Billy’s back for headline gig at Royal & Derngate

Billy Lockett
Billy Lockett

Billy Lockett returns to Northampton next weekend for his first hometown gig in more than two years.

Since relocating to London, Lockett has signed with Warner, headlined the city's iconic Union Chapel and gigged in the UK and Europe.

Having previously played at Royal & Derngate supporting KT Tunstall, Lockett is back in town following a run of festival shows including Live at Leeds and Liverpool's Sound City.

Looking ahead to next Saturday's show, Lockett said: "Weirdly the last place I played was Derngate.

"It was the last show my dad ever saw me play. There's a lot of emotion and memories from it.

"I always dreamed of being able to come back to my home town and play as someone who isn't living there anymore.

"My team are a bit London centric but they know how much this gig means to me.

"I was born here and lived here until I was 23, all my early shows were here.

"This town, whether I like it or not, is part of me and always will be."

Talking about his move to London, Lockett explained things started to 'fall into place' for him once he was in the capital.

"The whole London move was crucial” he explains. “Once you're in London it's so much easier to build up a fan base mainly because there's so many more people there.

"It relatively easy to sell a thousand tickets for a show somewhere where there's nine million people.

"We did King's Cross which 100, The Forge which was 300, Bush Hall which was 400 and then Union Chapel which was 1,000.

"London has been the most amazing life choice I've ever made.

"I remember walking into Union Chapel in the morning and thinking, 'wow, this is big', it's got a balcony and even that's sold out.

"It was incredible to able to experience it with people and an amazing moment to be able to announce I'd signed to Warner on stage."

Lockett's deal with Warner will see him release a debut album.

"We're currently in the studio between touring," explains Lockett.

"However, because I've got music already out there, I have to be touring.

"A lot of artists get signed, spend two years in the studio and then gig but I can't do that.

"I'll be writing and recording in between touring and hopefully, sometime within the next year to year and half, we should be releasing my debut album.

"It's still nice to cling onto the album as a format, it's nice to find someone on Spotify, press play, and let it run.

"There's something special in hearing a body of work like reading a novel.

"At the same time, we will be releasing singles because it's what you have to do. You have to keep releasing music.

"There is no downtime, my next day off isn't until sometime in July, but this is my dream job."

Lockett's latest single Empty House is likely to be one of his existing songs which features on his debut.

He explains the song is a better representation of where he wants to head musically and while “dark piano ballads” have previously been the cornerstone of his output, things are moving in a more optimistic direction.

He said: "I've been doing ballads for two years which was great. I was a bit depressed at the time and that reflected my music.

"I'm over the death of my dad and happier now. Your songs should reflect how you feel.

"Things are going to be more upbeat and I think more hopeful."

He added: "I want everyone who comes to the shows to be blown away.

"I want to keep growing it and hopefully as the live set up has changed, it will keep getting bigger and better.

"It's been nice to have people congratulating me on how things are going and it feels like there's a buzz - but this is not just me, there's a team of people helping from management, to A&R, to lighting and social.

"I'm just the face of it. I don't know how to write proper statuses on Facebook or make a kick drum sound amazing. A lot of artists need help and it's a team effort.

"However, it all starts from having good songs and having people believe in you.

"You can't get anywhere until you sit at a piano or guitar and write those songs."

Billy Lockett headlines Royal & Derngate on Saturday, May 19.

Tickets cost £17 before fees, doors 7.30pm.