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Monday 16th, April 2007
Ali Wilson Interview

UK DJ/producer Ali Wilson is about to release his storming debut artist album 'Watchmaker' - expect driving techno rhythms matched to soaring synth lines from a producer who is fast establishing himself at the forefront of the tougher end of UK dance. His year got off to a sensational start when none other than Carl Cox named Ali and his production partner Matt Smallwood his producers of 2006 - praise doesn't get much higher than that. Ali Wilson started off his production and DJing career on the hard dance scene with numerous hard hitting releases on labels like Vicious Circle, Nucluez and Tripoli Trax. Since then he has set up his own label Tekelec with a growing reputation of quality releases in a broad range of styles but always driven by a tough, funky groove. On Saturday 21st April at Turnmills, London, there is a double celebration where Ali will be launching his album and the download store trackitdown.net will be celebrating three years in the buisiness. We tracked him down at the um... trackitdown headquarters for a chat about what he's got coming up.

t.nu: Very soon you will be celebrating the launch of your first album ‘Watchmaker’. What can we expect from that, is it a mix of solo tracks and collaborations and is there anything that would surprise us on there?

AW: Yeah basically it’s a mix of solo projects and collaborations, there’s a few different styles on there, electro, techno, trance all mashed into one… funky but still driving. But yeah it’s half solo half collaborations.

t.nu: Is there any kind of meaning behind the album title?

AW: Yeah I was just surfing the internet looking for names and kinda stumbled across Watchmaker which is a theory of how the world began so I used that as the name and based the whole album around it, made a theme for it.

t.nu: Have you got a favourite track on the album?

AW: Erm… good question haha! I’ve been asked this quite a few times and each time I keep changing my mind… Wah Wah is definitely one of my favourites, big phat chunky groove… also Pangea that’s kinda tech trance and Clear Skies as well.

t.nu: Are you looking forward to the trackitdown.net third birthday party at Turnmills on the 21st April? Can we expect to hear the Watchmaker album in full?

AW: Yeah, yeah I’m really looking forward to it I can’t wait for it, every time I play down Turnmills is always a really good night, good DJs and a good crowd down there, I always look forward to playing Turnmills. You’ll probably hear most of the tracks from the album gonna use some slightly different mixes I’ve done, stuff that’s not be out yet at all, stuff I’ve done since I came back from Brazil…

t.nu: So you’ve just come back from Brazil how was that?

AW: Brazil was brilliant played a few gigs over there, played a huge club called Anzu, which was absolutely amazing I can very much describe it as a cross between Amnesia and Space in Ibiza… there’s gonna be a video on my myspace so yeah check it out!

t.nu: You’ve picked up a lot of praise and accolades in your DJing and production career, what is the one you are most proud of?

AW: The one I’m best proud of is Carl Cox rating myself and Matt Smallwood producers of 2006 he’s always been a DJ that we look up to, he’s always been the number DJ for me so for someone like him to say that about us is a real honour.

t.nu: You often work in the studio with many different producers, do you find it easier with someone else to bounce ideas off?

AW: I wouldn’t say I prefer it, I think its good to work with other people, when you work with other people you learn a lot from them and hopefully them learn from me.

t.nu: Where is your studio based and what kind of set up do you have?

AW: In my house in Sidcup… its purely software, a Mac G5 with Logic most of the synths and plugins you can get.

t.nu: Have you fully embraced the digital revolution or do you still play vinyl?

AW: I’m totally digital now stopped playing vinyl probably last year or it’s slowly become the way forward so yeah digital is the way to be.

t.nu: How is the DJing career going? Have you got any tours lined up?

AW: We’re currently arranging a tour for the album, we’ve got the trackitdown birthday then YES after that, we’re just trying to get things sorted out after all the hard work in the production of the album.

t.nu: You’ve enjoyed a pretty meteoric rise to the top – what were your big breaks?

AW: There’s been a couple of different ones, the first major one was Mixmag making me a Future Hero in 2003 then the one after that that’s done the most impact was Carl Cox giving us producers of 2006, so many DJs and clubbers respect him, everyone has respect for him so it’s really given us a big boost.

t.nu: So it’s brought you to a broader audience?

AW: Definitely, definitely since a lot of people have contacted us for remixing and doing work for them so its definitely been an extra boost.

t.nu: You seem to have a knack for creating euphoric melodies that don’t sound tacky, how do you come up with your ideas?

AW: Sometimes I’d be going to bed, be half asleep then a melody or a little riff will come into my head so I’d wake up, put my phone on and hum it into the phone or else I’d just forget it in the morning… if I try to remember it after going to sleep it just doesn’t happen!

t.nu: What’s been your craziest gig you’ve played so far?

AW: First one would be playing in Finland in an old ship warehouse, they could open the roof and during my set they opened the roof because it was summer it was still light so that was quite a crazy experience… also there’s Brazil that was just amazing, a thousand or so people in there, Fabio Stein played before me, really good night… the night is called A State Of Trance.

t.nu: Are there any producers and DJs you particularly admire at the moment?

AW: Yeah lots… Sander van Doorn is doing some really good stuff as he always does, Octagen, Gareth Emery, I think Fabio Stein is definitely one to watch too.

t.nu You also run the record label Tekelec… which artists can you recommend on that label as up and coming artists?

AW: Yeah Daniel Heathcliffe & DJ Observer – they just made a really simple but very catchy track, I was humming the melody for days!

t.nu: What with running the label Tekelec as well as being a prolific producer and DJ – what is the average week in the life of Ali Wilson like? Do you find time to relax?

AW: Well I’ve just taken on someone to manage the record label for me so I have more time to relax and be creative but yeah it’s still very busy. To relax I like watching DVDs, going down the pub having a few beers, spending time with my girlfriend and baby son and now the sun’s come out barbecues – love them. Everytime the sun pops out even for five minutes I get the barbecue out haha!

t.nu: So is your son a fan of your music yet?

AW: Yeah he loves music you put on a CD and he starts dancing around the room so he’s hooked from a very early age!

Many thanks for taking the time to do this interview with trance.nu and best of luck with the Watchmaker album launch!

The hear tracks from the album and watch videos of his Brazil tour head to http://www.myspace.com/djaliwilson


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