DJ Awards Feature Interview – Will Clarke – The Bristol scene has always been a solid place to be bought up in, although I was never that into Drum n Bass at a young age there was always amazing parties going on somewhere.

As part of our support for the DJ Awards, we sat down recently with a number of the Newcomer nominees to discuss their careers, the nomination and more. Next up is Bristol born house artist Will Clarke.

Will first blew up on the scene in early 2014 when his Big Booty EP was released on Worthy ’s Anabatic label, later picking up support from Jamie Jones and MK during the festival season that year. Like many artists, Will Clarke’s sonic palette comes his experiences and influences from home and afar. The roots of his sound stem from both his hometown of Bristol and his seasonal home in Ibiza, which has forged Will’s style; a style that fuses the best of Bristol’s bass elements with the upfront house music sensibilities of the white isle.

UK Editor Simon Huxtable sat down recently to chat to Will about his nomination, Life on the road and more.

Hi Will, great to meet you. Thanks for finding the time to chat with us from Decoded Magazine.

Hi guys, thanks for having me.

Congrats on the nomination for Best Newcomer at this year’s DJ Awards. Aside from industry validation, what does this nomination mean to you?

So yeah the nomination, it’s crazy really, it’s not something I would’ve thought I would be nominated for. However for me, it’s nice to be recognised for what I’ve been doing over the past 12 years of hard work and finally making my hobby into a career.

Like me, you’re a West Country lad. How do you think the diverse musical heritage of your hometown has shaped your tastes?

As I’m sure you agree the Bristol scene has always been a solid place to be bought up in, although I was never that into Drum n Bass at a young age there was always amazing parties going on somewhere. I used to go to hip hop parties, techno parties, the occasional psytrance event and then would get roped into going to drum n bass nights too. So I guess my music has taken influences from the early days of when I would be in Bristol. That’s also the thing I like about artists from the city, nobody is afraid to be an actual artist and stand for what they believe in. It’s an amazing community to be part of.

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Let’s head back a few years to when Big Booty dropped. Can you tell us a little about the back story behind getting signed the Anabatic?

It kind of started with a bit of pot luck really, I was really into the label and some of the artists signed to Anabatic were getting bigger names for themselves. So my manager sent a couple of tracks over to Worthy. Honestly, I didn’t think he would get back to us, although a week later we received an email saying he wanted to sign ‘Drop it’ but wasn’t too keen on the others and needed a B-side.

This is where Big Booty came into play, I had it sitting in my folder of unsigned tracks, I loved it but I didn’t think anyone else would so I didn’t send it out. On an off chance we sent that over and Worthy said it was perfect for a B-side. It’s crazy to think about as I wrote that track in about an hour.

That EP really put you on the map with support from Jamie Jones and MK to name but two. How did you feel at the time?

Fucking awesome. Even though I’d been producing for years before that it was my first track that got real support from all the artists I aspired to be. Words can’t describe that shit.

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Of course following that, Claude Vonstroke contacted you and you began your adventure with Dirtybird. How has the stability of having a world renowned label behind you affected your creativity and output? Do you feel a pressure to produce a certain way?

After “Big Booty” came out it was actually a super hard time for me if I’m honest, I didn’t know what direction to go down I was trying to copy other sounds and be like other people rather than myself. I actually took a break from music for about a year and was going to open a club.

Thank god the club fell through and I got the music bug back, I just went back into the studio with a fresh head on me and I started to make music that I enjoyed. That’s when my tracks started to get signed to Dirtybird. It was mad because I signed my first track then Claude signed another 5 tracks off me that year. I think then it wasn’t pressure of actually signing tracks but it was the pressure from me of wanting to write better tracks each time so every release I did was better than the last.

We understand you have a few collaborations with some Dirtybird label mates out soon…

Yeah, well I’ve had ‘Back to The Jungle’ which is a collab with Justin Martin which actually came out on his album in April. Myself and Shiba San have just released a track called ‘Give It To Me’, that’s on the Secret Sauce EP on Dirtybird. Other collabs have been done but we are still touching up some bits before we announce them.

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What else is forthcoming this year?

Well, I’ve just had a remix released on Lee Foss’s Repopulate Mars, I have another remix coming out on Cajual and an EP on Dirtybird in September time. Then off for another tour of America in October along with gigs in Europe throughout the summer.

We all love a good tour story. Can you recall any funny times on your recent Dirtybird Australia/Americas tour?

This is always the hardest question I swear…. Yes, there are always funny stories, I was playing at the Dirtybird Campout and I was playing my track ‘Spandex’ (silly track talking about superheroes) then all of a sudden two pink Power Rangers come up behind me and start dancing. But the thing is I didn’t realise they were there and everyone was trying to grab my attention and I was too focused on what track to play next. Anyway, they eventually got my attention and it was fucking hilarious two guys about 6ft tall dressed in pink Power Ranger suits. Genius!

Haha and you’ve toured again this year already. How was ‘Will & Bills Excellent Adventure’?

It was so much fun I actually based myself in LA at the time as well, so I fully got into the American lifestyle. But the tour was crazy I think we did 30 shows in 3 months touring 3/4 times a week, we got to play in so many cities.

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Touring life is hard. I was speaking recently to David August who found the late nights really didn’t agree with him. He said by the end of the tour he felt very demotivated about everything because he was constantly tired. How do you deal with the pressures on the road?

Yes, I totally agree in some ways, however, I like to keep healthy so I don’t drink or take drugs, even though I love a good burger I tend to eat well, for nearly every show I go to the gym beforehand or do some sort of exercise. At the end of the day, I look at it as there is going to be some downsides to having the best job in the world. I can live with being tired, it’s a small price to pay.

Brexit has been on everyone’s mind these last few weeks. Social media draws out the political commentator in all of us, but is it the right arena for the discussion to take place? Does it fuel the fire of hate? What are the alternatives?

Personally, I feel we should’ve stayed in however I do feel now that the country has decided to leave I think everyone should pipe down and just get on with it. Media is the fuel to every conflict in the world, 95% of politicians talk shit, I just wish people would actually realise this and ignore it. The day we ignore the media and get on with our lives is the day that the world will be a happier place.

Will, let’s finish off things there. We wish you the best of luck for the future and with the DJ Awards nomination. Is there anything is closing you’d like to add?

Thank you so much, guys. I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone that has followed me along the way. Also, party hard, keep safe and don’t forget to cuddle… It solves all your problems!

You can vote for Will Clarke along with all the other nominations for Best Newcomer at the 2016 DJ Awards here.