Apr 09, 2021

Will Clarke's 'Place I Belong' Exclusive Mix

Fresh off today's release of “Place I Belong” on All We Have Is Now, Will Clarke steps up on Exclusive Mix duties & delivers 60 minutes of the finest house & techno. In our interview we discuss his work with collaborator Ollie Norton, developing his own musical imprint, as well as reignited passions during the pandemic like his cooking and longform podcast. It’s been over a year since he’s touched CDJs, but Will brings the same energy to the feature that he has behind the deck – let’s go!
Will, thanks so much for joining us to celebrate “Place I Belong”! Can you set the stage for us a bit – how does the build up to a release during the pandemic compare to years past for you?
Thank you for having me! Hmmm. It’s honestly very different now preparing a release during a pandemic. In normal times when you are out on the road touring, you get to tease the record in every set, getting people familiar with the record and can really see how a crowd responds to it. Now as there haven’t been any crowds for a while, it’s really become a case of keeping those fingers crossed that people are going to like the tune on release as you just don’t have the same opportunities to road test it in clubs and at festivals. However with “Place I Belong,” Ollie and I wrote this record at the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019 so luckily I’ve had chance to play it out many times and I think anyone that got a chance to see me DJ in 2020 (before the pandemic hit) should have heard it at least once. Still keeping those fingers crossed that people still like it!
How did you and Ollie Norton come to work together? Do you remember your first impressions of his voice?
Ollie is from a local town near where I live in the UK and we have mutual friends. I think we met for the first time back in 2014 and we’ve just stayed in touch since. He was always into music, gave the whole DJ thing a try, and then started writing songs and playing the guitar. It was amazing to see and hear his voice develop over the years which then led us to the studio and writing a bunch of music together. I think at this point we have about six other records together. Every time we are in the studio we seem to just catch this vibe and it seems to work.
Looking closer at the production, how did you move from initial idea and sketch to final production? How did the vocal factor into the production?
It started with me playing some chords and then Ollie wrote the lyrics. We got the vocals recorded and then I finished off the rest of the track. We wrote this in about four hours and it really hasn’t changed much, apart from minor mixdown adjustments. I remember I had just gotten back from touring and I wanted to have a song about being at home, and Ollie came up with the goods lyrically. 
“Place I Belong” is out on your imprint All We Have Is Now. It’s now 14 months since your first release on the label and the tracks have all had a really big response! How have the first releases gone through your eyes, and what can you tell us about your plans for the label moving forward? Will you ever release music from any other artists?
If I sit down and think about the label and how the releases have been welcomed by the world, it’s pretty amazing. I feel super blessed for all of the support I’ve had on all the records and also to have the team that I have working to make it all happen. The plan for the rest of 2021 is to keep releasing records from myself, I have another four releases this year. Last year we finished the year with a compilation of all the 2020 records on a vinyl release (with a bonus vinyl only track too) and it was really well received. We are going to do another vinyl compilation at the end of 2021 which is in the works right now. Then moving into 2022 I want to start releasing other artists in addition to my own music on All We Have Is Now. I feel that releasing someone else’s song is a huge responsibility and I’m still psyching myself up and preparing the label for that.
It’s been over a year since you were behind CDJs – what effect has that had on your production and DJ style? Do you feel that not having a dancefloor to test your music on has influenced the sound of Will Clarke in 2021 at all?
To be fair, I’ve actually enjoyed not having to worry about making straight up club tracks. As some people will probably have been able to tell, the songs that I have been putting out on my label this year are a little more vocally driven and not as club focused. I’ll carry on doing this until the clubs open back up and then hopefully towards the summer things will be up and running again as I’ve got some straight up bangerrrzz to release in the last half of the year. 
Looking closer at the Exclusive Mix, can you highlight three tracks or artists included and why they stand out to you?
Christian Nielsen and his track “Glitch-In” is a whopper. I’ve actually known Christian for years and I’ve loved to watch him evolve into the artist that he is today; his music keeps getting better and better.
Jonathan Kasper (“Beton”) is an artist that I’ve only just discovered, but his beats are unreal. It’s weird and groovy and everything I would want to hear when I’m in a club.
I also wanted to highlight Avision’s “My Mind”;  this dude is someone that is consistently releasing seriously good techno, but it’s not generic techno, it’s the good stuff. This record has beautiful chords and a mad groove that just grows into a frenzy and then there is this ridiculous sub growl.
What’s a day in your life during the pandemic look like? Have you found time for any other hobbies that you’ve been enjoying? You’ve certainly been making us hungry with some of your cooking ;)!
Hahaha yes, cooking has been a key one for me and it’s actually been really nice to concentrate on other hobbies. An average day for me is to wake up, do some stretching (not yoga but kinda yoga), work out whether that’s running or lifting, sit on my sofa for a bit and think through what I’m going to cook for dinner, make a trip into town to get the ingredients, go in the studio to get some work done and then spend the evening cooking for my family whilst trying to take perfect photos of the food my food page (@willmakesyouhungry) – shameless plug there... But all jokes aside I’ve started a few other projects that are really exciting to me and I would’ve never have made the time for these I was touring, so although it sucks to not be out on the road, it’s probably been a good time for me to reflect on life and work out where I want to take things. 
You’ve been really consistent with your podcast during the past year. What do you like most about hosting the podcast and who have been some of your most interesting guests so far?
I’ve loved doing the podcast. For me long form conversations without external distractions are super important and I feel that we don't have them enough. It’s very rare nowadays that you spend two hours on the phone with someone or you sit down with a mate and talk for two hours with no mobile phones, no TV, etc. This is why I started it; I wanted to have real and meaningful conversations with people without distraction. As for my most interesting guests, that’s a real hard question because I find everyone I ask to be on the podcast to be interesting. However I think the non-musical conversations I have are pretty amazing and I love learning about other people’s industries. 
And as we look ahead, how are you keeping yourself motivated and on track? How have you adjusted the balance and your goals for yourself and your labels?
Between myself and my manager, Ryan, I think we have spoken multiple times every single day since lockdown started, whether the conversation be about music or just life in general, and that’s helped a lot. At the beginning of 2020 we had a pretty big plan with a bunch of set goals and those goals haven’t changed apart from some unavoidable delays due to the pandemic. Now that we are in 2021 and touring still isn’t really happening yet, we didn’t want to take our foot off the gas and wanted to stay super consistent with music releases, so I think in 2021 if all goes to according to plan I will be releasing about 12-14 records which is the most I've ever released in a year and I cannot wait.
Download/stream Will Clarke & Ollie Norton - "Place I Belong": https://willclarke.lnk.to/PlaceIBelong
Connect with Will Clarke: Spotify | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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