Phonica alumni and AUS Music commander Will Saul gives us an insight into the people and places that inspire his musical output.
One of phonica’s founding team members Will Saul has been at the forefront of electronic music for a good 20 years now. As the man behind the AUS Music and Simple imprints, as well as the highly influential DJ Kicks series, Will has certainly made his mark on modern electronic music.
Will cut his teeth with residencies at Fabric and The End in London and Studio 80 in Amsterdam and a respectable amount of releases back his credentials as a producer. With this wealth of knowledge, we wanted to find out what get Will’s creative gears going and where he draws inspiration from.
The UK top 40
I vividly remember being hunched over my cassette deck finger at the ready to hit record when a song I liked from the top 40 was played on Radio 1 on a Sunday. This would have been under the age of ten.. in those days (80’s) at that age saving pocket money, listening to the radio and trekking to the nearest record shop – either via Mum or Dad driving me or cycling was the only way to get music for me.
My Dad’s 40th
I would have been 11 and my Mum and Dad had hired a DJ to play at the party. I remember being absolutely blown away by what he was doing with vinyl and the music he was playing. He gave my parents a mix tape of the type of music he’d been playing…basically lots of Trax records mixed with more commercial dance records that were breaking into the charts at that time – by acts like the KLF, Adamski, Beats International and Snap. This was definitely a bit of a revelation for a country boy like me at this age and definitely was the start of me being fascinated by the concept of DJ’ing – being able to do more with records than just collect them and listen to them individually was huge for me. The idea that you could blend two records together pretty much blew my tiny mind at the time.
My friend Rob
At about the same time roughly as discovering what a DJ was one of my best friends at school introduced me to rap and hip hop in the form of Ice Cube and Public Enemy. This was also a complete game changer as you definitely did not hear this on the radio. I used to actually hide the tapes so my Mum wouldn’t find them because the cover of the Ice T ‘Power’ album had his girlfriend in a particularly racy swim suit. I figured that if my Mum had seen the cover then she would have listened to the tape and would definitely have confiscated it….
So I grew up about a 30 min bike (bicycle) ride from Glastonbury (the town not the festival – the festival is in a town called Pilton). This was one of the only places you could buy music within cycling distance and as you can imagine in a town like Glastonbury (very new age/hippy) it was stuffed to the gunnels with prog rock and weird oddities. when I first started going I found this frustrating as heir chart selection was average and their hip hop selection (when I got a little older) was rubbish but this shop really came into its own when I started learning how to make music and started sampling. Vangelis, Tomita and Tangerine dream were not in short supply here and these guys featured heavily on my early attempts to make music.
Turnmills / Carl Clarke
Turnmills or ‘Gurnmills’ as it was affectionately known was definitely my spot from the age of about seventeen into my early twenties. At seventeen I was travelling up to London to go clubbing and a good friend of mine had found this club where apparently the queue to buy E’s stretched from the stairs to a corner of the dance floor, where the dealer was located. This was a pretty accurate description to be fair. I spent most of the time in the back room ‘Eclectronica’ where the resident Carl Clarke used to play a huge range of electronic music. He introduced me to ‘Papua New Guinea’ by FSOL and every week I used to ask him what it was and he’d tell me and I’d duly forget. Regular guests were the likes of the Chemical Brothers before they became huge and I had many a life changing ‘moments’ with them at the controls.