T.H.E Interview – Dan Willett


UK producer Dan Willett drops his piano-driven House cut ‘It’s On You’ – forthcoming on the Chill label imprint.

Also a key figure behind the revered Chill events, on England’s south coast – ‘It’s On You’ is a track with a clear nod to the past, with its classical vocal House vibe, as Dan Willett pays homage to the mid 1990’s & an era where he took his early steps in the industry. A stint in NYC further fuelled Dan’s love for House Music & also saw him start his journey into music production, learning skills alongside U.S. DMC competition heavyweight – DJ Excess, along with becoming involved in the free party scene, across the North-Eastern states.

We caught up with Dan and spoke to him about his new single, and how he started off in the music industry.

T.H.E – Hey Dan! Welcome to T.H.E Music Essentials. How’s it going for you and what have you been up to this summer?

Dan Willett – Hey, its been a really good summer for both myself and CHILL the label & club night I run with a really packed run of great events and releases! We returned to the iconic Hastings Pier in East Sussex, England, and put on some amazing daytime Chillout & House free parties in the sun that had hundreds of people attend and ended with people dancing on tables as the sunset! Magical scenes really!

Label-wise we’re a fledgling label and only onto our 4th release but have some amazing music lined up for the next few months from producers local to us which is perfect as there is so much production talent in the Hastings area!

T.H.E – You started producing during the mid-’90s. What instigated you to kick start & how has the process changed since then?

Dan Willett – As with most DJ’s starting out I think we all really want to play things that we’ve made ourselves eventually so I started off with Cubase & Fruity Loops in the 90’s making edits and re-edits of tracks that I loved and adding acappellas to instrumentals etc. a good learning curve! Things took a step up when I moved to New York in 2006 and ended up taking an Ableton Live production course in Greenwich Village, I use Ableton exclusively now with additions such as the PUSH controller to make beats etc.

T.H.E – Were there any artists that inspired you at that stage? If so, who & why?

Dan Willett – Before I moved to the U.S I was playing lots of soulful house with producers like Blaze, Satoshi Tommi David Morales, MAW etc. being the sound I used to emulate back then. Big vocals, live instrumentation and also owing to growing up in the early British Acid house era lots of Pianos! After the NYC move, I was lucky to see DJ’s and producers such as Danny Tenaglia, Michael Mayer, and Gui Boratto play live and that Tech edged club sound defiantly plays a part in my sets and productions now as well.

T.H.E – We’d love to hear more about your time with DJ Excess. Can you tell us more about your experience of working with him?

Dan Willett – DJ Excess was a legendary turntablist from NYC that I used to watch perform his scratch routines and was also my tutor of the Ableton course. he was very inspiring as he was one of the first people id seen who combined both modern technology in both the studio and also in live performances alongside the standard technics 1210 turntable vinyl setup.

T.H.E – Let’s talk about your new track ‘It’s On You’. What can you tell us about the record & how it’s received at your Chill parties?

Dan Willett – I spend a lot of time traveling on the train to London from Hastings, sometimes as much as four hours daily so that gives me plenty of time to work on tracks in isolation, just bring my Mac Book, my faithful Sennheiser headphones and get stuck in!

We’d just put on the first of 2018’s outdoor Pier parties over the sea and under a blazing sun shortly before I’d started work on ‘Its On You’ so that summer Ibiza-esque vibe was most defiantly in my head and certainly translated heavily into what I was working on.

T.H.E – Is this the trademark sound you’re aiming to be known for, moving forward?

Dan Willett – My production mindset tends to always start from a classic House blueprint but over the years I’ve dabbled with harder styles such as Techno so don’t think I’ve found my ‘definitive’ production sound quite yet!

T.H.E – And lastly, what can you tell us about your plans for the rest of 2018?

Dan Willett – As well as working on more tracks, we’ve taken our Chill parties indoors now for the autumn and winter and have booked House legend Terry Farley for our next event ‘House Of House’ in Hastings on Nov 17th with regular parties every two months after that as well so a really exciting and busy time coming up!

T.H.E – Thanks for joining us Dan, good luck in the future & we hope to hear from you soon!

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