Q+A: 5 minutes with Villows

Roaming dreamscapes, producer Villows explores the softer side of house music in his newly released single ‘lucid’, a record that is best described as an awakening saturated in reverb. The producer fluffs a pillow and, once we’re all tucked in, warms our eardrums with subtle harmonies blanketed in crisp nuance, and tells us a bedtime story. 

Stream / Download: Villows – ‘Lucid’

Like a lullaby, breathy vocals soothe us into a meditative state and, with our eyes closed, we drift away, carried to unknown planes of thought and sensation. To our surprise, we awake in a land of cloudy oscillations and shapeshifting percussions. Intrigued, We asked the Careless Collective signee about his dreams:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Music has always been such a big part of my life. I love the way it can change your mood, or seemingly enhance anything you’re doing. One of the coolest things is hearing an old song that immediately brings you back to a specific memory, sometimes more vividly than a photo. Expressing myself through music has always come naturally.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It really depends. A lot of my ideas seem to come late at night when I should be asleep. I have hundreds of voice memos on my phone where I’ll just hum melodies, or make weird mouth noises to replicate what I’m hearing in my mind. Other times (when it’s not 3 am in my bed), it’ll start with a cool guitar riff,  some piano chords, or even just a poetic thought.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I’ve done some collaborations, but most of the time I do tend to work alone. I find it really freeing and relaxing to write for myself with no expectations or pressure. That being said, I’ve also had a lot of fun collaborating! I released a track called ‘Dimmest Light’ with the French producer Niicap a while back, and it was so cool to work with him. I’d definitely like to explore more collaborations in the future!

What’s on your current playlist?

Fred again.., ODESZA’s new album, Kidswaste, Golden Vessel, Forester, Goth Babe, 49th & Main, and Bay Ledges.

I also curate a Spotify playlist of cool stuff here.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

It was definitely a journey to get here, and I had to fail quite a lot in order to move forward. I’m always evolving my sound, but I love experimenting with my guitar and my voice in unique ways. I also really enjoy mangling others’ voices to create new melodies and textures. Oh and running sounds through a phaser!

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Finish my 9-5 day job, hit the gym, eat dinner, and then finally get started on some music. I play, record, mix and master everything in my bedroom studio. Sometimes I’m on a roll, but sometimes nothing comes. When that happens, it’s pretty important to step away, and just pick it up the next day with a fresh mind. Lately, I’ve been taking my laptop with me and finding more interesting places to write. I find it’s a bit easier to get inspired when you’re not staring at the same 4 walls every day.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Making a living from music has been a dream of mine since I started my first pop-punk band in middle school. My musical taste has definitely expanded since then, but whether I’m pursuing music as a career or a passion project, I think I’ll always be creating music.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Alex Baker, Slowtide, and Covex.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Listening to music always gives me so much inspiration, even if it’s outside of the electronic genre. Uniqueness comes from combining elements from everywhere, so the more music you can expose yourself to the better. I’m also really inspired by nature. I love putting in ambient samples of birds chirping or waves crashing in the background of my songs.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I use Ableton live with the Push 2 and record everything through my UAD Apollo interface. I’ve been playing a Washburn electric guitar and singing into a Mojave MA-200. I’ll also occasionally bring out a Roland A-49 keyboard. I love my Adams A7X monitors and subwoofer. I’m sure my neighbours below me don’t.

Any side projects you’re working on?

I’ve considered doing more of an indie/bedroom pop thing on the side, but unfortunately I just don’t have the time right now. If my schedule ever frees up, I’d love to explore those sounds.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

The only way to get better is to keep finishing songs and keep failing. Every time I finish a track, I always say to myself, “This is great, but I can do even better”. I think that drive and determination has fueled me to keep going and keep improving. It’s crazy how much you can learn from YouTube these days.

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

A couple more singles before the end of the year, then the full Dreams EP in early 2023.

Famous last words?

Everything will be alright.

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Image credit: Matthew Bergh