Interview: Five Minutes with Willaris. K

Jack McAllister, aka Willaris. K has just returned from his worldwide tour after hitting Europe, the UK, USA and returning to do several shows within his home country of Australia. While he originally began his musical journey by listening to punk, alt-rock and metal bands which his father had introduced him to, Jack McAllister soon moved on to techno and the world of electronic music. With a brief stop off as an electrical and instrument technician shortly after high school, he moved on to become a resident DJ at a popular nightclub in Brisbane, where he began to hone his skills.

His latest release is a double record via Astralwerks which features techno A-side ‘5 O’CLOCK’ and the ambient B-side ‘PAST LIGHT’. Along with the lead single came the abstract visualizer by Chris Kore, a multidisciplinary artist which you can find below. Curious about the musician who had earned himself a spot on our festive season playlist, we decided to learn more about the man, the music and everything to come this year. 

Hi Jack, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. How was 2019 for you?

Pleasure! It was good overall, I spent most of the year writing, which was a bit of a change from 2017/2018 where I played a lot of shows. My US visa got denied for no reason and I missed my first US tour which was really shit but other than that I can’t complain.

Tell us a bit about the music scene in Australia right now.

There’s a lot of exciting stuff going on. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with all Australian artists on my upcoming project, can’t really go into detail as of yet but yeah, I’m pumped. Electronic music has come a long way here.

What were some of the challenges you faced transitioning from an electrical technician to a musician?

The biggest one was not having a job to go to every day, being forced to wake up early and go places, talk to people etc. It automatically snaps you into some sort of routine. Whereas making music as a job you have to be self-motivated, especially as a solo artist it’s all internal. I could go a full day without human contact which starts to get weird after a while.

Name five artists who have impacted your work the most since you began in the industry.

George Nicholas who I work with and who mixes my music I’ve learnt a lot from production-wise and making fast decisions just through working together. He’s a wizard. Yeoseop Yoon who directed my first two music videos, including the ‘Alchemy | River Song | Dour Nights’ trilogy had a huge impact on me after I saw the trilogy for the first time. It basically made all the music on Alchemy make sense to me and helped me realise the concept of the whole project. More recently I saw The Chemical Brothers live show which blew me away. The sound and production was wild. When I first started making music, it was seeing artists like Jon Hopkins, Seekae, Shlohmo, Flying Lotus etc. live, then listening to their records on repeat that really motivated me to want to create my own music. Once I started to figure it out myself I’ve been trying to create something of my own.

Last year you dropped your debut EP, Alchemy. What was the reaction like to it?

Really good. The tracks came out over an 18-month period and I spent a lot of time refining through the live show so that helped it evolve into a cohesive project.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your techno track, ‘Five O’Clock’

It was inspired by the transition from Electrician to full-time musician.

What made you pair it with the ambient ‘Past Light’ track?

I had a bunch of ideas that fit into this world and when I started to compile them as a project those two made sense together. The feeling primarily, and more obviously the top piano lead across both songs.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I’ve got a run of Australian shows over summer. Can’t wait.

Famous last words?

More music than I’ve released to date is dropping next year.

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