Argentinian-born, UK-bred, Berlin resident Arnaldo boils down his multicultural influences.
With releases on revered labels like Smallville, Aim, UntilMyHeartStops or Scissor and Thread, a monthly NTS show and a couple Boiler Room appearances, William Arnaldo Smith has earned a respectable mileage as an artist.
In February this year he launched his very own imprint, Naturist Recordings, a predominantly electronic music label focusing on organic sounds for those who dance and live to the beat of their own drum. With the label’s third instalment underway, we caught up with him to find out what influences his unique approach to dance music.
Maybe not the most typical thing to include for someone who makes and plays predominantly electronic/ synthetic music but to me Nature is very important and a big influence. The sheer scale of sounds from the lowest of bass, seismic activity from earths core or the rumbles of the most distant thunder storm the range is awe inspiring.
My enjoyment of field recording as a hobby I think only really ignited due to my time in nature and paying great attention to its vastness, which in my mind is incomparable… on this planet anyway. Like all things you delve deeply into you begin to understand relationships especially in rhythmic and western melodic music, and this is no different in Nature, ranging from mating calls from insects through to whales.
I read a very interesting article where Phillip Sollmann (Efdemin) speaks of sitting on a hill side and slowly pans his head left and right to create an almost self made panoramic soundscape….a friend once called him the Werner Herzog of Techno…which I guess he is 🙂
I owe a lot to this festival its organisers, committee members, artists and of course to my fellow dancers. This festival gave me a decent understanding of dance music, whether it was djing or listening to others I’ve definitely learnt a lot from the environment. Different to anything I have witnessed, the residents like Joe Ellis, Leif, Jane Fitz and of course Steevio, I still have not found a modular live set that moves quite like his, and of course the looking glass visuals from Suzybee. Every time I returned home from the festival I had so much inspiration inside of me.
I guess before I was more sound focused when it came to a majority of my listening but after a few visits to Baskerville Hall I began to listen in a more frequency based manner. It is so much more than a festival, I stay in touch with countless good friends all year round who I met there, both who make music and who also have a common connection of loving the culture.
I was 18 when I arrived in Manchester from the rural and flat setting that is Norfolk, with not a great deal of knowledge and only armed with my sisters rave tapes. 7 years later I left the city with an almost night and day difference both as a person and also musically.
I was lucky enough to get a job working behind the counter at the legendary Eastern Bloc Records where I worked and served some of the best. Tony Wilson famously quoted ‘Manchester kids have the best record collections’ and well, he is not wrong. People live for it in that city and not just the young people, it was the first time I saw people many years older than me that still have the same love and passion that I was feeling as a wide-eyed young man, I mean where else can you get serious music people of great experience to hear things you are making. People who don’t swim in the main stream, people who like what they like and are respected for it.
I owe the most to the fine record shops, club and people of the great city.
I am a great fan of the music of Detroit both pre-electronic and of course after. This man resonates the most with me from that city as he has so much variety with both writing and engineering skills. People like him are a few in a million at least.
I was lucky enough to meet him once at my time at Eastern Bloc. I’m sure he has never done an in-store with quite so many balloons :). For those of you reading this that think aye, I know a few of his productions and he is decent man, I beg you to delve into this mans discography from the jazz of Innerzone Orchestra to the almost ritualistic (and almost brutal at points) sounds of Tres Demented. I would definitely say I am a CC fan boy even if I once heard you should never trust a man with two first names lol.
Musicians / My record collection
“Musicians” is just a good way to name this whole piece about music in general and one thing on such a subject that I hold very dear and also subconsciously the greatest pool of inspiration that I own…..MY RECORD COLLECTION! 🙂
Having a broad and varied record collection, not just physical but also digital and being broad in your consumption is the key to staying fascinated with music for me. I have learnt a lot about certain parts of music from key musicians like Tony Allen (Drums), Tina Weymouth (Bass), Elizabeth Fraser (Vocalist) and of course super diverse artists like Prince and even on a more modern and electronic tip Moodymann, the latter two are truly musical chameleons…ah! the holy grail!!.
In understanding certain things about specific musicians or band sections you begin to delve deeper into a bands sound and not just the general sound of the whole band playing together. Details are where the real magic is…. the musician, the engineer, the studio where something was made / recorded, you could go as deep as to look at time of year of the recording (but that might be a bit much lol). All these minor details adds to the palette of sound and feeling. Definitely something that has helped me keep things a little more interesting in the creative stages.
In closing, I am firm believer in keeping a very open mind with music consumption. There are some tracks I hold very dear and some are not cool tracks some are even terrible!, but like wine tasting, is heavily linked to memories and ones journey, so make sure you stand tall and tell anyone who judges your music to politely fuck off.