Hey Wilkinson, thanks for your time. Where are you now and what are you up to?
Hey guys, I’m in Ibiza. Just recovering from last night at Amnesia before I head to Italy this afternoon. My head hurts.
Congratulations on another banger! ‘Illuminate’ is Another excellent track! It’s not the first time you’ve worked together – why did you decide to work with Sub Focus again over a new collab partner, and what was different about collaborating this time?
Thanks! We’re really proud of it. It came off the back of releasing ‘Take It Up’ last year and then doing a bunch of back to back shows this summer at places like Rampage, Glastonbury, Dour, and Let It Roll. So, it felt like the right time to get back in the studio together and make another banger.
How do you scout for collaborations and do you have a long list of artists you want to work with?
There’s no real science to collaborating really. I’ve worked with a bunch of different artists over my career like Becky Hill, Wretch 32, P Money, Naughty Boy, etc. More recently with Dimension and also Metrik. With Nick (Sub Focus) – we’ve always thrown around the idea of working together. For me collaborations just have to feel organic and the right thing to do for the music.
Did you work together in person making ‘Illuminate’, or was it done via the internet?
In person. That’s always the best way. You can’t beat being in a room together.
I’m very picky with music but I’ll definitely be adding ‘Illuminate’ to my gym playlist alongside ‘Sweet Lies’, two of my favourite Drum ‘n’ Bass tracks. Which is your favourite D&B track, and why?
Ah thank you. My fav D&B record of all time? That’s too hard a question for my post Amnesia, Ibiza brain to take this morning. But I grew up listening to everyone in D&B from High Contrast’s ‘True Colours’ album to being obsessed by Dillinja’s drums. There’s so many and I’m constantly being inspired by other artists both in and out of our scene. Outside of D&B I’m really feeling what Flume, John Hopkins and Bonobo are doing. Artists who make music for the right reasons and have next level production values.
You must be feeling pretty hyped after THE festival season having performed alongside the likes of Martin Garrix, Tinie Tempah, and Craig David for South West Four, as well as DJing overseas in Belgium and Czech Republic. You also had frequent performances at Together Amnesia this summer! Which set was your Favourite and why?
Yeah, it’s been a crazy summer. I’ve done something like 35 festivals and the first one back in May feels like a lifetime ago! Ibiza is always great; this island is very special to me. But when it comes to festivals… Glastonbury takes the crown every time. I love that place.
I’m a firm believer that we’re all constantly Learning. Do you agree with this statement, and if so, what’s the latest thing you have learnt?
Absolutely. If you are not learning, you’re going backwards. Latest thing I’ve learnt? Probably some geeky production technique which I won’t bore you with. But also, I’ve been learning about balance, or trying to at least. The balance between doing the job I love and finding time to enjoy life with family and friends. Balance is hard, but balance is everything.
For new DJs and producers out there, what advice would you give them in order to get noticed?
Just stick to your guns. Keep going. This business is really tough and competitive, but if you love what you do, it never feels like a real job. Just trust your gut and keep pushing. Timing and luck play a big part and luck can come when you least expect it!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job?
I love touring and performing, but honestly just being in the studio and creating music is the best day for me. that’s why I got into this, and making music is the foundation for everything else.
Do you have a goal in mind of how frequently you want to release music, and do you have any deadlines or pressures to do so?
Myself and my team always have goals, deadlines, and strategy. We push each other constantly and an artist needs that to get to the next level. There are no real rules in how much music an artist should release. Some release one single a year and that does the job, others release every month. But for me, most importantly, it’s about quality control and being proud of every bit of music I release.
Highlight of your career so far?
I’m lucky, I’ve had a few. Obviously ‘Afterglow’ going top 10 and becoming a platinum selling record, but also the release of both my albums. Likewise… selling out Brixton Academy and headlining Rhythm & Vines festival in New Zealand. That’s my favourite country and the people are just amazing.
What does the rest of 2019 and 2020 look like for Wilkinson?
Super busy. I have my club brand ‘Sleepless’ European Tour this Autumn, loads of other shows, more releases ready to go, and then back to New Zealand to headline a bunch of festivals. I can never slow down. It’s not in my nature.
Wilkinson interview by Ben Farrin