Willoughby
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Willoughby

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Gus Seyffert is a six-foot-four L.A. singer-songwriter who has worked out a sleek, ­retro-fitted style you could call spy rock. Recording under the alias Willoughby, he performs songs steeped in the sort of secrets shared over the pillow. This is candlelit music, low-key and laced with tremolo, delivered with a conversational intimacy. For a few years now, Los Angeles has been awash with bands influenced by Elliott Smith, and the late legend is a key factor here: the Beatles obsession, the deftly picked acoustic guitar, the guy half-whispering in your ear, all adding up to a soundtrack for a night of droll double-dealing. - RJ Smith


“If the ghost of Chet Baker is looming about us mortals, it must be haunting Gus Seyffert’s musical dreams. Calling himself Willoughby, the longtime LA sideman – he’s worked with Inara George, Sia and the Bird and the Bee – has made a stunning debut album as mellow and emotive as the slow-cooked jazz of the 50s and 60s. Recording the whole thing to tape, Seyffert achieved a warm, vintage sound that also revives the Zombies’ soft Brit-rock sound. He applies these nuanced, European-style textures to his own suite of mostly minor-key songs about psychological unrest (“Story”), dying love (“Frankenstein”), and romantic conflict (“I Know What You’re Up To”). Such tortuous subjects are difficult to attack with grace, yet Seyffert’s delicate tone never wavers from utterly cool. His laid back approach makes for a thrilling contrast, and sustains its elegance over the length of the album.” - FOAM


"The debut from Willoughby, better known as Gus Seyffert, does quite a bit of channeling the somber, analog and mostly melancholic tones of his neo-folk contemporaries, all of whom use nothing but simple acoustic tricks and devices. Ballad-laden, starry-eyed and down tempo, the record has a subtle voice, hiding in the corner of a dusty bar, soaked in whiskey with a restrung, busted old guitar. Some tracks mope slowly, and some discuss "Dust Bunnies." "Uzzell" sounds like an inverted Beach Boys track, replacing sunny California beaches with the dirty banks of the East River. The gloomy indie pop is tied together by Seyfferts style, more recognizable as the driving force behind certain sounds of The Bird And The Bee, Sia and Rilo Kiley's Benji Hughes. However, there is no electronic cutting-room here; the songwriting and production stay as organic sounding as possible." - Joe Puglisi


Willoughby essentially sounds like a heartbroken, Mellow Gold-era Beck armed with an acoustic six-string and a bottle of Xanax, sharing his intimacies with Elliot Smith. - Spin.com


Smoky guitars are plucked in a way that meets Chet Baker with Sparklehorse. I absolutely love this record; so will you. - Filter


“Willoughby offers up a blend of neo-folk, vagabond-pop with echoes of the Beatles and whispers of Wilco.” Yahoo - Yahoo.Music.com


Willoughby, Frankenstein Video
by Staff | 06.23.2008

LA-based Gus Seyffert, who performs under the moniker Willoughby (with backing band), is well-known in the indie-music circuit. Having contributed to both Priscilla Ahn and Junkie XL's latest albums, the Willoughby frontman has also performed with Inara George and co-written with Rilo Kiley tourmate Benji Hughes, who lent his compositional skills to the making of "Frankenstein." But all Seyffert's collaborations prevented him from creating his own full-length album -- until now.

Recruiting his musician friends for a change to help film his quirky video, the aforementioned Ahn and Nicole Morier, one half of electro-pop duo Electrocute, perform backing vocals in frilly 80s prom gowns and feather headpieces. Accompanied by his soft-spoken falsetto and light country tinges, the old-school feel of the song is made clear by the analog equipment he used to record. The video is pure asinine fun, and will leave you with the notion that mad scientists (and monsters) have feelings, too.
- Filter


There's something that's just nice about Willoughby. In the way that Sondre Lerche, Brendan Benson and the Botticellis can feel like a sweet massage on the part of your brain that interprets sound, Willoughby's debut album, I Know What You're Up To (out September 9) feels sort of like you're bouncing on a big, fluffy bed. Willoughby is Gus Seyffert and friends making pretty things in the studio, and it's not a big stretch, considering Seyffert has travelled the world playing with the effortlessly lovely Sia, Inara George and The Bird and the Bee, amongst others. What resonates beyond the sweetly angelic vocals and the quiet swaying of the tunes is the intricate stories that Seyffert weaves. "Story" relates a "Richard Corey"-esque tale of a man alone in the world while "Frankenstein" gets more confessional about love with some truly cozy male-female vocal play. This is music made of daisies and pink frosting, and there's not a goddamned thing wrong with that. - RCRD LBL


LA's Willoughby evoke a gin-in-coffee-cups brasserie situated in a lost tropical city, draping dreamy, broken-hearted songs in jazz-infused percussion, raindrop bass, and soft-focus vocals. - Flavorpill


In Filter Magazine's annual Top 10 lists, Willoughby's debut, I Know What You're Up To, has made the Top 10 of two of the staff Best of 2008 lists.

http://www.filter-mag.com/index.php?id=17898&c=1 - Filter Magazine


Discography

I Know What You're Up To, CD, SRCD1001, released Sept 30, 2008 (Sargent Records/Redeye Distribution)
I Know What You're Up To, LP, SRLP1001, released Oct 14, 2008 (Sargent Records/Redeye Distribution)

Photos

Bio

Willoughby’s debut album I Know What You’re Up To is the product of Gus Seyffert, who made his way to LA from his home in Kansas City where he performed and produced all the tracks on the album, with a few friends stopping by to help along the way. The result is a haunting record that evokes film noir secret agent films blended with a hint of Americana that has been named one of the Best So Far of 2008 by Filter Magazine.

Flavorpill provided this apt description: “Willoughby is a quiet band — but "quiet" as in the old saw about watching out for the quiet ones. Their tintinnabulating melodies have both a Brit-pop, downtempo optimism and an intriguing speakeasy manner, tempered with the dusty funkiness of a saloon band. Onstage, their winsome live presence — crafted from dreamy, salty balladeering, starry percussion, and gently swaying rhythm guitar — will spirit you away.”

The resulting album is a delicate masterpiece that was a dream fulfilled for Gus. “I had wanted to make my own record for a number of years but was always working on other projects.” The production process was key to creating Willoughby’ unique sound, which has evoked comparisons to seedy burlesque clubs, Chet Baker, Elliot Smith, Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene and Wilco. “Recording the whole thing to tape was really important to me – I really wanted to capture the organic, analog sound of all the great records I love – by people like Harry Nilsson, Sparklehorse, The Zombies and Chet Baker,” Gus says. Those other projects he refers to have included recording and performing with musicians such as Inara George, The Bird and The Bee, Sia, and Michael Andrews.

Gus also recently dueted with Inara George on Tonight You Belong To Me on the latest EP from The Bird & The Bee, while Willoughby are featured on the track Not Enough on the new Junkie XL album, with Gus co-writing Mad Pursuit on the same record. Gus co-wrote Astronaut with Priscilla Ahn for her Blue Note debut and produced and wrote with Benji Hughes for his A Love Extreme album.