I remember watching Lord of The Rings (Return of the King), and particularly poignant was a scene that featured Pippin singing for Denethor. What was particularly surprising was that Billy Boyd could not only sing, but sing very well, so much so I had to hunt out the CD soundtrack from Return of The King. But Billy isn’t just an actor who was unwillingly pressed into singing in the film with no experience as Lee Marvin was for Wand’rin Star, because the reality is that Billy’s actually an extremely accomplished musician and is the frontman for the band Beecake (www.beecake.com). If you haven’t heard Beecake in action (the only comparison for which I can make for Beecake is to liken them to early Travis), it’s well worth doing so.
Billy attended this year’s Collectormania in Milton Keynes, and we were keen to track him down and have a chat with him.
So Billy welcome to Collectormania, how’s Beecake going?
Billy- Beecake is going great, in fact I was just on the phone with BJ who plays guitar, and we’re going to meet up with all the guys tomorrow because we’re putting up a festival in Inverness in a couple of weeks called ‘GoNORTH’, and we’re recording a new album. So we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next few weeks.
Are you going on tour soon?
Billy- Maybe after we’ve recorded the album I think. It will be fun.
I found out you also do Jeet Kun Do and Filipino Kali?
Why those two? They are very specific, and not that easy to find instructors for.
Billy- When I was younger, I really liked Bruce Lee movies, and I read a book that he wrote called ‘The Tao of Jeet Kun Do’ which tells about his art, so rather than being classically, one way or another, he thought it was better to learn all the arts, and then take what you think is useful for you. And I thought that was really interesting, so I learned Jeet Kun Do which is his art and then part of Jeet Kun Do I learnt from Filipino Kali, and I really liked that so I got more into it. In fact my son just got his first Kali sticks yesterday. I’ve got a video of him throwing them around.
Fantastic, is that on YouTube?
Billy- No no!
Oh, that would be brilliant to see, and also a cheeky question…
I’ve lost the accent, but I’m Scottish as well.
Billy- Ah, are you really?
Yeah. Anyway Scottish accents; you always keep the accents. Like Pippin, Scottish accent, fine. Sean Connery, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, Scottish accent, fine. Why is that, how on earth is the Scottish accent accepted universally as representative of anywhereshire!?
Billy- (laughs) Well, the thing about the Hobbit is we wanted Pippin to be Scottish, because there were a lot of things about the Tooks, the family he comes from, that made us think that he was Scottish, or when we discussed it. Like Tolkien wrote that the Tooks invented Golf , and they had the clans within the Shire, so you know they were thought of and because there were nine characters, and four of them Hobbits, we were always trying to find ways to make the characters different, so it wouldn’t be like “oh one of the Hobbits is something” and you know get confused. Especially with Merry and Pippin, we thought well let’s make one of them Scottish. And it makes it easier really.
You’re very first professional roles compared to now, how have you developed as an actor?
Billy- Not at all. (laughs) I think I’ve got so many different things you know. I think I’m not obsessed with it as I was. You know I think it’s unhealthy to be totally driven by one thing I think. I think it’s nice to have your main driving force, but then have other things like your cameras, you know, so I have music. I like taking photography, you know, having other things so that you’re not… so that if the one things not gone right, that you don’t feel that your whole world has fallen apart.
Studying the rest I guess in some ways?
Billy- I suppose so in some ways yeah. My first ever job was in Repertory Theatre in St. Andrews, and it’s still one of my favourite jobs. I still look back at that and think you know maybe the happiest I’ve ever been working there.
Any chance of dropping by and re-doing that?
Billy- I would love to, they closed the theatre! The Byre theatre is closed.
Oh no! Anyway Billy, I’ve just noticed your fans are getting restless so we had better close it there, but thank you very much for your time.
Billy- Lovely to speak to you, thank you!
Interviewing Billy was extremely interesting, a shared interest in the Tao of Jeet Kun Do and Martial Arts, his love of music, and of course, his highly successful acting career. There is a great deal to Billy, and given that he is so lovely to chat with, the interview flew by all too quickly sadly. In any case, we’re impressed by Beecake and are hoping that they tour down here in the East Midlands soon! We’d also like to get our mitts on their latest album for review too!