Unwrapped: Will Knox – Pillow Scream

We had a chat with celebrated UK singer-songwriter Will Knox about his emotionally charged and frustrated new single 'Pillow Scream'

We had a chat with celebrated UK singer-songwriter Will Knox about his emotionally charged and frustrated new single ‘Pillow Scream’

On his compelling and effortlessly gripping new single ‘Pillow Scream’, British singer-songwriter Will Knox offers an early glimpse at his forthcoming new album English Silence, due for release 27th September, and serves as a stirring showcase of the artist’s emotionally charged yet composed brand of indie-folk, and the catharsis and quiet power of his distinctive style.

The track explores the artist’s frustration at not being able to authentically be himself and speak his mind for the fear of upsetting people or telling them things they don’t want to hear. These emotions and the artist’s dissatisfaction bleeds through the artist’s soft sound through his vocal delivery and there is a palpable sense of tension that bubbles beneath the surface throughout. This sense of struggle that the artist faces gives the track a gripping cutting edge and adds to an already stellar and immersive sound, and we had a chat with Will to find out a bit more about how the track came together and the feelings that influenced it.

Hey! We love your new single ‘Pillow Scream’, what more can you tell us about it?

Thanks so much. It’s one of my favourite songs to play live at the moment as it’s very cathartic. I wrote it out of frustration after realising I had a habit of hiding my feelings to make other people happy.

What was the process like putting it together?

I think it was one of the more straightforward songs. I came up with the guitar part quite quickly one night, and once I’d found the right lyric for the post chorus “myself again”, everything fell into place. I’d written down ‘Pillow Scream’ as a lyrical concept – even at your most angry, hurt or frustrated you feel like you have to hide it. The verses are very autobiographical – the before and after of a fight, so the lyrics just spilled out. I’d been co-writing a lot for this record, but I was able to finish this one alone.

What were your biggest influences when creating the track?

The main influence was my environment at the time of writing, my grandfather had recently passed away and the pandemic was just beginning. I was in quite an emotional crucible.

I think Leonard Cohen must have been an influence for the guitar part – I love songs like Avalanche with those fast finger picking parts. Lyrically it’s very direct, and I think my lyrical influence has just come from years of listening to artists like Gilian Welch, Laura Marling, Tiny Ruins, Paul Simon, Damien Rice, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Loudon Wainwright, Joni Mitchell.

How cathartic do you find it channelling all of these feelings and emotions into your sound?

The whole album was extremely cathartic to write – I wrote most of it alongside therapy sessions. Songwriting was always the easiest way for me to get these feelings out. ‘Pillow Scream’ represents everything I can do with songwriting but have struggled to do in real life.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

I’m playing a solo acoustic show in London on June 6th at Green Note in London, and I’ll be getting ready to hit the road in the Netherlands in the Autumn. I spend most of my time co-writing with other artists for their projects, which always keeps me busy. I’m also working on the album after this one, which I think will be mostly solo acoustic in the style of ‘Pillow Scream’, so hopefully I can dig into that a bit more this summer.