Life’s short. Make the most of it and do what you’re passionate about. In many instances, there’s nothing holding you back. These are the types of realizations Will Allen has had over the last year, and they’re part of the reason he’s writing music and reaching an audience here in Charlottetown.
On rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Allen fronts the Will Allen Band. The other members are Mark Misener (lead guitar), Stephan LeClair (bass), and Josh Langille (drums). The story of how they met perfectly displays a love for music combined with a tight-knit musical community.
Allen released his debut six-song EP, Painted Your Picture, in 2018. He submitted the EP to Music PEI and was nominated for Rock/Loud Recording of The Year. With a showcase coming up in January 2019, Allen knew he had to put a band together. He caught a SOPA showcase and there were a couple of musicians he liked, so he decided to send Misener a message. “I just sent Mark my music and was like, ‘hey man, I got some music here, I’m doing this rock showcase in a month.’ He said, ‘I dig it, let’s do it.’ Within 24 hours he had a bassist and a drummer.”
Being the band’s lyricist, Allen writes about the changes he’s experiencing in life. “I recently decided to leave a career that I had been working towards for 10 years. It was a huge struggle for me but through the process I was able to find a lot of inspiration for my songwriting.” He added that some songs he writes are straight-up love songs, such as the EP’s title track, “Painted Your Picture.”
During his career as an engineer, being a musician was always in the back Allen’s mind, but he never truly pursued his passion, he said. “I lost a good friend of mine recently. It made me realize I had to take the chance and pursue my music seriously.” Through his music, Allen wants to motivate people to do what they want to do, something he had regularly struggled with. “It’s about making people see that they can do what they want to do. There’s nothing holding them back.”
Allen’s music can most easily be defined as Indie/alt-rock. The EP features rock ballads, songs with eerie and grungy guitar hooks, and easy-listening tunes with hints of blues. “You can tell what’s coming, kind of,” said Allen, of his older material. “The new stuff I’m writing is more on the alternative side of things. A little bit more experimental as well.”
“A huge focus for me right now is writing something that people can hear that is different. Something that they don’t expect.” Allen is planning to go into the studio soon, followed by releasing two singles this fall. He also hopes the band will embark on a small Maritime tour in the near future.
Listen to the Will Allen Band online on most social media and streaming platforms. See him live, in a solo performance, from 6 to 9 pm at Marc’s Lounge on August 16.