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If there’s one question that informs Tor Maries writing as Billy Nomates more than any other it’s this: whose voice isn’t in the room?
A beacon of brutal truth in an industry built on inconsequential bullshit, the Bristol-based singer- songwriter gives voice to the silenced, the disillusioned, the broken-hearted, and the burnt-out, assembling brilliantly biting dispatches from the fringes of a society mired in austerity, inequality and insularity. Or, as Maries puts it, with trademark bluntness, “There’s too much music in the world already, so everything I make has to count.”
“Make everything count” might just as well serve as Maries’ creative mantra. From the impactful imagery powering her soulful and bleakly humorous post-punk, to the economy of sound she achieves with her defiantly DIY set-up, there’s not a superfluous detail in the entirety of Maries’ output as Billy Nomates so far. It’s this very combination of authenticity and searing insight that made 2020’s self-titled debut such a revelation, winning Maries admirers including Iggy Pop, Geoff Barrow, Sleaford Mods and Steve Albini. And as she moves now onto album number two, Maries is more focused on her mission as ever, not least because the path to this point has been nothing short of torrid.