The ever charming DJ and Producer, T.Williams, takes some time out of his busy schedule to chat to Anna Burzlaff about emotional inspiration and the power of house
Things are starting to get exciting in house. With a consistent stream of intelligent tracks emerging from the genre, house music has broken through the walls of the underground bunker and entered into the popular mainstream. Londoner T.Williams is one of the genre’s fastest rising stars. For him the reason behind the surge in house music’s popularity is obvious: “It’s the music that’s connecting the dots between all styles of dance music, so like the dubstep, the drum and bass, the garage as well, and all that kind of stuff, it’s all connected together by house music .”
T.Williams is currently signed to PMR Records; pretty much the epicentre of innovative music making in the UK at the moment. Disclosure, Julio Bashmore and T.Williams himself are some of the hottest names in the scene right now. And rightly so; they’ve managed to achieve quite the feat by breaking into the mainstream with their artistic integrity relatively intact. The days of house being seen as a subculture are seemingly long gone.
That’s not to say that house has turned into some commercially-driven franchise ruled over by David Guetta blowing a whistle. It hasn’t quite succumbed to the mass marketing and mass output that’s damaged other genres, not yet anyway. There even seems to be a real sense of community amongst house DJs and producers, particularly within the UK: “There’s definitely a nice little community going on and everyone’s sharing their tunes,” explains T.Williams. “It’s a lot of love.”
When it comes to T.William’s music, love seems to be the operative word. Track titles such as ‘Think of You’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough’ from his EP Pain & Love are suspiciously amorous in sentiment. Yet the DJ is ambiguous when it comes to the specific inspiration behind the tracks. “I mean, with my sessions with songwriters and singers I always go in and we always have, like, a little therapy session; we talk about our problems or relationships, and stuff like that, and really try to get to the roots of what we’re feeling at that moment in time. So yeah, with that EP [Pain & Love], it kind of represents how I was feeling at that moment in time. There was a lot of stuff with ‘Think of You’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough’ that’s more the softer side of me.”
“Boo hoo,” one might say to all this talk of emotions and sentimentality. A house music fan is after some four four beats and heavy bass. Well, T.Williams is nothing if not well rounded. There may be a certain sentimentality behind some of the tracks but the Londoner is sure to provide balance with a focus on sound: “For ‘Quote on Quote Bass’ and those tracks it was more dancehall focused. I still wanted to get into that as well. So I kind of came up with something that I felt was nice and rounded, and represented as well, emotionally, how I was feeling at the time.”
Once a genre gets popular, and there enters a surge of artists, things can get tricky. Setting aside your own style and sound isn’t always so simple. But then again T.Williams isn’t an out-and-out house aficionado. In fact he began his music carrier in the under-appreciated genre of grime. After a couple of years on the circuit grime fell apart. T.Williams, luckily, didn’t. “Basically, the actual [grime] scene itself began to change and it became more MC based. And as it became MC based I began to fall out of love with it and at that same time I found house music and that was the transition, that was it, I was hooked.”
While still feeling nostalgic for the grime days, T.Williams claims no regrets: “No, not at all. I don’t regret anything. I still every now and again make grime tunes just for my own sake. When I’m in the studio and I’ve got a little time to myself I still produce a grime track if I feel like it, you just may never hear it!”
We may not hear the track, but the influence of grime is there, and maybe it’s this that sets T.Williams apart from his contemporaries. As he says house is a conglomeration of different styles, and Williams certainly draws on grime in his interpretation of the genre. His predictions for the future of house? That pesky four four beat will go under review, and growth, growth and more growth for house music. “I just think it’s gonna hit a wider market. I reckon more chart success for a lot of different people as well, or maybe some people that we don’t even know about yet. There’s going to be a lot more people getting involved, and yeah, it’s gonna move and shake.”
T.Williams will be moving and shaking on March 27th at the Button Factory. We have tickets to give away to the show next week. All you have to do to win is email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll choose a winner at random. Competition closes March 26th.