For artists outside of the US music scene, it’s sometimes extremely hard to break in. One UK musician is sure to soon break that wall. I introduce to you Wilkinson, a drum and bass artist based out of London. With his extraordinary talent and ear for music, I’m sure it won’t be long before you hear his hits on the radio.
Can you introduce yourselves to our readers?
I’m a drum and bass producer from South West London. I’ve been making tunes for about 10 years. Since I was about 16, and I’m 26 now. I’m writing my second album at the moment. My first single from that album is called “Flatline” featuring Wretch32.
How did the two of you meet?
We’re both from London. He heard one of my tunes and I reached out to him. Then he hit me up and we got in the studio. We’ve written a few tunes but this one (Flatline) was a special one. It’s taken a while. It started off as just a hip hop beat. It’s had various different changes to the song but I finally finished it a couple of months ago. It’s got a guy called Talay Riley, who wrote the chorus.
It’s basically a song about being on stage and that feeling that you get. Wretch is just an amazing lyricist who has just played on so many words and so many cultural and social things. It’s amazing if you listen to the lyrics and the way his words relate. There’re lots of amazing vocals on Flatline.
What inspired the song Flatline?
I was in the studio with Talay and we were playing around with some ideas and choruses. I found a Ronnie Foster sample sampled by A Tribe Called Quest in Electric Relaxation. It was a guitar sample. A lot of my ideas come from listening to other music and samples. A bit like how hip hop is created. We looped the sample and started writing lyrics over it for the chorus and got a beat behind it.
Then Wretch came down to the studio and I played it for him. He loved it. We sat in the studio all day and he was pacing around writing lyrics and working out the structure. It’s just one of those songs that came together with a really good story to it. I think watching him in the studio and the way he works is like poetry, you know?
I wanted it to be right before I released it, so it took a while. I was working on the production for ages. I’ve got a live horn section in there that took awhile to mix. I finished it a few months ago.
It’s played on Annie Mac on the radio. She’s quite a big deal here in the UK. She’s a massive taste maker and DJ. So that was really good and it’s had a great reaction. I’ve been playing it live in Europe and the UK. I just performed it in London.
How did you get into music?
I’ve played drums since the age of 9. The drummer’s always sitting at the back and he’s the guy that everyone tells to shut up and stuff like that. (laughs) I never really had much input in the making songs side of being in a band. I just really wanted to get into that and I found that through music production, one man can put a song together. That’s really what I started doing.
I learned all the software and built up my songwriting skills. How to make bass lines and use synthesizers, etc. I did that until I was about 21. Then I got signed to Ram Records. Which is run by Andy C, a big DJ, a drum and bass DJ from Essex. We’ve just been releasing records ever since.
I wrote my first album “Lazers Not Included,” I released that in 2013. Since then my music has developed.
What can fans expect from your new tour and do you plan on touring the US in 2016?
At the moment, we’re working on it. I’ve got a live show now. I was originally a DJ and I wanted to put together a live show. So that I could perform my tracks in the way that I conceived them in the studio. Instead of just pressing play, like being a DJ. I got a guitarist. I’ve got an amazing drummer and vocalist. I’m planning to bring that over to the US at some point. It’s just a matter of time and a matter of my music connecting over there because it’s very different to the UK.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of Electric Daisy Carnivals. They do them in Las Vegas. It’s run by a company called Insomniac Events. They’re a big dance festival. So I’ve toured the US already. I’m hoping to tour again later again this year.
I think honestly with social media it’s a lot easier for UK artists to break into the US. Through the internet and through social media that’s how I found artists like Wretch32, Tinie Tempah, and Labrinth. It’s really expanded my musical horizon.
Yeah, that’s good. It’s one of those things and I know that especially Grime is blowing up in the states. It’s different for drum and bass, though. It’s always been in the US, but I don’t think the majority of people get it yet. I mean I’ve played at festivals and a lot of people do get it but at the moment, there’s this big sort of EDM boom over in the states.
I understand! You’ve collaborated with many artists. Are there any artists you haven’t collaborated with that you would like to?
I’d love to do a collaboration with Prodigy. They’ve always been a massive inspiration and I’ve remixed one of their tracks. They asked me to remix it. Which was an amazing honor, but I’d really like to do something else with them. I think I’d learn a lot. It’s like one of those bucket list things.
You have a new album coming out. What can fans expect from it??
It’s like the next step from my last one. It’s sort of me fooling around and I’ve learned a lot about music. I’ve learned about different sounds and how people respond to different songs. I just learned about different genres of music. That’s changed my style and the way I write music slightly. This is a step forward in my production career and also represents where I am at the moment.
Hopefully, this will be a snapshot of the last two years of my life musically. I think that’s what an album is about actually. You’re putting yourself on the line and it’s a snapshot of where you are at that time. It’s still gonna be harder records and club records. I’ve met a lot of new vocalists that inspired me and I’ve found some amazing voices that aren’t well-known, but they’re really talented people. I’ve worked with some really talented musicians. I’m excited to showcase that on my album. That’s what fans can expect.
I like that because there are a lot of very, very talented people out there who just need that break.
I think that’s like me, you know? That’s how everyone starts. It’s also exciting working with someone who hasn’t necessarily found their sound or the way that they want to sing. You can really do a lot to that. There’s really so many exciting opportunities in the studio for someone who knows they love singing but is put into this new realm of fast dance music. You can fit a lot of musical content into it, but the driving force is the drums and the bass.
Whenever I work with a new vocalist and they haven’t really heard my songs they get really excited from the power of it. That is what’s exciting about working with fresh vocalists. You never know how far you can push them. It’s exciting.
We at TNWU all have something nerdy/geeky about us. What is something nerdy or geeky about you?
Music production is the nerdy or geekiest thing, you know. Where I sit every day and I look at computers. At the moment, I’ve got my computer open and I’m programming synthesizers and envelopes. So that’s a pretty geeky thing. In fact, it’s the geekiest thing in my life. (laughs). When I make music, it takes so much twisting of the knobs and calculations and things like that.
Where can you find Wilkinson online: