Willy’s first recorded appearance was with his band Tootieville on the Cooking With George Mark Too compilation record, released by radio station Triple J in 1985, though he had been spotted haunting Melbourne’s live music venues long before that. Tootieville followed this up with an album entitled Basic in 1990 that was The Age’s Green Guide album of the year.
He first appears in the Deborah Conway story (officially) on the credits of the Release Me single as co-performer of the live version of Will You Miss Me When You’re Sober.
Willy came into the limelight proper with the release of Bitch Epic in 1993. He co-wrote the record with Deborah & co-produced. The notes for the album simply say “thanks especially to Willy for always getting me across the bridge”.
from the clip for Basic circa 1991
Since then he & Deborah have collaborated on all her “solo” records & the subsequent records released under both their names: but he has also enjoyed an extra-curricular career & has produced & arranged music for a number of Australian feature films, & documentaries – The Nugget, Horseplay, Ned & Paringa; and for television has composed scores for the ABC’s Eagle & Evans, Sounds of Australia & Stuff; SBS’s Global Village, Thalassa, Everybody Loves A Wedding & Decadence; & Channel 9’s telemovie Little Oberon. He is currently working on the score for a new documentary for the ABC, The Ball.
As a producer, other than the Conway albums, Zygier has produced Toni Collette’s Beautiful Awkward Pictures & The National Living Treasures’ Wide Music.
Composition commissions include scoring the Barrie Kosky curated Voice Jam & Videotape (music for the film “Night” by Lawrence Johnston) for the 1998 Adelaide Festival; The End Of Music a large-scale piece for the Australian Art Orchestra that premiered at the Iwaki Auditorium Melbourne, January 2000 & broadcast by ABC Classics; & a song for the Victorian Government celebration of “Eureka 150”. Zygier composed the score & created the sound design for a production at the Melbourne Planetarium, Tycho To The Stars & composed two pieces Elysium7 & 2DF for installations at the National Museum in Canberra.
He is also responsible for the woodwind arrangement on the song The Blue Hour recorded for the Bull Sisters debut album Vika and Linda.
Although most people only know him for his terrific guitar work he has been known to play numerous string instruments & to be occasionally heard blowing the saxophone very late at night.
Other Willy Zygier trivia is that he was once in the Australian TV show “Prisoner” as an Italian prisoner “Luigi Pavoni” – or at least answered with a “Yup” to that name in a roll call, which appears to be the extent of his speaking parts in the movies.