His new album Your Wilderness Revisited explores the theme of the suburban environment, inspired by Doyle’s personal experience of having grown up in that world and how he eventually saw beyond its ordinary stereotypes, to something that was illuminating and inspirational. “It became about the exploration of your residential surroundings and affording them the same kind of curiosity and wonder that a woodland or a mountain range is meant to inspire within you,” he says. “People are very accustomed and attracted to this idea of ‘finding yourself’ in nature, but I feel that I found myself just as easily in winding avenues and front gardens. If we were more in touch with the psychedelic possibility of what we are constantly told is banal or mundane, we’d have greater respect for it and ourselves.”
Ahead of the release of the album, Doyle mined his music memory for the albums that have influenced him most for his This Music Made Me…
Talking Heads – Remain In Light
This was one of the albums I listened to first, aged 16, on a cheap MP3 player, while riding my bike around the suburbs where I grew up.
I’d seen the video for Once In A Lifetime on MTV2 a lot before, and loved it, but had sort of written them off as a novelty group. How wrong I was.
The first track blew my mind so much that I nearly crashed my bike. It still makes me feel that way whenever I hear it now.
Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream Of Trains
This album is nestled somewhere special in the dense undergrowth of my mind.
It’s an album as a place to go to, and I like to visit it often. It’s a wonderfully English record that brims with quirk and melancholia in a way that only English music of its ilk can do.
I’m thinking about this a lot in terms of where I might go next.
Björk – Homogenic
Not a second goes by on this album that doesn’t trigger some strong emotional or physical response from me. Everything about it is brilliant.
There’s a mixture of the acoustic and electronic where the lines are blurred so much you can’t tell which is which.
It’s how we should think about nature. Nature is everything, not just the trees and the fields. It’s not binary.
Deerhunter – Microcastle
My mind was blown so much by this album when it came out.
It was the perfect timing. Having slowly shed the alt-rock and emo punk of my earlier teenage years, it was a revelation that it was possible to be in a “traditional band” without resorting to cliche – that a typical band set up could produce such expansive sonic results.
They’re absolutely my favourite band going. I could have picked any of their records, but this was the real gateway for me.
These New Puritans – Field Of Reeds
There’s so few records where I seriously look forward to the moment between pressing play and the first sound heard. That special corridor between where you just were and where you’re about to be needn’t be this sort of cold, liminal zone.
It’s a moment to take pause before you embark on something special. That corridor – that moment – of this album is something I really cherish.
I feel like I shouldn’t even mention anything about the music within. It’s too special to me.
Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
I fear this may go down as one of the most underrated records of the last decade, so I like to mention it whenever I can.
I suppose, if you were very lazy, you could have written Fleet Foxes off as the ultimate hipster men-with-beards band; Urban Outfitters folk music. But the reality is and always has been different.
Even with this in mind, I didn’t anticipate the stark opening and the subsequent 50 minutes or so of this beautifully arranged and recorded album. It’s a house with endless new rooms to be discovered and it really meant a huge amount to me when it came out a couple of years ago. It still does.
Julianna Barwick – Will
This one meant a lot to me when I started to make my most recent album, while living in York. I was struggling quite badly with anxiety at the time and this album was the glue that held me together.
When you’re living constantly within your head, it’s the music or art that seems to evoke a world far beyond your own that comforts and heals.
I demand that Barwick graces us with another album soon, for the sake of us all.
Grouper – Ruins
To be able to make music this tender and emotional yet oblique and almost unintelligible is a serious feat.
I like to keep this one sacred by returning to it only occasionally. That I might make something that even slightly approaches this in the future is an ambition of mine.
I’ve always dealt in maximalism, but the ability to convey complex things in simple ways is what comprises all of my favourite art, and this album manages to do that exceptionally well.
Leonard Cohen – Songs Of Love And Hate
This is another one that made a big impression on me when I was a teenager, and I find that those records tend to stay part of your DNA forever.
Though Leonard has written some of the best songs ever recorded, I’ve never really considered him an album artist. Especially as he went on, I think it became less about the whole and more about his individual efforts; certain lines and couplets that seems to house so much wisdom and insight.
But Songs Of Love And Hate really stands up as a start to finish listen to me, and it always makes me imagine a certain space, light and temperature whenever I hear it. It’s one of the more anguished albums in his canon, but there’s a lot of humour weaving itself through it all as well.
Brian Eno – Discreet Music
This is not music. I really think it’s actual medicine.
The soft timbres, the slow detuning, the lack of real harmonic resolution, yet the feeling of perpetual stillness.
I can summon this music within my head even when I don’t have the ability to play it, and it always brings me back to the same place. I can’t imagine life without it.
William Doyle’s Your Wilderness Revisited is released on 1 November 2019 through The Orchard. Tour dates and further information can be found here.