We caught up with Ipswich, England born producer Villem. The talented and diverse producer, who has releases on such labels as, Metalheadz, Med School, Warm Communications and Utopia Music to name a few, took time from his usual routine of music, squash and enjoying a few beers to talk with us about discovering Drum N Bass, his early days of producing on a Playstation and upcoming projects.
For those that might be new to the genre or your name please introduce yourself?
Hi, I DJ/Produce under Villem, most known in the Drum & Bass world, friends/family call me Drew/Andrew/Wilson
Outside of DnB what is your life like? Daily routines? Passions? Habits?
Daily routines change rapidly, but if I had a perfect day it would be get up and start writing music in my underwear, and be so hyped on the tune that I keep going all day until I either starve or my girlfriend comes home from work, and seeing [that] I have the 1000 yard producer stare. When [I] spend all day working on music I get into a weird state, where I forget about everything else and just work on as much music as possible. Now this is not sustainable, as I would go insane, so I try to get outside as much as possible by biking in the sunshine or playing squash, or popping down the road for a beer or two.
What were you into before drum n bass? how is that incorporated into you sound now?
I was into NWA, The Prodigy, rave tape packs – I always wanna have a either the rude bwoy screw face or a decent dancing jig going on when writing music, oh and a blissed out gurn on luscious Bukem like pads.
Do you remember how you discovered drum and bass?
My friend Geoff who had some Technics decks but not 1210s, some mad ones with a pitch control at the front, about 3 inches long was next to impossible to move the pitch without it going super fast or slow. He had some happy hardcore and jungle records, although I never thought of them like that – Super Sharp Shooter was a big one, rewinding the gunshots to get an extra shot was hi end tech DJing in our world – many a happy time train wrecking mixes and getting super leaaaan (ps I don’t smoke weed no more, I get asked a lot when out and about, its rare for someone into Drum & Bass to not smoke weed, I feel I did my fair share back in my late teens/early twenties to make up for it).
How long have you been producing? When did you take the leap and decide to do this full throttle?
Does making music on Music 2000 count? Me and my brother Ben, aka Fields (Utopia Music) used to make music on the Playstation, and leave the computer on over night so we could carry on the next day (you would lose the song if you shut down the Playstation), super crude productions but having fun and not thinking to much about the future. From there went to Kingston Univeristy and studied musical composition, learning how to score for instruments such as the prepared piano,saxophone, trombone and violin, earned awards and special mentions along the way.. [It] was still shit in my mind, kept going making shit tunes until I had something I was semi proud of [it] took a long time and didn’t come easy to me. I just gutted it out and worked and worked at it until I had something resembling music, its still a work in progress.
You have made quite the name for yourself through your solo efforts and collaborations. What do you attribute your passion and success to?
Success is down to good old fashioned hard work in the studio. I love the flow state of working on music with no agenda, also like working with a specific idea as well. I think its the combination of enjoyment of the process of creating music, then finishing a track, and getting feedback from fans and labels, not found anything as satisfying as that.
One thing I do really enjoy is collaborating with people, it helps me be less critical and more ‘get on and finish it’. I attribute my personal feelings into my solo productions and sometimes this holds me back, working with others just eases that feeling and enables me to work quicker and with less doubt.
Speaking of collaborations, tell us about Mute.
Mute is Villem & Fields, we haven’t written anything for a few years, studios always open thou.
Tell us about your current releases.
Released at the moment is Riya feat Dynamite MC- Fear Bites (produced Villem & Mcleod) on Spearhead Records, has done very well on the download charts and we’re all super happy with hows its been received. Its probably my most accessible release to date, singing for the girlies, MC for the rude bwoys, bassline for the heads.
Riya’s album is about to drop with 4 x Villem & Mcleod productions on there. [It was an] awesome experience to work with one of the top Drum & Bass vocalists (big up Laura!). Working with Mcleod on that project was an a big learning experience for us both, and we worked hard to get the sound we wanted.
Villem & Mcleod – Aint No Way/Make Tomorrow/Saved You was released on Warm Communications on 100 x Pink Marbled Vinyl that looked like Strawberry Swirl ice cream, all three tracks did well, getting support from a lot of people we respect.
Can you tell us about any projects that we can look out for?
Spearheard Records 4 track EP with Mcleod & Riya
Metalheadz 4 track EP with Digital
Metalheadz 4 track EP with Phase (feat Steo)
Spearhead Records LP with Mcleod
Spearhead Records 4 track EP with BCee
Last thing you listened or album you have purchase to outside of DNB?
The Potatohead People – Big Luxury: pure next level extension of Dilla
Last embarrassing moment?
None come to mind, obviously need to get drunk more.
Last thing you had deja vu about?
Never have deja vu, definitely used to, but haven’t for years, probably to busy looking at my phone.
Last piece of advice that has stuck with you?
Work hard, and smart – what that means I still haven’t figured out, but there is no substitute for hard work, anyone who’s successful in there chosen field has worked very very hard.