Will Atkinson has some massive gigs coming up with the Digital Society at the beginning of November and a step into the legendary Technoclub alongside Talla 2XLC on the 4th October. We caught up with Will for a chat about everything trance, Technoclub and beyond...
Will Atkinson; the 23 year old responsible for over 80 Radio 1 airplays since 2008, the man who engineered over 90 records between 2011 and 2013, the teenager who began producing at 14 and the boy who began mixing records at the age of 7...
Championing Judge Jules as one of the main reasons he got into Dance music after striking up a relationship following one of his gigs in 2008, Jules gave Will his first ever radio airplay, playing his track ‘Perpetual Sunrise’ back in 2008. This relationship continued with Will joining Judge Jules to play at Digital, Newcastle with the event recorded live as part of BBC Radio 1’s In New Music We Trust.
Will has since racked up over 80 BBC Radio 1 airplays from likes of Judge Jules, Pete Tong, Kutski & Simon Patterson. His track ‘Cloud Surfing’ was played 6 times over 6 consecutive weeks. His work has claimed numerous Number 1 spots on Beatport in the Trance, Psy-Trance & Breaks charts his productions have been signed to some of the biggest record labels with releases on Armada, FSOE, Subculture, Perfecto Fluoro, Spinnin Records, Vandit and Monster Records. Official remixes for Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Aly & Fila, John O’Callaghan, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Simon Patterson & Alex Morph top off Will’s very impressive discography to date.
With so many successful release’s & remixes to his name, Will has developed a string of A-list supporters. Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Eddie Halliwell, Paul Oakenfold, Simon Patterson, Judge Jules, John O’Callaghan, Paul van Dyk, Sander van Doorn have all shown support to his music.
Not content with what he has already achieved in the industry he created the alias ‘Darkboy’. Darkboy was created to focus on the darker, psychedelic elements of Trance. The first release under this new alias was signed to Perfecto Fluoro, “Darker Shades of Black” hit number 1 on the Beatport Psy-Trance chart. 2011 & 2012 he Engineered & co-wrote over 60 tracks & performed in USA, South Korea, Mexico, BAT festival Argentina, Luminosity, Poland, Iceland, Godskitchen, The Arches, Coloursfest & Goodgreef with 2013 saw his debut Spain, Hungary, Ibiza & 3 Beatport Top 10 releases.
2014 set to be his biggest year yet to date with tours in Australia, USA, festivals in Holland, Poland & Argentina.
His natural talent and un-rivalled passion for music with hard work is set to make him future star in the scene so keep your eyes peeled & expect a lot more from Will Atkinson very soon.
i:Vibes: Will thanks very much for talking to ivibes.nu. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? Has it been busier than last summer and what was your summer highlight? Let me just refresh your mind of this past July 12 days. 10 flights. 4 gigs. 2 countries.
Will: Hi! I'm currently sat in probably my favourite restaurant in the world – Lode Rober! In the middle of Buenos Aires, recovering from a hectic, but fantastic weekend. They bring in the best cuts of meat I have ever tasted and the wine is simply unbelievable. One of the promoters that books me here owns the place. This summer has been a step up from last year definitely. I've come straight from Ibiza via London so I've been utilising the free laundry to the max. I'm like the Hungover Price of Buenos Aires. In terms of Highlights, I had a pretty special moment in Ibiza last week surrounded by friends listening to Trance watching the sunset – the ultimate clubber's cliché.
i:Vibes: Before we talk about your debut in the legendary Technoclub in Frankfurt with Talla 2XLC, let us talk about your start in the music business. When you were living on the island of Orkney, how and what particular breathtaking track of Darren Tate inspired you for future own productions?
Will: There are so many tracks from him and others which have inspired me but particularly his production behind Angelic's “Stay With Me” was a defining track for me. Musically it was perfect and I loved the structure, it was a bit different. And coincidently – or not – the first record I ever bought.
i:Vibes: You have a lot to be thankful for Judge Jules for promoting your music on BBC Radio 1. How has your relationship with him grown over the years? How has his advice influenced you to go your route in the trance scene?
Will: I was always huge fan of Jules ever since hearing his show on Radio 1 for the first time back in the late 90's. Funnily enough, he was booked to open the doors Orkney's only ever Nightclub, “Fusion” back in 2002-2003 and I managed to stalk him down and get his autograph and email address. Since then I literally bombarded the poor guy with track after track and he always took the time to send back in depth feedback. He gave me my first break on Radio 1, airing my track Perpetual Sunrise and a year later asking me to perform at the In New Music We Trust event which was aired live on Radio 1. I owe a lot to the guy.
i:Vibes: One can say that you aren't lazy, but a producer that isn't shy to crank out release after release. You engineered over 90 records between 2011 and 2013. What is your secret between releasing high quality tracks? Do tracks ever stay behind and not get released just because you aren't thrilled with the outcome?
Will: I wish I could do the same for my own tracks! It's different when there's a golden carrot hanging on the end of each of these engineered projects. For my own music I will take a lot longer to finish – I'm never happy. I suppose it isn't a bad thing, but there are tracks I have just become bored which could have been huge. A lot of tracks I play out will never see a release. Some will work in a club but will not have enough weight behind it to go all the way as a release. But there are also a lot of tracks out there I wish I never released. Stuff I just released for the sake of releasing – a trap most producers fall into.
i:Vibes: One of your first credits was your remix for Planck on Momentum. When you look back at your start and review what you have done until today, how would describe the development of your sound? What was it in 2008 and what is it in 2014?
Will: Wow, I totally forgot I remixed that track HA! To be honest I feel like only now I'm beginning to find my sound. I've been all over the place since then and have experimented with various different sounds. Back then I could only describe my sound as very raw and almost tribal based and quite stripped back. Only these last 12 months I've started to become happy with my sound. My sound became too complex and now I've started stripping back again but this time with so much more sonic depth and I've really focused on the quality of mixdown. I think it often goes overlooked and sometimes you end up adding more to compensate for the poor mix. And that's when you start weighing the track down.
i:Vibes: You also release as Darkboy which was created to focus on the darker, psychedelic elements of Trance. It seems like psychedelic elements has become more of a force in the scene as trouse is slowly drifting away. How have you been following this new trend and where will it go?
Will: I would say Darkboy is perhaps focused more on the Industrial/Techno end of the Dance spectrum with hints of Psychedelic elements. I think initially the idea was to branch more down the Psy route but to be honest, I don't like trends and every man and his dog seem to be making and playing the stuff now. I want to discover new sounds that keep me excited and I'm happy with route Darkboy is taking now. I'm not sure where Psy will end up, it doesn't do much for me right now so I'm not too fussed.
i:Vibes: What I really like about you is that one could play Lotto and try to guess what you will make wrong and most definitely always be wrong simply you always surprise the scene with your music sound. Your titles are usually one word like Hravestor, Solitude, Eternally or Sunslip or a few, but one never knows exactly if it will be more progressive or melodic. How important is having that touch of surprise in your tracks in a scene where so much is re-filtered?
Will: Like I said, I'm happiest when I'm discovering new sounds and trying to change things up. I don't understand how you could be satisfied as a producer if you are following the same structure, same sound, same trend. Where are you going? What are you trying to do? Just keep up? To be honest I'm done with most Trance and I've never been so happy doing the stuff I'm doing right now. I don't know what it is. A bit of everything but I'm more excited than I've ever been with the direction I'm currently taking. Next year I'm taking it up a level.
i:Vibes: I thought that Eternally came out brilliantly. When you listen to this track especially the break where does that take you when you are spinning it up on the decks in your thoughts?
Will: Eternally for me was purely about the melody. It reminds of the stuff you would here perhaps back in 2003-2004 – a simply melody which had been lying around for a year or two on my computer but very emotional! It's a very personal track, about a few special individuals who have been and gone in my life. I tend to get quite emotional when I play it so try to avoid after I've had a few drinks HA. Sounds pathetic!
i:Vibes: You have released much on John O Callaghan´s label Subculture in the past like Hermosa. JOC spoke in only the best ton about you. The guy just keeps bringing it every day with new tracks, remixes and moving his label forward. How much longer will be until he really makes the big time? It seems like Armin has been at the top so long and one really could ingest a new face in that spectrum with a JOC or not?
Will: I would class John/Subculture as “Big Time” and appreciate the support John and his brand has started showing me over these last 12 months. The thing is, Armin has done his thing and hats off to the guy because it has worked, and that's why he has been at the top for so long. No one has come in and done anything different so why do people have a reason to search elsewhere. His brand is established and to be fair, without him Trance would not be half as big. Until someone comes in and starts pushing a new concept, something fresh, exciting – the current state of Trance so to speak, will not change.
i:Vibes: One of my favourite productions of you is your remix for Vivid Intent from Greg Downey. The break really did it form e. What is more difficult for you doing a remix or an own production?
Will: I enjoy remixing because it is your chance to have your own take on things and I suppose you have a bit of a head start with samples and melodies. I also enjoy the challenge of topping the original and usually set that as my basic goal in most remixes HA. But now that I am finding my sound, I'm enjoying more and more starting from scratch. No limitations, no direction to follow – a blank canvas for you to do whatever you want.
i:Vibes: Your new track Victims is excellent. It has so much happening in the track with a break that keeps you guessing. How long did you sit on this track and what was most difficult in getting this track in the perfect Will Atkinson way?
Will: I was back and forth with this track for months. It originally had a completely different breakdown and took a very balearic direction. It was like having a totally separate track slap bang in the middle and then back to darkness. It was too disjointed. I played it to a friend and that was the first thing he noticed so I realised I definitely had to go back and try something else. I kept on the dark tone, played around with some chords and everything just seemed to fall into place.
i:Vibes: You will be making your Technoclub debut on October 4th in Frankfurt, Germany. What do you exactly know about this legendary club? Your music has been featured on many CDs in the past?
Will: Although I have never visited Technoclub, I know it holds a rich history behind its doors and has served as a key part of the evolution of club and after party culture as we know in today's scene. So of course I feel honoured to be performing and making my debut at such an illustrious brand. I can't wait.
i:Vibes: When do you remember hearing the name Talla XLC for the first time? How has he had an effect on your music career with the music he produces?
Will: I have obviously known of him since I've been active in the scene though I've only met him once I think in Leeds after a gig – I think we were mid transit on our way to our next gigs. I've always been impressed he incorporates that almost 80's German Synth sound into his music. A true veteran of Trance that's for sure. Respect.
i:Vibes: Also there on this day will be UK mate Jordan Suckley. Will you reminisce with Jordan about your gig in Argentina where you thought you would never reach the gig as you were in a van not knowing what will happen next? How scared were you in that moment?
Will: HA Oh dear. I actually thought it was game over. I put on a brave face and tried to go along with it but all of us had no idea what was going on! Unbelievable. Next thing we knew there was balaclavas and machetes on the dashboard and 30 cars pulling up behind us. Absolute chaos. Hilarious to look back on but pretty scary at the time!
i:Vibes: What kind of DJ gig can we expect from you? You play every weekend around the globe. Do you ever prepare a set beforehand or is it all spur oft he moment and feeling the crowd as you play each new track?
Will: Obviously there will be tracks I will definitely play but I try not to worry too much about the order and arrangement of each set. I want to make each set as fresh as possible and surely that's what the clubbers are after too? It certainly was when I was clubbing but of course there were key tracks I expected to hear. Plus every gig is different. The sets I'm playing in Argentina this week wont be anywhere near like the sets I'll be playing over in Germany for example! It's a different crowd and as a DJ you need to be ready to cater for them to a certain extent.
i:Vibes: Why did Stay with me from Angelic persuade you to become a DJ?
Will: Before this I appreciated Trance music as a listener but I never had any intention of getting involved. But then I heard this, I think it was during a Judge Jules set live from Creamfields back in 2000 and the reaction from the crowd is the reason I am doing what I'm doing now. It blew my mind and just couldn’t get out of my head the feeling of having that sort of atmosphere in the palm of your hand. Does that make me a control freak?
i:Vibes: What future productions can we await from you? Are any plans of a new album in the pipeline as you have enough material? I heard there might be something in the works with Jordan Suckley?
Will: I have loads of stuff I'm finishing off at the moment but its simply finding the time which is the hard part. I'm halfway through transferring my studio set up onto my laptop so once that is done, if ever, I'll be able to take stuff on the road with my and finish. I've been testing out the follow up Isolator and it seems to be getting great reactions. I just need a name for it. I've also signed a track called Harvester to Kearnage and I'm also working on new material for Future Sound of Egypt. I will also be starting work on a track with Jordan at the end of the year.
i:Vibes: You recently played at the Trance Sanctuary at Egg London with jocks Menno De Jong and Signum. What kind of experience was this and what was the biggest track of the night that got the most response?
Will: This was probably one of favourite shows this year and I genuinely believe they will be rivalling Ministry soon. The crowd are purely there for the music and this is reflected with the turnouts of such underground bookings. You could barely move last Saturday it was that packed. For me, Victims simply exterminated the place. Chow ding bada bada bing.
i:Vibes: You hate needles. If the trance doctor came to you and said, „Will with this injection, you will have 5 straight number one hits at Beat Port and one will make the top 10 in the Brit charts, would you let him inject you? Lol
Will: HA! Brutal question but that is hilarious. I really can't do needles no matter what, so I'd rather see it as a challenge to get 5 number ones and a top 10 Brit hit without having to get a needle stuck in me. That would surely be even more impressive?
i:Vibes: You recently met Italian music wizzard Mauro Picotto at Refresh festival in Montenegro. If you were to make a 2014 remix of Komodo, how would it sound?
Will: Not as good as the original!
i:Vibes: There is another Will Atkinson playing football fort he Southend United. If you guys changed jobs for a day who would do the better job?
Will: HA HA this guy keeps popping up in tweets and on my page. I wanted to play football before I got into music and I still play a little so I'm sure the result wouldn’t be as catastrophic as placing the Will Atkinson of Southend in front of a pair of decks and asking him to bosh it out. But who knows, maybe he does have an uncharted passion for full on pounding club music HA.
i:Vibes: What are your five all time favourite tracks in no particular order?
Will: Dogzilla – Without You Angelic – Stay With Me Biffy Clyro – All The Way Down Vince Watson – Everything Changes Simon Patterson - Latika
i:Vibes: If you were to have your last DJ set ever, with what track would you end your DJ set?
Will: Dogzilla – Without You
:: Will will be making his debut at the Technoclub on the 4th October! Check out some of his finest beats right below.