Bad Copy


First Time Fest Band Exclusive: the House of Wills

Photo: Michelle Burlingame

It’s almost that time of year again, where thousands upon thousands of black t-shirt and jorts wearing music fans will descend upon Gainesville, FL in hopes of seeing their favorite bands and drinking just enough to not remember seeing anything all. While there are hundreds of well-known names on the Fest schedule this year, we wanted to showcase a handful of the bands who are heading down to Florida and playing for the very first time. So keep reading, check out all the bands in this series, and get to know some really great under the radar talent!

Next on the roster is the House of Wills. After years of performing acoustic under a different title, Cleveland-based singer/songwriter JV re-imagined themselves as the House of Wills and has been working to hone their skills and message ever since. the House of Wills will be playing on Saturday, October 29th at The Bull at 9:50PM.

They released their debut full-length album, true crime, in later 2020 and all songs were both written and recorded in August-October of that year. It’s a true pandemic album! Stream it in full below!

Kendra Sheetz

How long have you been performing under the moniker the House of Wills?

I’ve been playing acoustic since the mid 2000’s, drifted away from it somewhere around 2010 and re-emerged as the House of Wills a few years later. Though i don’t feel like I really figured out what I wanted to do with it until 2020.

Kendra Sheetz

Have you attended Fest before?

Been lucky enough to go a bunch of times but still not nearly as many times as I’ve wanted. My first Fest was Fest 11 in 2012, came back the next 2 years. Took a few years off, went back for Fest 16 and 17 and got to hit pre-fest both those years which was a rad. Ybor goes hard. I fuck with Ybor. Haven’t been since and missed it every year.

Kendra Sheetz

What are you stoked for during Fest weekend?

Obviously stoked to get to play for the first time; it’s an honor to be included and something I’ve wanted to do forever. Excited to see as many of my homies bands as possible. I really just miss the whole experience of being there – seeing so many friends from all over the world, making new ones, seeing bands I love, discovering new ones. Stoked for the whole thing. also, Against All Authority. I stumbled across them at a young age, never got to see ’em, and fuck I am excited.

Kendra Sheetz

What’s your best Fest story?

This is embarrassing but, fuck it. I think it was the second time I went to Fest, so Fest 12. I had been hanging out with some friends from the UK for a bit, and as the night progressed and I got increasingly shitfaced, I decided I was going to start using a British accent. And so I did that the rest of the night. I mean, as I traveled from venue to venue, hanging with various groups of people, even when I stopped at the convenience store by myself – phony British accent. I don’t remember anyone getting mad at me about it but I am certain that everyone must have hated me for it. I kept this up until I went to sleep, and I shit you not, in my dreams that night it was all phony British accents. So my “best fest story” is actually just about how I suck. But I love the Fest and am typically not that annoying. I swear.

Kendra Sheetz

Let’s say you’re booking the lineup of a festival that represents you as a band. What would the top 5 headliners be?

The Mountain Goats because i wouldn’t be making acoustic music if not for John Darnielle.
Frank Ocean because Blonde changed the way I think about creating music.
The Weakerthans because everyone should always listen to The Weakerthans.
Westside Gunn because I find him endlessly inspirational.
And I don’t know if it really shows up in my music, but Bad Religion was a life changer and still one of my all time favorites, so I feel like I have to include them.

Kendra Sheetz

What does the band have coming up? What can we all look forward to from yout?

I’ve got a 4 song EP on the way called THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS. Cursed Blessings Records from Toronto are putting it out. Al and Doug are good folks who run a sick label and I’m grateful to be doing this with them. They’ve also been very patient while I dealt with a lot of personal bullshit and it’s taken me forever to get this out to ’em. So, I’m sorry and thanks dudes. But yeah, that’s coming very soon. After that, I’ve been writing a bunch, hoping to put together a record. I’m hoping to release a bunch of stuff, just gotta get off my ass.

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