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Billy Davis & The Good Lords are a musical juggernaut

“No matter what size the collective is at the time or which singers are on the lineup, the story’s still the same. It’s just different storytellers.”

Image source: 
Rui Kinoshita

There’s no other way to describe Billy Davis and The Good Lords than as a musical juggernaut. With a fluctuating lineup that can number anywhere up to 11 members and a seriously smooth blend of funky, jazzy, hip hop-infused neo-soul, it’s hard not to pay attention.

And holding it all together is the multi-talented band leader, self-taught keyboardist and composer William Rimington. “I was writing so many songs and even though I didn’t sing, I got inspired that if I put together a band or a project and spoke to people about my vision, and if we could build a whole collective, I’d be able to do something, and here we are today,” Rimington says.

With the Good Lords he was able to use his alter-ego for a much safer purpose. “Billy Davis is my stage name. When I was young I had a single mum and she was very paranoid, she was always convinced that I was going to get kidnapped. She said, ‘If you ever get kidnapped don’t give them your real name, make up a name,’ so when I was young I thought of the name Billy Davis thinking this was so ridiculous,” he says.

Putting together the Good Lords collective wasn’t an easy task for Rimington, he had a goal in mind and he wasn’t prepared to settle for anything less. “I had a set vision for the type of musicians, instrumentals, and vocals I wanted. There was a lot of Instagram searching and discovering people through YouTube – reaching out telling them what I was planning to do, and winning them over.”

While the collective are often in full force in the studio, a heightened touring schedule has also meant a steep learning curve for Billy Davis. “When we first started, using the 11-piece was the norm, but touring wise that’s ridiculous so we realised that couldn’t be a thing all the time.

“With the [current] five-piece, the music is still the same but the message is just communicated in a different way. There’s a lot more space, so the instruments that are there have more clarity. I found that I had so much more room with the smaller group to do a lot more chords and melodies,” Rimington says.

“No matter what size the collective is at the time, which singers are on the lineup or whatever, the story’s still the same, it’s just different storytellers.”

Rimington sits at the centre of every facet of Billy Davis and The Good Lords, and their debut album A Family Portrait is a deeply personal dive into his mind. “I lost my dad at a young age and my mum took care of me, so the start of the album is a shout out to her for raising me. The cover is my mum and dad, our family portrait, but through the album what I’m trying to say is I’ve found my family now in the Good Lords,” he says.

In the five months since the album dropped, Billy Davis have barely stopped, but it should be no surprise that Rimington is already preparing to begin the next chapter. “The Noname tour did me a lot of good. I was so inspired after that, I’d hit a writing block on the new album but since that tour I’ve been in the studio writing non-stop,” he says.

“I’ll be releasing a new single soon and an album to follow that up. I’m definitely going to drop the album now, I’m so inspired and I’ve learned so much more. I’m ready to go forward on a whole bunch of different fronts.”

The next stop for Billy Davis is By The Meadow festival, where they’ll be taking the opportunity to show fans the group’s next chapter.

“We’ll be playing a heap of new tunes, I feel like I’ve evolved so much since the album dropped so all the new music is on another level. I’m confident with the colours I want to use in the music.”

Billy Davis and The Good Lords will perform at By The Meadow, taking place in Bambra, Victoria from Friday April 6 until Sunday April 8. They’ll be joined by Fazerdaze, Gum, Tiny Little Houses, Stella Donnelly, and more.