debut album began to work its way into the hearts of fans around the country, his return to old home turf in November was one that was relished.

“It’s nice to know that I can go away and do a bunch of touring, spend some time overseas, then come back and people still want to hear from me.” he says.

Of course, the last year and a half has seen Williams touring his debut album relentlessly overseas. With America and the UK and European territories opening up and embracing that voice and stage presence, it’s no surprise that at this point, Williams is ready to get started on this next chapter of his story as a performer.

“I really am enjoying the feeling of presenting a new bunch of songs, especially as a considered, unified album of work.” he says. “After having toured for nearly three years with the same songs, more for some of them, it’s really exciting.”

The new album (out February 16th) has already garnered considerable conversation surrounding its sound and content matter. Much has been made of the album’s departures from Williams’ country-folk leanings evident on Marlon Williams in favour of more guitar, reverb and moments of stripped back balladry, though when listening to both albums consecutively, the essence of Williams’ writing remains as potent and engaging as ever.

Make Way For Love isn’t a shedding of a musical skin, as much as it is a new page being turned for Williams.

“The second album often doesn’t get a chance to breathe at all, you know?” he laughs. “I’m lucky that it’s even coming out! I wonder how it feels from different points of interest; I’m sure it means many different things to different people.”

With 42 international tour dates on the close horizon, there’s going to be plenty of room for this new collection of material to cut some different shapes on the live front, too.

“It’s definitely the most extensive tour I’ve done,” he admits. “We’re playing to something like 50,000 people over the course of the tour. A lot of faces. I keep a bit of tunnel vision going otherwise I get overwhelmed by it.”

Make Way For Love has already given fans a few choice singles in “What’s Chasing You” and “Come To Me”, though releasing “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” first with the album’s initial release details was perhaps had the strongest impact of the three. Introducing this new record as one rooted in personal catharsis, Make Way For Love, as a break up album, isn’t one to be moped over with a pint of ice cream in hand.

For Williams, talking about the album in context of his relationship with Aldous Harding isn’t as hard as one may have assumed.

“I have enjoyed a lot of the interviews around it, because it makes me account for a lot of things, just for myself.” he says. “If the questions are good, it forces you to reconsider things. I’m seeing the weight of it and how I can learn from that. I don’t mind it at all. The performative side is just extremely easy in that sense and exciting, without any of the weirdness.”

“I’m not really feeling that sort of weight anymore. I got rid of it in the writing process. Now I just enjoy the performative side of it and I’m enjoying thinking about the best way to entertain. It’s nice. I feel free of the subject matter, but also excited about presenting it.”

Make Way For Love is out via Caroline Australia on February 16th.

MARLON WILLIAMS TOUR DATES

May 12th | Forum Theatre, MELBOURNE | Tickets
May 14th | The Gov, ADELAIDE | Tickets
May 15th | The Rosemount Hotel, PERTH | Tickets
May 16th | The Triffid, BRISBANE | Tickets
May 17th | Metro Theatre, SYDNEY | Tickets