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We will introduce this podcast’s artist with words from the review we did of his release Luxarama.
Esa Williams has been a very busy man. Between curating Red Bull Music Academy workshops and one of the residents at the popular Subculture nights in his adopted city of Glasgow, not to mention forming part of live act Sensu and DJing at some of the biggest festivals around Europe, Cape Town born Esa has somehow found the time to launch Rememory Music, a boutique label complete with unique vinyl artwork, as well as summon a few friends (who also happen to be some of Scotland’s, nay the world’s, finest producers) for remix duties on it’s first two releases.
Having already earned the seal of approval from the likes of Jimpster, Mixmag (House Tune of the Month) and EQTV.dj (Record of the Day), it is hard not to proclaim that 2011 looks to be a banner year for this young artist. It’s no secret that this blog holds a special place for fellow South African expats, so we for one will be paying close attention.
How long have you been in Scotland now?
I’ve been in Scotland 6 years but been living in Glasgow for the past four years and since my relocation here things have really kicked off. I can say that I’m very lucky to have arrived in Glasgow thanks to a very special lady in my life and to be able to really establish myself musically. That’s because it’s so hard to become truly founded as an artist in Glasgow as the city has lots of great DJ’s and artists operating. For a South African to be part of this music scene is such an honour.
How did you get involved with Sub Club? What is it that you do there?
I first got involved with Macsorleys Music Bar which is owned by the same guys who own Sub Club, just for the odd pub gig. They liked what I played and gave me the opportunity to be part of one of the longest running club night’s in the world with two of the most amazing DJ’s Harri and Domenic. I’m also involved with the Sensu club night where I do live performances with Barry Price and Junior Ingram, last year was a great year where we played some amazing festivals in UK and Europe, 2011 looks to be an even better one with the new live act project in the works.
Were you already producing and DJing in South Africa?
At the age of 16 I inherited all my father’s music equipment; turntables, PA systems, records and I was on the verge of selling everything, when one day after school I decide to try and connect it all up and to my surprise I managed to get it all working. I think from that day I started messing around and it went from playing birthday parties to running my own club nights in community centre and old factories.
A few other South African expats such as Portable and Lakuti speak of early 90s house parties in Soweto, what were your influences / what made you get into house music?
My Dad and cousins mixtapes and record collection got me into house and clubs in Cape Town like Club More, Deluxe and Sutra were big influences to the sound I play today.
Did you study music, what’s your background?
I studied sound engineering in Cape Town but the course focused more on live recording, audio and visual elements, where all I wanted to do was DJ and make electronic music. I think the three months I spent in Germany in 2002 visiting my uncle really opened my mind to electronic music, I remember sitting with him on the floor of his lounge with CDs all around and him playing loads of different things from Portishead to Marianne Faithful, Nightmares on Wax and the list goes on. He also took me to see DJ’s like Sven Vath, Chris Liebing and Miss Kitten and to clubs such as Panorama Bar, Bar 25, Tresor and my first dance festival Love Family Park.
What did you do for the Red Bull Music Academy?
I spent some time in Cape Town in 2002 and met up with an old friend who managed the Red Bull studio’s and did some work with him there, we discussed just before I returned to the UK that he’ll get me in touch with RBMA in the UK so when I got back to Glasgow I contacted them and said I would be interested in doing work with them. From that point I became their representative in Glasgow and organised events at Sub Club with artists like Josh Wink, Linkwood and House of Traps, Kevin Saunderson, Tony Lionni, The Bays and Graeme Park whereby they did small lectures which was all part of the build up to Red Bull Music Academy event in London last year.
You recently gave a talk at an Apple store in Glasgow, what was the talk about and how did that come about?
I work for the Apple Store in Glasgow and recently started an Ableton Live course at SAE Glasgow so the talk was part of a series of SAE workshops in the Apple store, one of which was me talking about Ableton and the different techniques I use when producing, remix and performing live with this software using my mac.
What are your future plans for Rememory and Esa? What do you have coming up?
A few releases with some cool artists and also working some South African artists. 2011 I feel is going to be a busy year for Rememory Music, hopefully the buzz of Luxarama will keep a level of momentum and focus in place. Also watch out for my Mervin Granger Live Set and Sensu’s version 2.0 Live sets in 2011.
Snoek or haggis?
Haggis Nachos, Haggis Pakora and Haggis, Neeps and Tatties!
1. Herbie Hancock & Quincy Jones intro/ Yotam Avni – Jay Dilla’s Dream
2. Jimpster – Inside the Loop – Alsace & Lorraine EP
3. Alfabet (aka Awanto 3 & Tom Trago) – Lap The Music
4. Roman IV – Lucy
5. Ripperton & Minz – Crack
6. The Gathering – In My System – The Revenge Remix
7. Fonos – La Senna
8. Makam – Love Life
9. Mervin Granger – Never As Good
10. Jef K and Gwen Maze – Want You Back
11. No Regular Play – Serious Heat – Art Department Remix
12. Alex Arnout – Click City