Villem interview

Villem spoke recently about his work & his world, plus picked some fine embeds.

DB: You’re mainly based in Bristol, in lovely Clifton I hear? How is it treating you? Bristol is nonstop beats.

V: Clifton is like a utopian paradise, like a village in a city, well fucking nice basically. Mako & Fields live there with the Utopia studio. This is where we write all the Mute & Mako joints. Mako’s constantly building and improving the studio. It’s a pleasure to work in it.

The rest of the time I’m based in Suffolk, writing solo tunes and with good friend Mcleod, also popping down the road to work with Savage Rehab boys all of which I’ve known for years.

I like having the two places I can bounce between, it keeps things fresh for me, I like change.

DB: Your sound is very rich, sounds like you’ve got to have some great influences?

V: Influences? Deep breath, no order just streaming from my mind… Madlib, El-B, Burial, Break, Mako, Fields, McLeod, Savage Rehab, anyone I work with, Little Dragon, Photek, Bukem, Mala, Miles Davis, Richard D James, tape packs from 93-97, Oscars in Clacton circa 97, Renegade Hardware @ The End…

DB: Man, The End. I think about it a lot and wonder if it was the most ironically-titled venue in history as the end of it was so poignant & painful…

V: … drugs, depression, happyness, mountains, exercise, films, samples, books, new plug-ins… there’s more & it changes all the time, but that’s what hit me for now.

DB: Also re your sound, I feel it’s really fresh/unknown territory yet when I first heard it I sort of ‘knew it’ too, I can’t explain it…

V: Well my sound is just based on what I’ve liked throughout the years of listening to music. I started off listening to jungle/hardcore then went on a huge mission to find out why I liked it and found out that it was hip hop/reggae/funk that was being sampled, and ended up listening to all this music to try and get a real depth of knowledge in this music.

DB: That’s a great point: you listen to the breaks/samples in isolation then you pick up on how they swing and then ‘sit’ in the music…

V: I knew I wanted to be involved in music, and I wanted to be the best I could and felt I needed a better understanding of music, so I learnt the basics of piano over summer and applied for a Music degree in Kingston. I got accepted and went on a mission to Kingston Uni, and found I was waaaaay behind everyone else technically but my drive and desire for music got me through.

I stopped listening to D&B, and was listening to all this other music and then Break came along with some tunes around 2007 and just hit a chord with what was missing for me: funky dancefloor smashers.

DB: Who are your contemporaries then, who is delivering exciting stuff too?

V: All the people I’ve mentioned above as well as Foreign Concept, Mikal, and of course Break always delivers. Big shout out to Clive (Ingredients/Mars) for pushing new artists and being fucking sound.

DB: Do you love DJing or producing or both as it’s one big continuum? or is that just old talk… that it’s not just a black and white ‘produce/play out’ cycle now?

V: I love DJing/Production equally in different ways. Its a different buzz, DJing is more immediate, you drop a tune and you get a reaction.

Producing is much harder on the soul, it takes a lot to finish a tune, its never easy trying to achieve the perfect vibe. Plus it can be years before anyone starts catching onto what you’re doing. But for me the reward is greater, when you see your piece of music being appreciated by others, there’s no better feeling.

DB: What do you get up to outside of D&B?

V: Outside of D&B? I love playing sport, I was a sports freak at school and still like to keep the competitive aspects in my life. My main obsession is poker, can’t get enough of it, you’ll see me down the casino in Bristol a lot, or online at Pokerstars.

DB: Ha ha… what releases you got coming?

V: There’s:

Villem ‘Solar Plexus’/Villem & Mcleod ‘Hush’ (on Samurai Red Seal)
Villem ‘Spring Back’/Villem ‘Acouphenes’ (Ingredients Records)
Mute & Mako ‘Cali Sleaze/Always’ (Utopia Music)

DB: Lastly you got some random things to play us out here?

Mala ‘Unexpected’

… love anything Mala does, but this is just perfect, deep, warm, melodic.

Little Dragon ‘When I Go Out’

… I saw this band recently and they blew me away, so warm and organic-sounding but with synthesizers.

Yesterdays New Quintet ‘Papa’

… Madlib’s a genius, sounds like a whole band playing, but it’s just him.

DB: Thank you thank you man.

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