The Willowz Return With 'Now You Know': Exclusive Premiere

Oliva Malone
The Willowz

The new single marks the end of an eight-year hiatus for the California rock band.

Breaking an eight-year hiatus, The Willowz have returned with new single “Now You Know,” premiering exclusively on Billboard, in anticipation of their upcoming fifth album Fifth, releasing Sept. 15 via Thrill Me Records.

The trio, consisting of Richie Follin (lead singer/guitar), Loren Humphrey (drums) and Jessica Reynoza (bass), distance themselves even further from their garage rock beginnings with “Now You Know,” coasting on electrified guitar riffs and sneering vocals, a taste of what to expect on their upcoming record. 

Follin, who produced Fifth and spent his hiatus performing in the groups Guards and CRX, explains that the song is inspired by one of his favorite songs, Peter Tosh’s “Stepping Razor.”

“Tosh’s song is the most tough song of all time,” he says in a statement to Billboard. “Setting out to make a song in the same vein would be futile, but I realized we did it without even knowing it after the song was completed and I heard our ‘razor’ line coupled with the overall vibe. The lyrics just came as a response to hearing the thick, heavy-pumping, straightforward instrumentation through the speakers in the studio after we recorded it. It is the most minimal, instrumentation-wise, of all the songs on the record with only four or five tracks total I believe. Normally, we would add more elements to the song, but this one just felt right super sparse. I think it’s the right first track to release, because it’s a good representation of the raw, visceral rock album we made.”

Fifth, which was mixed by Humphrey, marks a sort of comeback for the Southern California band. They first came to prominence with their eponymous 2003 debut and singles ”Something” and “I Wonder” getting a coveted feature on the soundtrack for Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Sophomore album Talk in Circles arrived two years later, followed by 2007’s Chautauqua via Dim Mak Records and 2009’s Everyone.

Listen to The Willowz’ new single “Now You Know” below, premiering exclusively with Billboard