Interview Windmill

‘Newport Pagnell is where they make Aston Martin cars. Me and my friend water bombed an Aston Martin open day once. Good times.’

Otherwise known as one-man-band Matthew Dillon, Windmill is due to release single ‘Tokyo Moon’ from last year’s debut long-player ‘Puddle Racing City Lights’ on 18th February. The video for the track has already been shortlisted for best video at the British Animation Awards.

Why the decision to call yourself ‘Windmill’ rather than use your real name?
I the only way I could finally feel comfortable putting some songs out there was to present them as a band. I felt being collectively laughed at was better than being laughed at alone. So I made my brother join and roped in some local drummer from a wanted ad. Not like a ‘wild west’ wanted ad but you know what I mean. Even though I was writing and recording everything alone I was presenting it as the ‘band’ Windmill. Windmill actually came from my brother’s prolific fighting style, it’s not even named after me.

Your new single is called ‘Tokyo Moon’, tell us all about it!
It was written about 2 and a half years ago. It came about when I was stuck for lyrics so I started singing out the problem pages in my girlfriend’s magazine and making her laugh with my intensely comical nature. That sparked an idea so I called in sick to work the next day and recorded this song about the differences in being single and being in a controlling relationship. That demo was released by Static Caravan as a ltd 7’. That got me my deal with Melodic so it’s the song that started it all. In the original Static Caravan release you can hear the telly on in the background. Bonus.

It’s nearly a year since the release of your debut - do you have another album in the works?
It’s strange. Every time I get stuck into the second record, ‘Puddle City Racing Lights’ gets rediscovered and it’s like releasing it all over again. So it’s seems there is still life in it. I have just signed a deal with a label in New York for the record’s US release which excites me. People feel the record is more American than British it seems. But, I have so many images in my mind that I want to write music to. Subconsciously the second record is doing good.

Your label calls you ‘the British answer to Arcade Fire’. In what ways are you similar to them?
Most British bands sound alike to me. Well the whole NME band scene sound the same to me. So when something British comes along that is unlike The View I think the press really just attach you as being like the first thing they can think of. I mean, I have had them all. Name any Americana act in the last 15 years and someone has compared me to them. I don’t see Windmill as anything like Arcade Fire. Windmill is all it could ever have been, it’s my songs in my way. No one could write my songs because they are exclusively mine. Not even Arcade Fire.

You’re said to have ‘spent years working in secret’. What does this mean, and are you now scared to perform songs for the first time to audiences you don’t know?
It was a bedroom and a 4-track for 12 years. I know that is the typical tale of any recording artist but the difference is my experience was removed from any ambition whatsoever. I really was just making them for me and my own enjoyment. The only public play the songs ever had in all that time was in the tape deck of my girlfriend’s old car. Just to see how they sounded. I couldn’t bring myself to let anyone hear them. It did trouble me slightly, I just wanted to make something great that my family would embrace and I knew I would never get the reaction I wanted. It was weird when the record first came out. But after a while there is a detachment where I see people talking about Windmill and not me. Playing shows in other countries to people that know the songs is ultra surreal.

You are from Newport Pagnell. The only thing most people know it for is a motorway service station. Tell us something interesting about the town.
I worked at that service station. In the Little Chef. I served Jo Brand miniature dipping doughnuts. There was a guy there called ‘Kippers’ with mental problems. He got hot one day and put HIMSELF through the dishwasher to cool off. Newport Pagnell is where they make Aston Martin cars. Me and my friend water bombed an Aston Martin open day once. Good times.

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