Currently one of the UK’s hottest Drum & Bass producers, Wilkinson‘s career has been in the ascendency for a while. Best Breakthrough Producer at the D&B Awards 2012 was followed by Radio 1 play listing for the single ‘Need To Know’, while the more recently released ‘Afterglow’ became Zane Lowe‘s Hottest Record in the World and went Top 10, all driving momentum to his debut album ‘Lasers Not Included’.
The Wrap Up‘s James Walsh caught up with Wilkinson to get to get to grips with his eclectic musical background, what to expect from his debut offering and to discuss his favourite live show…
The Wrap Up: Wilkinson! What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Wilkinson: I was into the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Offspring until I was 12 when I discovered hip-hop and became a big fan of Nas, Tribe Called Quest and Jurassic 5. I was in a jazz band as well, it was pretty diverse! I was 16 when I discovered Drum & Bass through a mix CD and that got me hooked!
TWU: How did you go from enjoying listening to Drum and Bass to creating hit records?
Wilkinson: I got shown a bit of music tech at school when I was 14 and played around then, nothing too serious, but it interested me. I started making nonsense and then when I got into Drum & Bass I got more intrigued as to how it was made – the samples and synths. It took me ages to get it right. It sounds silly but I thought there was so much more to it. Eventually the years of practice in my room lead to a record deal.
TWU: How would you personally describe your sound?
Wilkinson: To be honest I don’t know. It’s more in the production than the style of music. I make it to have impact whether on the dance floor or emotionally, it hits you in a way that’s not generic. I’ve explored different things on the album and it’s more of a musical journey.
TWU: Your debut album is called ‘Lasers Not Included’. What’s the reason for naming it that, what can people expect from it and what do you hope they take away from listening to the album?
Wilkinson: The name is always difficult. For me it’s more about the music than the noises traditionally used on dance tracks. No laser sounds. It’s an album you can listen to at home but also in a club to get the full package. I’ve loved the opportunity to get involved with some new artists and vocalists.
TWU: So many artists say they can’t pick a favourite song on their albums, but are there any that stand out for you on yours?
Wilkinson: I definitely have some favourites. ‘Afterglow’ as I wrote that not meaning for it to be a Top 10 with its old school, liquid style. ‘Half Light’ as when I play it out it gets a massive reaction and is a real moment in the night. I’d say ‘Too Close’ too. It was very organic to make, shows the more musical side of Drum and Bass, started out as something to move to and came together as a song really well. I enjoyed making the whole thing though!
TWU: You’re performing at Brixton Academy on November 1. You must be looking forward to that show? What can people expect from it?
Wilkinson: Well it’s going to be the album launch at Brixton so it’s going to be a different set to usual. Becky, Arlissa and P Money are all going to be there live. I plan to play my set, bring it down a bit and go all out with the performance. I’m nervous but excited as it’s not something I’ve done before.
TWU: What’s been your favourite set to date?
Wilkinson: One of my favourites was Bestival. It was a mad situation. The tent was further away from the rest of the festival and was empty before my set but soon enough there was 1000 ravers, all in fancy dress and it was an incredible vibe with it being the last festival of the summer. I’ve never felt so connected with a crowd before.