[Interview] Veteran of U.K. Bass Music T. Williams Takes a Few Questions.
Since the tender age of 17 Tesfa Williams has been making his presence felt throughout the world of electronic music. T. Williams first broke out into electronic music through London’s murky grime scene. Under his early alias DJ Dread D, T. Williams enjoyed a great deal of success selling thousands of singles worldwide and amassing an impressive reputation with U.K.’s underground bass scene. As the years passed and Grime slowly devolved as a genre, T. Williams reinvented himself as one of the most cutting edge and refreshing house artists in the scene. His creative cross-over sound has helped him carve out a style all his. His tunes are punctuated by intricate percussion and bounce with the aggressive undertones of dubstep while maintaining the groove and soulful essence house music. Drawing inspiration from seemingly every corner of the musical spectrum, Tesfa is an artist whose ingenuity is only equaled by his authenticity.
T. Williams recently kicked off his North American tour at Brooklyn’s very own Output. I had the chance to catch up with Tesfa and ask him a few questions about his early days with grime, as well his thoughts on the current state of electronic music.
Sensible Reason: As a veteran DJ and producer, and an artist who has played on dance floors around the world for years now, I am curious to hear your views on how dance music culture has progressed since you broke onto the scene.
T. Williams: Dance music culture has gone full circle from what I can see. A lot of dance music is having mainstream success and gaining more and more popularity amongst young ravers
SR: Can you tell me one of the first shows/raves you went to in your youth that had a significant influence on your musical development?
TW: One of the first raves I went to when I was 11/12 was called “tomorrow’s people” it was run by Joey Jay from kiss fm U.K. a DJ who is also the brother of “Good Times” Norman Jay. He would book all the top Jungle / D&B dj’s to come and play his party in deepest west London. People like Nicky Black Market, Brookie etc…… This rave turned me into a vinyl junkie and gave me the getup and go to begin music production. I still draw on the influence and the feeling this party gave me til this day
SR: You made your start producing and performing Grime. Now that you play predominantly house sets, can you tell me something you miss from those early days, if anything?
TW: I only miss the instant impact a track would make on the dancefloor without it being promoted or blogged about on the internet. The buzz for tracks back then seemed way more organic.
SR: In today’s current dance music landscape there seems to be an increasing number of artists who are producing and performing tunes that cannot be easily defined in any one genre. In your opinion will we eventually reach a point in dance music where we just throw genres out the window? Would that be a good thing?
TW: I feel we are all influenced by the music we like, so music we define as undefinable is a cross pollination of genres and an expression of the individual’s influences. It’s usually inevitable that A) someone will copy this person’s style, and begin a movement of tracks which pay homage to that. Or B) other people who have had the same influences as this person begin to make tracks in a similar style. I feel having genres provides people with clear definition of what they are listening to and promotes there being a scene or movement. Without this most musicians would be lost
SR: You are kicking off a pretty huge North American tour this month, what is one of the most memorable shows that you have played here in the states and why?
TW: One of my most memorable shows here in states was playing at Sound Nightclub LA with Disclosure. It was one of those shows where I really feel like we brought the U.K. to America.
SR: Your music has always been extremely authentic. How have you been able to stay true to yourself musically even while switching genres?
TW: I’ve always just made what I feel like. So what ever mood or vibe I’m in when I get in the studio that’s what I make.
SR: What’s one song that you can’t stop playing in your headphones lately?
TW: Jay West – Smile (Dake remix)
SR: Are there any up and coming artists who have caught your attention recently?
TW: Hasn’t been any that have really caught my eye at the moment.
SR: Is there any one song in your catalogue that you have a strong emotional connection with? Would you like to share why?
TW:I actually have a strong emotional connection with all my original music. They all are piece of time and a feeling I had that time.
T. Williams will be wrapping up his North American tour in Miami at LMNT on October 1st, you can grab tickets for that show here. Check out Tesfa’s mix Bestival below and mosey on over to his soundcloud where you can listen to his new Shake That EP.