A seasoned producer and artisan of many genres, T.Williams will be showcasing his talent at the second edition of Why Make Sense at Port Beach Sand Tracks on Thursday, April 24. TOM KITSON chatted to the man about his current musical projects, some of his career highs and putting the work in to hone his craft.
Discovering his calling to electronic music production at the age of 13, Tesfa Williams has kept a youthful exuberance about him through the journey.
Attending the Red Bull Music Academy, contributing to the soundtrack of the Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremonies with his remix of Jessie Ware’s Wildest Moments and going on tour in the US, have been just a few of his biggest achievements, and he hasn’t even put out a full length album yet.
“I was about 13-years-old when I realised I was really into it,” he said. “At the age of 18 while I was at college I had my first release on Jon e Cash’s Black Ops label, and I decided I really wanted to go for it at that point.”
The passion he felt early on has stayed with him, and he now comes up with underground bass jams while he’s casually walking down the street.
“I might be walking along the street when I’ll get a little melody in my head, and I’ll record it onto my phone,” he said. “By the time I get to the studio I can get that melody down and do something with it, so the creative process can be as quick as that.”
“I’ve always had a dedicated studio, because it’s great to get away from my house to work on music,” he said. “I work a lot with guys like TALA, Tendai and Shadowchild who really inspire me and get me thinking outside the box.”
His latest release Want You To with good mate Shadowchild on PMR Records is deep house stripped back to a minimal bass line, percussion and a smooth vocal sample over the top, which has received over 260,000 plays on Soundcloud within a month.
“I’m trying to build up towards my album to come out around the beginning of next year, which will hopefully be a twelve-track combination of all my influences coming together, adding to a number of already released tracks,” he said.
Moving though early jungle influences to slotting into London’s renowned underground bass landscape, Williams’ drive means he won’t sit still.
“I’ve moved through a lot of different genres, going from DJing jungle to drum ‘n’ bass, garage, grime and house and its subgenres among others,” he said. “As a young guy I was always looking for new places to go and I always just wanted to be a part of the party.
“In the London scene itself some things grow and others die off which can affect the direction you take with your music,” he said. “I’ve always been about whatever is inspiring me at the time, rather than following different scenes – I’ll never push myself to do something just because it’s big or anything.”
As his reputation grew, Williams hooked in with Rinse FM and subsequently BBC Radio 1 while his tour schedule continued to keep him busy.
“With Rinse FM I’d been doing cover shows for a long time, and then they gave me a show at five until seven PM Sundays, I think it was,” he said. “During that time my DJing really kicked off and it was hard to be able to do the show on Rinse.
“I had to give that show up, but then Radio 1 came along, asked me to do a pilot and I was able to be involved in the In New DJs We Trust program,” he says. “I don’t have much difficulty putting mixes together for Radio 1, but I do make sure to work on how I present the show,” he says.
Able to be musically self-sufficient across the board but keen to involve other people in the creative process, Williams threw himself into not only the DJing and the partying, but more importantly, the engineering side of things associated with producing.
“When I have the time, I will mix and master myself, but I have had tunes done by other guys,” he said. “When I started taking music seriously I knew I had to get into all the technical stuff so I could learn how to get my tracks sounding as professional as the tracks I was hearing around the place.”
Preparing to jet in to Perth alongside Rustie, New York Transit Authority and Nightwave, Williams has his set lined up and mentioned a few tunes that may get a play.
“Lately I’ve been playing Kaytranada’s remix of Lady by Modjo and my own tune Take That which seem to keep people pretty happy.”
T.Williams plays the second edition of Why Make Sense at Port Beach Sand Tracks on Thursday, April 24.
Get your tickets here.