Guillaume Duchastel De Montrouge aka DJ W!LD rise to prominence was no overnight phenomenon. Born in Dijon, he grew up under the heady influence of the formative hip-hop movement before discovering electronic dance music and finding an early idol in Laurent Garnier. Having caught the DJing bug, he moved to Paris in 1996 to further his skills, immerse himself in the scene and continue his electronic education. He soon found himself playing at landmark clubs like Rex, Palace and Queen and making his first movements into the world of production.
During the French Touch explosion of the 1990s, he focused his energies on the Parisian scene rather than trying to grab some of the international limelight, expanding his horizons overseas once the hype had died down. This period of progression saw him play at New York’s legendary Twilo, tour Brazil and bag a residency at Brussels’ legendary techno heaven Fuse.
His production career began to blossom around the turn of the millenium, an early collaboration with fellow Frenchman Chris Carrier paving the way for an enduring relationship that would see them set up Catwash Records together in 2005. Since he began making music, his productions have graced the likes of Robsoul, OFF Recordings, One Records, RebelLION, VIVa Music, Hell Yeah!, Love Letters From Oslo, Adult Only, RAL and Soweso, with his newer imprint W serving as a home for much of his material in recent years.
He also forged strong links with the fashion world during the nineties and noughties, providing music for catwalk shows by the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Thierry Mugler. As his stock in the production world rose, so too did his status as a DJ, with Circoloco snapping him up as DC10 resident in 2009 and Sven Väth inviting him to join the Cocoon family not long after. Sonar, Fabric and Panoramabar have been just a few of the other highlights from his hectic touring schedule.
He’s an artist in it for all the right reasons: for art’s sake; to help foster scenes and communities; to educate the next generation. With more characters like him and less publicity-hungry hyperbole merchants, dance music could be a much more positive place.
Decoded Magazine catch up with DJ W!LD ahead of his new album release and discuss his musical roots, influences, Circoloco, record labels and pick of his current top tracks.
Hey Guillaume it’s a pleasure to have you here at Decoded. Is there a musical background to your hometown, Dijon?
Not so much anymore, but when I was growing up there were some big clubs, where all the best DJs would play. I remember one in particular, called L’Enfer, where Laurent Garnier was resident. He would invite all the huge names to play there, Chicago DJs, Detroit DJs… I was there all the time, was raised within that scene.
I believe musically you came from a hip-hop background, like Loco Dice. Which hip hop artists were you really into at the time?
Hard to pick, but amongst my favourites I would say Public Enemy & Gangstarr. Public Enemy because of their message about freedom and revolution, whilst Gangstarr just had the best beats and rhymes, period! Also Supreme NTM, a French group. Theirs was the first concert I ever went to, in 1988.
Your alias DJ W!LD was taken from the early 80’s hip hop film Wild Style about New York graffiti artists, breakdancing, and freestyle MC’s. Grandmaster flash also makes an appearance with a scratch mix. Is there likeliness in the film to how you spent your youth and would you say it was a reflection of your personality?
Grafitting, breakdancing, the Zulu Nation… that was my life growing up. We did it all in Dijon in the late 80s!
It was inevitable you would eventually fall upon the French legend Laurent Garnier who become an idol to you as he has too many. When was your first exposure to his music and was it at this point you began to distance more from your hip hop roots?
As I mentioned Laurent was resident DJ at L’Enfer. One night he played this track by DBX, “Losing Control”, which has remained one of my favourite tunes to this day. I was about 16. It blew my mind right open about the possibilities of techno and the crazy atmosphere on the dancefloor!
As your production and DJ status escalated you were snapped up as Circoloco and DC10 resident in 2009, a brand and club which needs no introduction. What is it like being a part of such an iconic house and techno family and how has the platform helped shape your career from then on? How would you personally explain the atmosphere from your side of the booth during your sets at Circoloco?
It has affected my life, and my music, so much! I get to hear so many different styles of electronic music, and meet so many new artists. For me it’s about the music though, always. I’ve been playing regularly at DC10 for 5 years now. I would definitely say it’s the best, and most outrageous party in Ibiza! I feel really at home in the club, so it’s easy for me to slip into a rhythm and feel comfortable with the crowd and my surroundings.
Moving onto your record labels and how you met Chris Carrier. How did your friendship progress into your partnership and launch of Catwash Records?
Catwash Records was born with Chris. We used to make music together as Catwash – the project actually existed before the label. Funny you mention this, as after 4 years of concentrating on my own projects and labels, Chris and I are getting back in the studio together.
You also own one other label, W. How do the two differ musically?
Catwash is a label that releases many different styles of electronic music, and is also a big family, and provides a platform for new artists to break through (there are of course some more established artists on the roster as well). I play a lot of Catwash tracks in my sets. W is a label just for my tracks, and my remixes.
Your new album ‘When You Feel Me’ is released 19th September including 27 tracks spanning disco influenced house, tech house and techno. The full length preview was sent to us at Decoded and we were blown away. How long was the process of writing the album and can you talk us through some of your favourite tracks?
I’d say the double album is one part sexy house; the other part is darker, with more techno elements, but both around 118bpm. I can’t really pick any favourites, but can tell you that my influences for this record ranged from disco to Detroit techno, hip hop, jazz and some classical as well. RIP to Frankie Knuckles, big hero of mine and someone whose records will always stay in my bag.
I hope it’s safe to say we can expect more artist albums from you in the future?
I think so!
What are your current top 10 tracks doing damage for you at the moment?
DJ W!LD – Rue De Paradis (The W Label)
L’N’F – Green (Catwash Records)
DJ W!LD – Humide (The W Label)
Marko Nastic – Bucks Bucks (Ama Recordings)
Jordan Peak – Tones And Textures (Air London)
Ekkohaus – Squared (Turquoise Blue)
Carlos Sanchez – K15 (Unreleased)
DJ W!LD – When You Feel Me (The W Label)
Shenoda – Who Ver (ManMakeMusic)
Hanfry Martinez – 415688 (Overall Music)
Once again, thank you for taking the time out to chat with us. I wish you all the success with the launch of the album.
No problem, thank you.
DJ W!LD – When You Feel Me
2. Sweet Like Your Pussy
4. Love Every Day
5. Totally Fucked
6. Pool Party
7. End Of My Summer
8. Rue De Paradis
11. Si Si
12. Quand Tu Te Touches
1. Dans Ta Main
3. Au Bout Du Tunnel
5. Come To Me
10. If You Are
11. Ou Est-Il
12. Get Busy
13. When U Feel Me (Album Version)
14. Trop Vite
15. Wind Summer