A true enforcer of timeless rhythms, with an ability to draw the listener in with a wide spectrum of sounds and moods. A unique thought process when digging for records, searching way above and beyond the ordinary. Over recent years, a reputation has been built solidly around his passion and raw ability to structure records whether playing in a club or after party atmosphere. A journey of all kinds. With successful releases on London based labels Fuse, Infuse and Arupa, the energy does not end in the booth.
It has been a long time coming, join us as we caught up with the natural and humble talent that is, Joseph Williams; he will be joining us this summer on the MEOKO stage at RPMM Festival in Porto (and rightly so).
1. First, thank you for your time and recording a mix for us. Where did your journey with music begin?
It’s a pleasure to finally do a mix! I would say my journey did not begin with electronic music; my taste was varied growing up from Hip-Hop to Blues and Folk. A lot of the electronic music I heard was filtered through my older sister who would play it at home and took me to my first parties when I was around 17/18. I would pair up with her friend who was older so I could get in to over the 21 nights with my baby face!
I was always more inclined to listen to electronic music as I got older. After my first club nights I began collecting for myself, starting with classic/soulful and funky house. From there I was constantly discovering new sounds and different variations of our music. It felt like I stumbled across all the parties and music I now enjoy, but my path makes sense when looking back.
2. What would you say influences you amongst the scene right now?
I value my time spent with friends the most. This could be at a party, or the countless hours we spend playing and discussing music in between. It’s these moments that are influential for me and I draw energy from. Even a simple conversation with a friend Shauny could spark and renew my enthusiasm. Connective moments of shared passion fuel and drive our scene forward and we all experience them in some capacity – these are fundamentally what inspire me to be creative.
3. Where would you say you enjoying playing the most, either past or present?
Can we make it a time during the night? If so, after-parties. It’s where I am most relaxed, I feel less pressure and I can play the music that I enjoy collecting the most. I think there is a certain expectation from the crowd for the main gig of the night and this includes the DJs living up to their expectation of the event. I can definitely appreciate this and to some degree, it can’t be helped.
The after party, however, is where people are (mostly) open to DJs experimenting, so it is a space where the DJ and dancer can subconsciously both transcend the expectation and convention of a standard party and experience sound differently, together. With this comes an atmosphere that permits more freedom, which is always good when playing.
4. Having released on Fuse, Infuse and Arupa which are highly respected labels, are there any labels in particular you would love to work with in the future?
It’s been great working with these labels as the people behind them have been friends and have somewhere along the line, helped me on my journey. I’ve not thought about any other labels to release on, my main focus for now is to simply make the music.
5. Do you have any releases in the pipeline you can reveal to us?
I’ve been working on a first EP, its something that’s not come naturally in terms of creating and selecting. I’ve had loads of ideas but none I feel have represented me. Although now I have one more track I’m working on which completes a 4 track EP.
6. This July you will be playing along side many fantastic artists at the brand new RPMM Festival in Porto. It sounds like a great concept they have, how does it feel to be part of such an exciting project? You will be able to pack some special records for that trip.
I’m looking forward to it! The main stages of the festival host loads of different styles of music, so it will be nice for the Meoko room to continue in that fashion and provide alternative and deeper sounds.
Ultimately you can’t fully plan for a gig, but lately when finding music I’ve been saying ‘yep, that’s for the festival’ – some feel-good sunshine groovers.
7. You recently played at the refurbished 93 Feet East, how did you find it with the new makeover? It is refreshing to see a club being given a new lease of life. Do you think this could have a knock on effect in the city, maybe more day time focused clubs opening?
I think its great that its back. The club was home to a lot of my first parties and raving experiences; it is of course synonymous with Sundays at Fuse. In a way, this club and party was a preamble of things to come for me. The makeover has given it a stripped back no-nonsense feel, and this has been mirrored by the extensive quality on the line-ups every week. I recently had a convo with my friend Zack who is involved with the events in the club and we spoke about the potential it has for so many different types of parties and events.
I hope it does have a knock on effect! I have seen a few cool new spaces pop up recently and have been to some great parties, there is still a lot of passion in London and the city can still be the clubbing capital if we are not limited by restrictions and closures.
8. What can the listeners expect from the mix you kindly made for us, how do you go about compiling online mixes and podcasts?
I’d like to think overall, it represents distinct moods and sounds that I enjoy most and look for when collecting. I love music with feeling. Some of the tracks in the mix I connect with when I’m home or daydreaming with headphones somewhere (which I do a lot). Despite appreciating loads of different styles, on a whole, my taste is definitely dictated by synths, melodies and the feeling they give. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bass line! But I am a listener of music first, and these are the tracks that catch me, so its only natural it follows in my selection when I play. I hope this mix is a snapshot in to what I groove to and reflects parts of my personality.
When compiling the mix I wanted to focus more on my personal connection with the tracks and tried to subdue the ever-enticing factors of novelty and obscurity, as they don’t always help the cause. In regards to the structure, I try to be gradual with the intensity in mixes and leave the end dreamy, I left this mix on a lighter note as I try not to take everything so seriously all the time 😉
9. A question we like to ask, if you could choose three records that never leave your bag, what would they be?
I wouldn’t say they never leave my bag, but here are three tracks that I always come round to at some point and have done for a while:
1. Wamdue Kids – Echoes and Instruments
Timeless Wamdue on the seminal label, Guidance.
2. Ricardo Villalobos – H.E.I.K.E. (Ricardo Villalobos Mood Mix)
The man is a major influence for me, probably not one of his most cited tracks – but the simplicity and percussion groove always catches me. It circles round in to my sets every so often.
3. B12 – Debris
Bags of emotion and a record I’ve played towards the end of many after after parties.
Thanks a lot for your time Joseph, see you in Portugal J.
Interview by Zac Bidwell