WPGM Commentary: Will Knox Discovers The Long Road To Healing On ‘Instant Coffee’

My name is Will Knox, I’m a singer-songwriter from the UK, now based in the Netherlands. My new single “Instant Coffee” is a song about healing. It’s about searching for quick fixes but realising healing actually takes a lot of time, patience and persistence.

I’m not going to share the details of what I’m healing from, I’ll just say I’ve experienced trauma in my life, as I’m sure many people reading this have. Before I started writing for my latest album, I learned I was going to become a father for the first time.

It motivated me to conquer my demons, determined not to pass any of them on to my son. I tried different forms of therapy, learning a little more with every session, but also going through a lot of frustration, anger and disappointment.

Sometimes I felt like I was going backwards, and other times I felt I was “cured” as if I would never need therapy again. All or nothing. Over time, I have become more balanced with my thoughts, and more realistic with the process of healing.

I started writing songs in my bedroom when I was 16, and over 20 years later I realise that songwriting has always been a form of therapy for me. I also work as a co-writer with other artists and through this work I’ve realised music is therapy for all of us. I needed help to write this song, perhaps I was too close to my feelings to describe them properly.

When I played the first demo to my friend Simon Leferink it was originally called “Out of My Hands”. We quickly realised the song should be called “Instant Coffee”. I’d always drink instant coffee in the waiting room while I’d wait for a therapy session to start. I actually hate instant coffee, but it’s a quick fix, and I loved that as a metaphor.

I’d been introduced to Ian Grimble (producer, engineer & mixer) by a friend in the Netherlands, Rupert Blackman. Ian had produced one of Rupert’s records (Under Bridges That You Built Me by Causes) and I loved it, not to mention Ian’s quite incredible back catalogue.

“Instant Coffee” was the first song I played him. He recommended a drummer, Chris Maas, to play on the record. I knew Ian & Chris were the right people for this record, if only because they are also massive Arsenal fans.

The drums start with quite delicate work on the toms and build into something almost euphoric by the end. The ending is also helped by some very beautiful, trippy cello parts, played by my friend and long-time collaborator, Simon Lewis (also an Arsenal fan).

Back in the Netherlands, I’d been making videos with Liz van den Akker since my last album Shedding + Blooming. Our videos have always had a homemade feel and “Instant Coffee” is no exception. We recorded the footage between my studio in Haarlem, and a venue in Amsterdam called De Nieuwe Anita.

The video shows a journey – the routines are cliché & repetitive, symbolic of how hard it is to break habits, and the show to nobody is also symbolic of the loneliness you can feel during the process of healing.

The handwriting is consistent with the single artwork, all done with my left hand, and is a nod to non-dominant handwriting therapy and how it can help access the voice of our inner child. We also managed to shoot a “one-taker” while I was playing at the venue, which we’ll release as an acoustic version very soon.

Thank you for reading this, listening to the song, and watching the videos. If you’re going through your own healing journey I hope you find some comfort in the lyrics, even if it’s just the realisation that you’re not alone, no matter how much it feels like it.

Watch the video for “Instant Coffee” below.

Word by Will Knox // Follow him on Instagram + Facebook

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