Since FRISKY’s inception, I’ve personally been a loyal follower. In as such, tuning in to get my daily dosage of underground satisfaction while closely following each DJ resonating with me. We all know FRISKY curates mix sets only the best of the best deejays and producers can deliver. Each Feelin’ FRISKY guest spot is highly coveted that enables showcase exclusive DJ mix sets from artists around the world. Therefore, it came to no surprise that yet another deserving producer/deejay was awarded this high sought-after honor and privilege of a Feelin’ FRISKY guest mix.
“Hypnotic” and “explorative”. Meet Las Vegas & San Francisco based producer, Chris Willscape, better known as just Willscape. Willscape embodies melodic dream state sounds fortified with the best of progressive house and deep techno. His deliverance of hypnotic grooves reinforce the deep atmospheric sound combinations that no doubt leave everyone craving more. “I hope, with my music, to impact people with the feeling, want or need to groove followed by an emotional connection”, Willscape said.
Indeed music generates energies in all of us. When I asked Willscape about how his music impacts others, he responded: “It connects us sonically, physically especially in electronic dance, and emotionally”. Further adding, “I think the main positive effect of the influence of music is that, as long as any music is listened to with an open ear, there is some kind of feeling that we can all connect to”.
Music undeniably affects us in an influential manner; and according to Willscape, music most importantly is something to be “enjoyed and full of fun by the end of day”.
One cannot discuss Willscape without highlighting solid years of experience from both the studio and performing at festivals. He continues to deliver original productions and talented mixes with the likes of Australian producer David Leckenby and is supported by greats such as Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Aly & Fila, and Roger Shah to name a few.
FRISKY News had the pleasure of interviewing Willscape as we discussed industry challenges, influences and inspirations, future projects and most importantly his Feelin’ FRISKY Guest Mix. Catch the set live on January 30th @ 7AM EST [convert timezone] or listen on-demand anytime after with FRISKY Premium.
Congratulations Chris on having a guest mix show with FRISKY! This, I must say, is a real treat. So what were your thoughts when you received the news about being chosen to do a guest mix for FRISKY?
Thank you so much for having inviting me! I have been listening to the Frisky platform for years now, and I have to say I am flattered and excited too guest mix for Frisky.
What producers, songwriters and/or other artists both past and present do you see as your primary inspirations?
This is always such a hard question to answer, especially today as we have accessibility to so many hard working and talented artists. I think each artist has their own inspirations on us. Hernan Catteneo and Guy J have hooked me to where I am today. I have experienced many-many artists over the past decade but those two really know how to put on a journey that never tires you out. Hours fly by and you just want to keep going! Their presence and professionalism also have a big impact on me. And not just the more recognizable names in the industry, I’m inspired by fellow artists that I get to interact with, or come across music digging each day. Some of my go-to’s at the moment are Kamilo Sanclemente, Alex O’Rion, Pacco & Rudy B and Paul Angelo & Don Argento. I think the key to staying inspired is to always listen to more and more music and continually go out and experience music at venues.
And so when looking back in time, what made you pursue the path in electronic music? What was that turning point for you?
It was definitive the moment my friend brought me to my first electronic music show, in 2007, it was Tiesto’s Elements of Life tour at the Bill Graham in San Francisco. It was so life changing my friend and I drove down to Los Angeles just days later to experience it again.
How influenced are you by the world of both progressive and underground sounds?
The most inspired. What I love most of progressive, is the building and releasing of tension, which, in my opinion, keeps the sounds always interesting. Next thing you know, the sun is rising! Underground is influencing because it’s impacted by everything, not influenced by what is most profitable or currently most popular. There really is no right or wrong. I think success in the underground is enjoying the creative and sharing process. If you enjoy that, it lasts a lifetime.
What’s been your most memorable project to date? What about your most challenging? Why?
The most memorable project to date is Sands of Time. It is hard to not be drawn to trends or try to fit to styles that are working really well at the moment, but I let everything go with Sands of Time. I just produced and I didn’t know what genre I was going for or what platform it would work best in. It’s one project I can listen to again and again and always be happy of the feeling it gives.
The most challenging projects, but also very enjoyable at the same time, can be remixing. The challenge with remixing is trying to not steer off the track too far and pay the necessary respects to the original elements of the original production. Though, a good challenge always keeps things interesting and fun.
Adding to our previous question, what sort of challenges have you faced within the industry? Tell me what you go through when you hit one of those challenging periods.
Challenges will always exist in any industry. I think the key to not getting caught up in the industry challenges is to always try to see where people are coming from and try to not take it too personally. Not hearing back from a label for example, can be really devastating for many, but that can be turned in to spite towards the label or motivation to improve or gear more towards what they are looking for. That could be going out of your comfort zone to try different sounds, taking constructive criticism positively, or deciding to go completely exclusive with them if that is what they are looking for.
Personally, I use that constructive criticism to push me to improve and continually I am working on improving in certain elements of my sound to work with labels I aspire to be a part of.
In the underground, monetizing can be challenging and often many underground artists are covering many of the costs of the releases and gigs themselves, sometimes having perform for free, until the music takes off in a monetary sense. From my experience this is not always the fault of the gig side of the industry as they are running a business at the end of the day and they have to make a certain amount of profit to keep their doors open.
There’s been a new track recently released – Apex – by a mutual friend of ours, David Lackenby. You did a remix for the track that I must say is an excellent piece of work. How did that come about? Describe the creative process that went into this project?
I am glad to hear you enjoyed the remix! It was a pleasure to work with David’s original elements. His arpeggioed melody grabbed my attention and I geared my remix around that particular element. I wanted to focus the remix more geared towards clubs and building energy. So I added some intensity in the buildup for those moments. When remixing, I find the element that grabs my attention the most and then create the majority of the drum and groove elements followed by adding that main original element in. From there I just keep adding until I feel it is full and hits. I always try to gear my productions for certain parts of the night at a club or certain parts of a set in a mix outside of the club. If everything clicks, it fits in both platforms.
What other artists have you remixed and/or collaborated with? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future? If I may add, Matt Black is fan of yours – that would be fun doing a project together. Thoughts?
Currently I have been fortunate to remix Kamilo Sanclemente, Christian Monique, David Leckenby, Eli Spiral and more. I am excited for remixes in cue to release for talented artists such as Nishan Lee and Gabriel Carminatti. I am also really excited to share my remix of John Digweed’s track of the year in 1996, Soundsation – Do You Feel It, releasing on Capital Heaven later this year. Working with Matt Black would be amazing! It’s always great to collaborate with a humble, hardworking and like-minded artist such as Matt Black, stay tuned. 😉
You also have few original tracks that have been recently made available. For example, Momentum, Falling, and Sands of Time. Describe or delve into the context of what they communicate. Do the track titles conceptually link together somehow? If so, how?
Track titles can definitely delve into the context of what they communicate. When I produced Momentum, I felt there was a constant building of energy, a sense of momentum, and the track title just seemed to fit. Falling had a more melancholy energy and I wanted to portray that. My upcoming EP, Summit, was titled as the experience I felt it gave, first The Climb up a challenge and then what I imagine it could feel like when you reach the Summit of that challenge. It could be a physical experience such as climbing a mountain or it could be an experience from within. Although, on the flip side, naming tracks can be difficult so the name could have no real connection to the idea behind the track.
Let’s discuss your exciting guest mix. What will we get to hear? Any new original tracks and or upcoming remixes not yet released?
I’ve included a few new unreleased originals and remixes along with existing tracks that I feel portray my current sound. With my monthly radio show I try to always get new music that has either just recently been released or is unreleased. That keeps it both exciting for me and also I hope for the listener. For this guest mix, however, I wanted to use tracks of mine and others that portray a two hour journey not necessarily bound by release dates.
What’s next for you? Anything that you are currently working that you can share with us?
Coming up next month I will be opening for Yotto at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco on the 15th of February, I have an EP releasing on Supacook’s Kitchen Recordings, two originals releasing on Nick Lewis’ Emotional Content Recordings, a pair of remixes coming out on Stellar Fountain, Mallam, and various other labels. After that I will be focusing mostly on original productions for the rest of the year as I enjoy the creative freedom. I recently also launched a monthly mix I call Getaway, showcasing not only my own work, but amazing productions from artists all over the globe that aren’t always in the limelight.
As far as yourself, how would you describe your growth as an artist over the lifetime of your career?
I’m happy to have been exposed to so many different styles of music that I would describe my growth in that sense. We partially are what we are exposed to. The more we discover and listen to, the more we grow as artists. Right now, the music I am creating and sharing is what I feel a strong connection to, one that I want to share with as many as I can. I am excited to see what will grow into next.
Is there a spiritual element in your music?
Most certainly. There is something spiritual about music that two people, from different cultural backgrounds, languages, life experiences and more can feel the same thing from listening to music. And what is especially beautiful about that is when it is combined with dance. That those same two people want to dance to the same music.
In one word how would you describe your music? And yourself?
Outside the world that defines Willscape the artist, what do you like to do for fun? And what makes you really happy?
Experiencing all aspects of life with my best friend, my wife Arie is definitely my favorite thing to do. Trying new food, exploring cities or terrain, trying out all the dance clubs and festivals we can. Filling life with friends and family outside of the music grind is what I try to do the most. The music hustle combined with living and experiencing life is what makes me happy.
Chris, I want to thank you for taking time with me and FRISKY in sharing your thoughts to these questions and doing an interview with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Therefore, before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts?
Thanks again for having me of course! I look forward to continue to work with great people in the industry like you and your team at FRISKY, many – many more artists, talented industry people, dance floors and music lovers for many years to come. Cheers!