Grabbing your morning coffee on the way to work is a casual thing. No biggie. Black americano for me, soy latte for the tall lady in front and a tea for the gentleman before her. You reach the front with your loyalty card at the ready and your order on the tip of your tongue, but then she catches your eye. Tanned with a soft golden glow, a beautifully sweet perfume and a fresh aura encapsulates her. You notice her most mornings, but today, there's an irresistible urge to reach out to her. You look up to the barista with a helpless look in your eyes and utter three innocent words in a wistful whisper: "chocolate croissant please."
Will Best is like a small child six cans of Coke later; but fully grown - working for MTV, T4 and on a host of different platforms in the music and entertainment industry. You might recognise his chirpy voice from the UK Top 40 show on 4music. Currently working with drones in a competitive arena and flying around the world on the hunt for exquisite works of art, we were excited to interview the busy man as he took a stroll through the park on a rare sunny day in London.
Photographer Maud Maillard
captured Will lounging with furry felines in what he describes as a very 'design-ish' house. Kitty Cowell
styled him in classic and contemporary sporty pieces, highlighting his active personality. A self-confessed obsessive tea-drinker, it was in fact he that was brewing the sweet stuff for the team. Much to the delight of groomer Josie Chan
using American Crew, the happy-go-lucky Londoner who vomited rainbows of positivity and sheer fun. Will has no filter, and as a TV presenter it leaves the doors open to go one of two ways; It's the risk of live TV that he loves and his passion lies within music. Kendrick in his ears and his eye on Rupert the dog, he chats to us about his upcoming show and the dark sides of Abercrombie and Fitch.
Above: Top by VILLAIN, Jeans by J.LINDGEBERG.
It's quite a nice day for a walk in the park.
Actually we’ve just had a little incident. Some guy’s dog was attacking another dog, then mine ran over, but my dog is a massive wimp. He just sort of ran over and started dancing around them whilst they were fighting. Once this terrifying large, East End, gangstery guy had his dog under control, he went completely mental at me and was like, “your dog attacked my dog! I’m going to fucking do ya, I’m going to do you!” I was trying to calm this guy down whilst thinking that I’m actually going to get my head kicked in. That happened about two minutes ago, so I’m feeling a little bit thrown off, haha.
As long as you're safe! How was your BBG Presents shoot?
I really enjoyed it, I haven’t seen any of the pictures, but everybody was super nice. The photographer was wicked and it was an amazing house for the shoot. It was very kind of design-ish and the stylist was also very nice.
Let’s start again by introducing yourself.
I'm Will Best and I am a TV Presenter, but I always find that a weird thing; the idea of being a presenter is odd. I love music. I landed in TV because I wanted to work in music comedy, but I don’t have the balls to be a comedian and I’m not that funny. I also don’t play an instrument, so I thought that if I could interview musicians in a comedic way, then I’m ticking both boxes. So that's what I do, but I do various other things with TV also. I have a music start up, a social network music service called Audiosplitter, which we are just in the process of launching. It’s a new way of discovering music, like Pinterest for music, that’s probably the best way to think about it. So we are just in the process of launching that and I also organise club nights and DJ sets.
Above: Jacket and Jeans by J.LINDEBERG.
What type of music do you primarily work with?
At a night called 'revisor', we play a lot of house, disco and party anthems. They're based all over London. Sometimes we take over warehouse spaces and galleries, stuff like that. We just take a location and then turn it into a party.
How did you begin presenting?
I used to work in advertising. I was an account manager, but I soon realised that I was the world's worst advertising account manager. I was absolutely rubbish, and as a result of being really shit, I hated it. I just wanted to do something completely different, and I thought if I could get onto a show like T4, I would be working with comedy writers and doing really interesting stuff. Then, if I’m able to build up a profile, I will basically have the freedom to do things that are enjoyable and have the time to explore other projects that I wanted to do. So I gave myself a year, I quit my job in advertising and started working at Abercrombie and Fitch, which was awful. Have you ever been to the one on Regents Street? It’s one of the most depressing places on earth. It’s like a vision of hell in there.
In what sense?
It's just really dark, with really loud music. There are weird paintings of semi-naked men, all a weird pale green colour. There are really hot, buff guys with their tops off as well; I was not one. So I did a bit of that, just so I could pay my rent whilst getting a showreel together, and then I managed to get one. I then got an agent and a job presenting on MTV which then lead to presenting on T4. I was lucky to actually get to where I wanted to be; I’m well aware that luck has played a massive part in it.
Above: Jacket by SOULLAND, Tee by VILLAIN, Jeans by J LINDEBERG.
Did you have a favourite TV show growing up?
I never really watched TV. My girlfriend works in TV as a a producer/director, yet we still don't own a TV. When I was little, I really enjoyed old comedies like 'Dad’s Army' and I loved the 'Carry On' films - all the classics. I also have an incredibly bad memory. I can barely remember anything that happened to me in the last couple of weeks, let alone when I was a child. I just remember really liking 'Dad’s Army' and watching 'Gladiators' on a Saturday night. I used to love 'Blind Dates' actually, now that’s showing my age - I loved Cilla Black.
Tell me more about your show 'Airmageddon'.
It's basically a robot wars show, but with drones on CBBC, which is a kids channel. I’ve always said I don’t want to do children's TV, because I’m cheesy enough anyway, but they got in touch with my agent as they didn’t want somebody who was too cheesy. They wanted the show to appear to a broader age range and hopefully cross over to the main BBC channel, so I thought why not? It sounded interesting. They filmed in an aircraft hanger, which is the biggest unsupported, one of the only single room structures in the world. It’s absolutely huge, we had about a hundred cameras and the set was massive. We had house drones that looked like dragons firing flames out of their faces; it was amazing. Teams compete against each other on various challenges over flying drones, and at the end of each show they have a laser fight. Then they get down to a semi-final, followed by a final where we crown the Airmageddon champion. It’s mental and mad, but it’s good. So that’s out at the moment and we’ve already shot two series of that.
What else have you been up to?
I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for 4music, which is the biggest music channel in the UK. Yesterday I was with Selena Gomez, interviewing her, doing a whole big hangout and spending the morning with her. The main thing I’m doing for them at the moment is a live show. Four to six everyday live. It’s just me and another presenter talking about what’s been going on in terms of pop culture, music and banter. It’s like a radio show and it is all about audience interaction - people tweeting and reacting to what we are talking about.
What do you love about live TV?
I never watch anything I do and I feel guilty about that, but I can't stand listening to the sound of my own voice. That and the sight of your own face. I don’t know how anybody can watch it, but the thing about doing it live is that you do it and then it’s done. It’s out the door, you can’t rethink it and you can’t re-shoot it. You have one go and whatever comes out of your mouth within that moment, with a bit of adrenaline, that’s what goes into the show. I like that. I got my first official telling off by our producer, because I made a joke about a girl sitting on Kanye West’s face.
I guess it’s hard to hold back and try to think before you speak.
Yes, my problem is that if I think it is going to be funny, then I'll say it anyway even if it means I shouldn’t. I’m also making a show about art, which is a massive series currently being shot all over the world. It's looking at art in all the major cities and I’m going to Barcelona tomorrow to do that. I'm also involved with various other music stuff. I’m going straight from Barcelona to Miami for an ultra music festival to interview all the DJ’s over there for another show. It's busy times.
Above: Jacket and Jeans by J.LINDEBERG, T-shirt by WON HUNDRED, Shoes by AIGLE.
If you had the chance to, would you stay exclusively in music or keep it varied?
Music is my preferred area, but the thing with TV shows is that it’s a great chance to learn. I've always loved art, but I’m by no means an art expert. So making a show were I travel literally all over the world, from Dubai, Mexico and Venice to Istanbul, I’ve now learnt loads of stuff about art, which is really rewarding. I did a show for BBC3 about consent, which was a social experiment based around young people's ideas of what sexual consent is. It was like a debate show, which was really interesting; I like doing varied things. I always want to come back to music though.
What was the last thing you played on your current playlist?
The new Kendrick album, the mini album. I go through phases, because I DJ, from electronic to house and disco, but I always come back to hip hop. I love hip hop and I’ve been listening to a lot of grime recently. I like Kano’s new album too.
What challenges do you face being a TV presenter?
The most important thing is to not behave differently to how you would in real life. A lot of what I do and what I enjoy most is interviewing people, but I never think of it as an interview. If you start to think, "I’m going to interview this person", then that is going to be an unnatural experience for both of you. If you think of it as, "I’m going to have a conversation with this person", then I find you get much better content. The most important thing is to be natural and also not try and be funny. If a joke comes into your head, because you're having a conversation with somebody, then say it. Don’t just be reaching for jokes the whole time, I’ve learnt that the hard way.
If you want to sharpen up your skills as a TV Presenter, is there anyone you look to?
I think Rick Edward’s is really good, he’s so funny! Matt Edmondson too, he’s a good mate and I think he’s incredibly funny. He’s like the sharpest tool in the box that guy, I think he’s brilliant. Dermot O'Leary has that thing with being natural, he has absolutely nailed it. Imagine presenting the final of the X-Factor where millions of people are watching. You can see how genuinely excited he is about it, and you know that’s how he would be talking about the show in real life. It’s just that sense of being easy and natural, I think it's really important.
If you could interview anyone, who would it be?
That's a really good question. They say never interview your hero, so I'd actually quite like to interview Jeremy Corbyn. I want to know whether he is actually a charismatic man or not, and whether he is as considered as he likes to come across. I would really like to interview Jason Biggs again too. I’ve interviewed him before, he was the guy in 'American Pie', and was just the funniest man I’ve ever met in my entire life - he was so fucking funny. Everyone was crying with laughter from the moment he walked in the door; amazing. Also I would like to interview Chris Martin again, because I want to be mates with him. I thought he would be really boring and a bit wet, but he was just the nicest guy. I interviewed him at the BRITS, and I listened to a couple of Coldplay album’s back in the day, but I’m not actually a Coldplay fan. He was so unbelievably nice, he made me feel so special. I left thinking I wanted to become Chris Martin’s best friend. I think he would be a really considerate friend, like he’d really care about you, he’d want to make sure you're ok.
Would you class that as one of your highlights of your career?
Me and Chris Martin? Maybe, that a bit sad isn’t it? Do you remember 'Shipwrecked'? I went out and interviewed the cast of 'Shipwrecked' on their island, that was pretty sweet. Maybe one of my highlights just for fun and ticking a few boxes, was when I did a show in Ibiza. I spent three weeks interviewing underground DJ’s by a random pool, whilst drinking heavily. That was probably the most fun job, literally just really relaxed - getting pissed daily and having a laugh with some cool DJ’s. Whoops, hang on, Rupert! Sorry, Rupert come here. Give me one sec, Rupey come here, good boy! (Calling for his dog)
What's Rupert's story?
He’s a Staffy dog cross. He’s a Staffy-Wipet we think, we're not totally sure. I mean, he looks like a Staffy, but he’s taller and has longer legs. He was rescued from a little rescue house; they found him as a stray curled up in a little ball on the streets with his brother. We aren’t sure how old he is exactly, but we got him three years ago.
Do you have any funny stories from being on set?
Apart from saying a girl should sit on Kayne Wests face? My favourite thing is when you’re laughing like you've completely lost the plot. You know when you just can’t get it under control, I’ve had that a lot. I had that with Dynamo. We couldn't get ourselves up off the floor! I do a lot of stupid shit. When I was with Selena Gomez we were breaking down the walls a bit, and I was leading her out of this room, trying to impress her a little by trying to act cool. I was walking in front of her and I turned around to talk and give some sort of witty remark that I thought would melt her heart, and I walked straight into a really expensive door frame, and it broke. So I don’t think I impressed Selena Gomez as much as I hoped.
What do you do when you're waiting to go on set?
I drink tea basically, I drink a lot of tea. White, no sugar. I often find it really awkward when you interview somebody, even if you talk to them really well and it’s really natural, as soon as the interview's over there's a slight feeling of awkwardness. It’s a bit like if you’ve had a private lap dance. The song finishes and they ask whether you'd like another dance, and you're like; 'definitely not, because that was bloody weird'. Then you just have to wait for them to put their clothes back on; you both then awkwardly walk out into the dancing area. So things post-interview are a bit like that.
Do you have any advice for aspiring TV presenters?
Yes, I would say don't become a TV Presenter just for the sake of being one. If you're really into something, then focus on that and then work on things within that area - if that's to be in front of the camera then go for it. I became a TV Presenter because I wanted to work in comedy and music, because that's what I’m passionate about. I didn’t do it to present any old shit. So work out what you're really into and then focus on that. That would be my advice.
Will presents on Trending Live - Monday to Thursday 4-6pm on 4Music.
Interview and words by Savannah Liu.