[Interview] Will Clarke Talks Dirtybird Takeover at Imagine Festival 2017

Will Clarke

Will Clarke talked with us about his approaching set at Imagine Festival with Dirtybird Records labelmates Claude VonStroke, Shiba San, Ciszac and Dateless. The Dirtybird Players stage is anticipated to bring the good-time-for-everyone atmosphere all Dirtybird events are popular for creating.

In the interview, Will gave us a look into what it’s like traveling the world doing what he loves. He also shared plans for his future record label, which will provide a home to the music he makes outside of his familiar “Big Booty” sound.

Although a bit hesitant to fully disclose the “#DoingItforCuddles” origin, Will did open up about intriguing topics like his favorite music, overcoming obstacles as a DJ and his immense love for sugar. Read the full conversation below:

So you’re in Calgary right now. Are you touring or on break?

I’ve got a couple of weeks off. I start The Cuddle Club Tour on the 14th of September. I’m in Calgary chilling and then I head back to Detroit for a week. Then I start the tour. I just moved to Detroit for a few months so I’ll be setting up where I’m staying.

Tell us the details on your radio show The Barbershop on 93.5FM. It’s doing very well.

The show is a monthly radio show. It goes out on Revolution in Miami. EDC has just taken it for their radio show on iHeartRadio starting in September. I don’t really do mixes or put live recordings out. I don’t really like my sets being recorded because I’d rather people come see me. So if they want to hear mixes they can listen to the radio show. I will do mixes here and there for magazines and things like that, but they’re not generally live mixes. We did Coachella and Holy Ship live. A lot of my sets are unsigned music I’d rather people hear in person than on a recording.

When does the show air?

In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, you can catch it the first Wednesday of every month at 11 p.m.. It goes on my Soundcloud, Youtube, Mixcloud and I also have an iTunes podcast you can subscribe to. The last show in August we had Claude VonStroke on there. I don’t get people to mix – I actually interview them and play their tracks. The show is called The Barbershop and the interview section is called The Barber’s Chair. It’s doing really well. We’re nearly at two years of doing the show.

Speaking of your live show, we got a lucky surprise and saw you open for Rabbit in the Moon in Orlando recently. How did you end up on that gig?

The guys asked me to play. I don’t really know how it came about. We had like three options for an Orlando show. I’m still building my fanbase in Orlando and I wanted to do something a little bit different for people who have probably never heard of me. I’m trying to do that in a lot of cities, and bring on support acts who have a different fanbase than me. We just decided to do Rabbit in the Moon. It did really well. It was a really good show.

Your sound sometimes has a bit of an old school house vibe to it so it flowed well with the Rabbit in the Moon show.

Yeah, I don’t know where that comes from. I take a lot of influences from older stuff.

Did you mostly listen to house music growing up?

Yeah pretty much. I’m from the Bristol area in the U.K., which is the southwest. A lot of people in the southwest listen to drum and bass and dubstep. The original dubstep kind of came from the Bristol area. I didn’t really like it at the time and mostly listened to soulful house like Frankie Knuckles, Masters at Work, people who had a very Defected Records kind of vibe. My brother introduced me to it when I was about seven or eight.

Then I started listening to bands like Chemical Brothers and Prodigy. It went from there really. I like the old school bands who weren’t just producers. I saw Face Lift about six or seven times. They’re probably my favorite dance band.

Did you know at a young age you wanted to be a DJ and make records? What has the process been like?

Since I was nine years old I knew I wanted to do something with music. I started DJing when I was nine. My first club set was when I was thirteen in Bristol. I did a few residencies from when I was seventeen to twenty one.

From the age of sixteen I was writing music. I never really took writing music that seriously but when I was twenty I knew I needed to write music to move forward and be more noticed. I locked myself away in the studio from the age of twenty-one to twenty-three.

I went through a stage of quitting music actually because I was so frustrated with it. Then I went to open a club and the day we were going to start working on the club it fell through. I started writing again and then I signed to Dirtybird. That’s pretty much my life story in about two minutes.

How long ago was it when you signed with Dirtybird?

I signed a record in 2014 but it didn’t come out until 2015. So there was a bit of delay.

How did the #DoingItFortheCuddles idea come about? It seems like there’s an interesting story there.

(laughs) The whole cuddle thing is an inside joke with me and four of my closest friends back home. There’s a story behind that – but, yeah – it’s just a joke. I just started hashtagging it whenever I would post “doing it for cuddles” and it seemed to catch on. I turned it into a clothing brand. We’re about to launch a new line in mid-September.

And the booty theme? Obviously it’s the type of music you play, but is there more to it?

It’s just the music I like. I’m starting a label this year or the beginning of next year to release the music people wouldn’t necessarily hear me release on Dirtybird. I play it at my shows but it’s not on the label I’m signed to. It’s different. I don’t know how to classify it – maybe more mature music that I’ve always written but it doesn’t get signed because it’s not what the labels are looking for. I’m looking forward to that as well to change things up for next year.

Dirtybird Players Imagine Festival

We’re looking forward to the Dirtybird Players stage takeover at Imagine Festival. Describe the sounds we’ll be getting from the other players.

It’s going to be good. Ciszak and Dateless are very booty house. Shiba is more into more bassline-driven music. I’m into what I play and Barclay will do his thing. It’s going to be a good day. I’m looking forward to it. The lineup is always fun when you’ve got all the Dirtybird guys together. We always have fun at individual shows but when everyone is together it’s always a bit more of a party. We just have a laugh and it’s a different vibe at our stages. We play serious music but we have fun. We’re not trying to be like the chinstrokers who want to be cool. We’re just playing good music for everyone and music we love.

I think it’s also the characters signed to the label that makes the party what it is. If you go to the Dirtybird Campout, all of the original Dirtybird crew members are there for the whole weekend. Everyone is hanging with everyone that goes to the festival. It’s like that at every party and it will be like that at Imagine. It’s more family oriented than if you just go to play and leave.

I took a look at your recent show schedule and you are jet setting to and from all different areas of the States and Europe. What is your travel lifestyle like? How do you manage it?

I’m super lucky. I don’t drink or do drugs. Traveling for me is easy. I don’t have hangovers every day. I try to train at the gym and keep healthy. I cook diet food. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I haven’t slept in two days and I have to play a show, but the show makes it all worth it.

For instance, last weekend I played a show on Saturday night in London. Straight from the show I had to drive Queenfield which is four hours away for a daytime set. Then straight from Queenfield I had to drive back to London for a secret set. So that was another four-hour drive and I didn’t finish until 7 a.m.. I got to the hotel at 7:30 with forty hours of no sleep. But all the shows were amazing so it makes up for it. The whole lack of sleep is fine as long as I look after myself and keep fit. We’ll sleep eventually.

What type of food do you eat to keep your energy up?

I do like a good burger…which is never healthy. That’s the one thing I struggle with in America because I don’t find the foods to be as healthy as back home. I eat standard food – meat and vegetables. I gave up soda, which is weird because I love soda. Since then I’ve felt healthier.

Yeah, sugar crashes can be bad in the long run.

Sugar is amazing though! Sugar is the best thing man created.

It sounds like you have a sweet tooth.

Yeah, I’m actually drinking chocolate milk as we’re talking right now.

What does your gear set up look like for DJing and producing?

I use four decks and a mixer when I’m DJing. I want to start incorporating some live stuff but that’s going to be next year. We’re working on a project for that. With producing it depends if I’m in the studio at home or on the road. If I’m in the studio at home I have quite a lot of hardware. I just bought a new drum machine so when I’m on the road I travel with that. I travel with a little synth thing, but nothing too much. It’s mainly in-the-box stuff on the computer.

What environment do you prefer to create in?

On the road it’s generally just writing ideas down and working on remixes I have to do. I like to sit down and enjoy the studio when I’m at home and can write properly. I don’t really find hotel rooms or airplanes all that inspiring…unless I’m working on my edits for my DJ sets.

Is there anything else you’d like to promote that we haven’t mentioned?

I have the new track release with Claude Von Stroke called “Tiny Tambourine.” It’s out now. I’ve got some remixes coming up – one with Big Gigantic and one with Becky Hill. She’s a U.K. singer. I have a release coming out next month on Defected Records. It’s a collaboration with me and Huxley. And my Cuddle Club Tour starts this month until the 24th November. You can see the dates and get tickets on www.djwillclarke.com/cuddleclubtour.

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