Delray of sunshine

William Delray are bringing a mix of folk and soul to The Grad Club

Despite braving city living and a day job, Matt Miller the man behind William Delray, doesn’t show signs of stopping.
Despite braving city living and a day job, Matt Miller the man behind William Delray, doesn’t show signs of stopping.

Matt Miller, the man behind the band William Delray, can’t talk between the hours of nine and five.

“Nobody even knows I exist, so it’s good to have a day job in that case,” Miller said over the phone from his dwelling in downtown Toronto.

Despite a rather pessimistic tone, Miller’s self-deprecating sense of humour is something one can easily get used to.

“I would say my music is like pushing a canoe with no body in it through like a deep sea of blood,” Miller said. “No, I’m just kidding. It’s like folky and there’s some rock elements and some soul. I don’t want to be defined by a certain genre so I jump from here to there.”

William Delray is one of many artistic projects.

“Since I was 10, maybe 11 years old I started making music,” Miller said. “I grew up in a wonderful catastrophe called Orillia, Ontario. It was a good time. When you live in a small town like that, there’s a lot of vandalism and sticking it to the man. And so you get a lot out of your system really early and then you grow up really quick.”

Miller has since moved south to Toronto, a scene he has been a part of since 2003.

“I have been a solo musician for the longest time,” Miller said. “But sometimes it takes good friends to get up on stage with you to make the songs sound the way that you want them to.”

Miller’s band includes Toronto-based musicians Dave Dalrymple, Synth Taylor Knox, Bill Brautigan, Robbie McQuillan Synth, Sara Labadie, Neil Kevin Quin and Neil Guise.

“I’ve got a pretty close-knit group. My band shares members with other bands,” he said. “I think the scene is really lovely here. I don’t pay attention to other scenes because I’m too happy with my own.”

It’s the Toronto scene that has fostered Miller’s good friends’ band, Zeus, who he’ll be opening when he plays in Kingston tomorrow night.

“I used to go see their old band Paso Mino and they were incredible and they were really damn good at what they did. And now Zeus is happening and they’re a monster,” Miller said.

Unlike his pals in Zeus, Miller isn’t the monster he wants to be quite yet. “It’s just a time in my life when I can’t really piss off and play a bunch of shows across Canada, like Zeus can. There’s really no reason for me to do that yet. I think I need to hone my skills and get myself the album that I want to show the world and that’s when it will happen.

“My future is modest. I just love to record and write music. And I need to continue working. It’s not just music for me. I also like to write and draw and create books and I’ve got a lot of things going on in the city.” Although he may be confined by the city he lives in and that day job, Miller hasn’t stopped recording and releasing his music.

“Well basically I have 25 albums, but they’re all self-released,” Miller said with a laugh. “I’ve got an album or two coming out every two to three months, which is basically commercial suicide. I don’t know how it will ever work for me to ever go on tour and try and hand out a certain album. I think I need to keep doing what I’m doing and just be happy with the process as it is.”

When asked why he chose the moniker William Delray, Miller’s response is simple.

“It’s because my name is Matt Miller and Matt Miller is basically the most common name ever. If you type it into Google your computer will explode. Even growing up, there were like three bazillion Matt Millers in a town of 30,000 people. It was getting to the point where I was cutting out articles about the local rugby star Matt Miller and putting them up on my fridge. And I’m certainly no rugby star,” He said. “The moniker was basically because I don’t want to be tied down to my super common name. I’m not upset that my name is common. You know, I love my family very much, it was just something I decided when I was 15 years and I just ran with it.” If Miller’s open-mindedness and work ethic are any indication of what his career will be like, anything is possible. “I definitely just wrote a song inspired by 500 Days of Summer, which is really cheesy and lame,” Miller laughed.

Perhaps we’ll see Zooey Deschannel frolicking across the silver screen to Miller’s music in the near future.

William Delray opens for Zeus tomorrow at The Grad Club. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance.

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