Dark Meets Domineering, An Interview With William Control

William Control
William Control

American dark-wave electronic solo artist William Control (Will Francis) is the lead singer of gothic rock band Aiden and ahead of their upcoming release; we caught up with Will to chat about these exciting projects that have been keeping him busy, Edgar Allen Poe and the BDSM lifestyle.

You started out as frontman for gothic post-hardcore punk band Aiden before transferring your skills over to the dark-wave genre as a solo artist and record producer, how did you find that transition/change?
It was a rather strange transition actually; coming from a punk and hardcore background I really had no idea how to make electronic music when I began. In fact I still write songs the same way I wrote them all those years ago, I just use different instruments now. With regards to producing the albums, it was something that I had already started doing on previous Aiden records so that wasn’t a stretch at all.

Can you explain where the name William Control came from and what sparked the decision to go your own way and leave Aiden so you could go on to explore the darker side?
The name is a reflection of where I was at the time I created it; I was on a big label, touring constantly, playing amazing shows but completely unable to manage the outpouring of my emotional instability. Starting a solo project was an escape from my former self, it gave me the ability to take charge and say the things I was afraid of saying.

Who are your biggest influences and are they different for both your solo work and Aiden?
I would say my biggest influences are Sinatra, Bowie, Presley, and writers like Wilde, Byron and Vidal and and no they don’t seem to differ.

Your solo music features a lot more electronic music to that of Aiden did you grow up listening to this style/new wave music or back then was punk your way forward?
I only listened to a few electronic bands growing up and Joy Division has always been one of my favourites so naturally I got into New Order. I really loved ‘Violator’ when it came out, but I mainly grew up on the Misfits, Nirvana, Bad Religion, and The Damned.

I read somewhere that Aiden have actually got a new album coming out, how far along is the album and does it re-visit roots?
I’m still currently writing the record now but it should be done sometime this summer and yes it does visit the roots of what we did originally.

What can fans expect from this one and how different is it to Aiden’s older material?
Fans can expect a hard hitting, aggressive and angry Aiden album with sing along chorus’ and metal riffs throughout; a pretty standard flair.

As there’s a new album, surely there will be a tour to follow, right?
Yes I am working on putting it together.

Your (William Control) fourth solo album ‘Neuromancer’ was released last year, a lot of the lyrics and videos, like your older material are quite dark is this always your default setting?
I would have to say yes, as default settings go I’ve never been able to write very happy material, but I suppose that’s how I stay happy in my normal everyday life outside of the music industry.

Can we expect a new William Control album soon after the release of the new Aiden one and have you started work on any new material yet?
Yes I have been working on new stuff and I am planning to release the next WC record in the fall of 2016.

You recently did a string of dates for your ‘Punishment Tour’ alongside Ashestoangels and Bad Pollyanna, was it all whips, chains and ball-gags or was there some singing involved and how was the tour?
There was no singing at all, only screaming! Haha. Yeah we had a pretty good fucking time every night; those bands are amazing and the shows were so much fun.

Were familiar with Ashestoangels and Bad Pollyanna before deciding you wanted them to join you on that tour?
Yeah I’ve produced a couple of records for Ashestoangels and Bad Pollyanna approached me after we played the Whitby Goth Festival and we decided to add them to the tour.

Various tracks including ‘Price We Pay’ and ‘The Filth And The Fetish’ from your latest record and the promo material for your Punishment Tour might suggest that you’re a fan of BDSM, does a lot of inspiration from your music spring from that?
I am very much a fan of the lifestyle yes, I really enjoy the imagery and all that it entails. I would say the inspiration for the music springs from just simply living in this world, sex or no sex; it’s a pretty interesting place.

You played Whitby Goth weekend in March this year, how was that experience and what are your thoughts on dedicating an entire weekend to the gothic subculture?
It was absolutely fucking incredible; I got to play with one of my childhood heroes that night (The Damned). I feel pretty special to have been included in that experience a few times now. There are not a lot of production companies that dedicate their whole existence to this subculture and Jo at Whitby is one of the few people I have met that simply want to create a place for people to come and be themselves and have a good time doing it.

What is the punk, gothic or alternative culture like back home in Seattle, where you originate from?
There is no culture like that here, it’s sad but the truth. There’s a few goths walking around and there’s a bar that plays industrial music a few nights a week but that’s about it.

Are you a fan of gothic literature, I saw that you had produced a few spoken word Edgar Allen Poe stories including The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart and Eleanora, how did this come about?
I’m simply a fan and wanted to do something fun that would perhaps reach some people that wouldn’t normally pick up a book written in the 19th century.

What can we expect from both William Control and Aiden in the next few years or so?
New albums, new tours, new imagery, and lots of fun had by all.