The bassist is also a fashion designer

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When Widowspeak drop xBk in Des Moines on May 12 as part of their current US tour, bassist Willy Muse won’t be far from home.

He is currently based in the Ames area, although he has been playing with the Brooklyn-based band for a decade. How he came to be part of the band might as well be the subject of one of their psychedelic dream pop tracks.

Muse was a fan of the band, and while he was working in New York as a fashion designer for J. Crew after graduating from Iowa State University, they shot a music video in his converted loft space. of life. When the band started looking for a new bassist, a friend suggested Muse.

“Notice,” said Muse, “he had never heard me play bass. I certainly wouldn’t have called myself a bass player. Muse, however, knew that everyone got along well and he loved their music. So he told them “absolutely” and the next day he quit his job and bought a better bass. “It’s still the same bass I play today, after ten years,” he says.

At its core, Widowspeak is the creative project of singer-songwriters Robert Earl Thomas and Molly Hamilton.

The band released their self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical acclaim. The single “Harsh Realm” was featured in an episode of the television series American Horror Story. They toured in almost every state and almost every country in Europe. On the current tour, the band have added keyboardist, John Andrews, as well as backing vocals, and Muse thinks this is the best the band has ever sounded.

Widowspeak’s current tour promoting the new album, “The Jacket”, began in Brooklyn, traveled along the coast to Florida, then across the South. While in Florida, a few members of Muse’s band tested positive for COVID-19, and the band had to cancel some dates. They quickly recovered and were back on the road, with everyone excited to play the songs from the new album. “It’s so good,” enthused Muse.

At the end of the Widowspeak Tour, Muse will return to Iowa and her childhood home. Besides his work in the fashion industry, he is currently the house DJ for a new drag club in Ames called Big Wigs. Muse calls himself “DJ Big Willy” there, using his experience with DJing and producing drag shows in Brooklyn, but he’ll be ready for Widowspeak’s upcoming tour.

“We’re a small family, and it’s so good to travel with best friends and play music,” Muse says.

Widowspeak plays xBk in Des Moines on May 12. The show starts at 8 p.m.

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