After first progressing through the sounds of Grime and 2-Step, T Williams has gone on to establish himself as one of electronic music's most refined performers. With a sound combining elements of everything from Deep House to Dubstep, Williams has released across an array of labels including 'Hypercolour' and Portugal's 'Enchufada', not to mention his own imprint 'Deep Teknologi'. With 2011 arguably his most memorable year to date, I was fortunate enough to catch up with him at his local over (probably too many) pints of Bulmers on everything from Brockie's dubplates to playing at Notting Hill Carnival:
"I hit it off this year back in January when I put together the first podcast of 2011 for 'XLR8R' which I really enjoyed doing. In the same week I was featured in DJ Mag as 'One to Look Out for' and soon after that I played a 'Boiler Room' session alongside Roska, Cooly G, MA1 and Scratcha. I also played at FWD for the first time on my jack jones too! I travelled to Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France and Scotland to deejay as well, the highlight being Brodinski asking me to play at the Social Club in Paris. I also joined 'Buraka Som Sistema' in Portugal and released 'Getting Mine' on their label 'Enchufada - they invited me over to play at a night they run called 'Hard Ass Sessions' at one of Portugal's big boy clubs called 'Lux'. I had a good laugh and I think guys like Bok Bok and Brenmar have also played out there too. Production wise, I got asked to remix Skream's 'Where You Should Be' that got put out earlier this year and I've got two releases due out this month actually - I've remixed Maya Jane Coles' 'Nobody Else' which is landing on 'Hypercolour_LTD' and I've also reworked Dusky's 'Lost in You'. I've kept on top of everything with my label 'Deep Teknologi' too - we put out a big remix compilation at this year featuring Danny Native, JTRP, MA1, Bok Bok, Scratcha and others that got a lot of love. This year's been amazing to be honest. I got my first festival booking at 'Glade' festival too - I played Garage in Hypercolour's ice cream van, madness!"
Although initially taking to production through Grime, it was Brockie and DJ Hype who first fueled Williams' desire to be involved in music:
"In all honesty, it was basically when I heard DJ Brockie on an old 'Roast' tape, some legendary old Jungle rave - I just wanted to be like him man! Hype aswell, he was another one. They both made me realise that I needed to be doing music. Yeah that was it really, Brockie's dubplates and Hype's scratching - that was me."
When it comes to describing his own sound, Williams admits its hard to say where his work fits within the spectrum of bass music:
"I would say its indescribable really and I'd like it to remain that way because I draw influences from so many different places. Its difficult to say where my sound lies I guess - one day I can make hard, gritty stuff with that electro/dubstep edge to it and the next I can make something like 'Heartbeat' with Terri Walker. Yeah, it's probably indescribable (laughs). As far as musical influences go, like I said I take bits from everywhere; reggae, dance hall, jungle, garage, grime, original RnB, rare groove, funk, disco, house - everything really, even dubstep! I really try not to listen to much of the genre i'm making though to keep it as original as I possibly can."
With such a variety of styles influencing his production work, Williams is an advocate of continued experimentation within the bass music scene:
"Right now is the best time for it really. When I was first making Grime, besides messing around with the R & G concept (Rhythm & Grime), I was pretty limited in terms of what I could make. Now everyone is making whatever they like without worrying about what genre they're stuff is gonna fit in to. Without the freedom to experiment like people are at the moment, you'll never get to fully know a track's potential. I see it as vital to the future progression of bass music."
As well as releasing on a series of labels over the last 3 years, Williams has also established his own 'Deep Teknologi' imprint alongside his friend Sef:
"Basically, the label came about through my friend Sef meeting a guy called Don Morris. He asked me if I wanted to get involved and I decided I would - we'd both had separate projects running before and I'd known Sef for years so it made sense. It was never really the intention to release my music on the label but I had interest every time a tune of mine was uploaded onto Myspace as it was then, so we decided to start releasing some tracks. We put a CD together consisting of a load of requested tracks and from there it all really started. For the future, it'll be a label that will act purely as the home of our ideas - there's no big grand plan and definitely no plot to take over the world or anything like that! It'll represent good music and it'll represent me and Sef, that's it."
As a deejay, Williams has been fortunate enough to play at some of Europe's most distinguished night-spots but he insists Notting Hill Carnival remains a personal favourite:
"In general, Notting Hill Carnival always goes down as one of my favourite experiences - playing old school Garage to thousands of people is just amazing. Got to say Glasgow was pretty amazing too - I played a 2 hour set there at 'La Cheetah' and that was a wicked night. I actually just played before Paul Woolford at 'Eastern Electrics' during Carnival weekend and that was sick. I've had memorable nights in Cologne and Amsterdam too - Holland is always super cool to play because they understand the London vibe. Social Club was also amazing because it was my birthday and the crowd were proper responsive. To be fair though, I've enjoyed every set recently from the big to the small."
Williams remains an advocate of vinyl too although he admits it will struggle to fight its way back into clubs:
"I definitely feel it still has a place - that physical product with the art work and everything else is always going to be worth something to people. I went over to a shop to frame some of my vinyls today funnily enough so it still means something to me. I played a vinyl only garage set on Rinse with MA1 recently so we're not gonna be throwing ours out anytime soon. i understand the practicalities that come with it though - if I'm in London, I can play it out in clubs but playing vinyl-only sets abroad would be really difficult. In terms of buying vinyl, 'Discogs' has become my best friend recently! Getting your hands on those rare gems will never lose its appeal - I'm hoping it will come back stronger in that respect. We still release vinyl on Deep Teknologi and we won't stop doing so over the coming years - it's something tangible you can give to your mum you know? (laughs)"
After the year he's had, you'd think it'd be difficult for Williams to top anything he's achieved in 2011 but with word of an album dropping in 2012, I wouldn't count on it:
"I've got a release coming on the 19th September - the 'Analog Tour' EP is due out on 'Local Action' and has been getting a lot of love from guys like Fourtet, Hannah Holland, Tayo, Ikonika and Scratcha which has been a bit unexpected. There's a big EP of mine due late this year on 'Enchufada' too. I've also been in talks about releasing an album next year and had lots of interest so hopefully it'll all come together in 2012 - I'm looking forward to that. Besides that, it's more of the same; more music, more variation, just generally trying to keep everything interesting. Hoping to do some more work on the label too, particularly with some remix compilations so keep a look out for everything next year!"
'Local Action' Records Soundcloud including a preview of T Williams' forthcoming EP: http://soundcloud.com/localactionrecords
+ more information on the label: http://www.localactionrecords.co.uk/
T Williams Discography: http://www.discogs.com/artist/T.Williams