Scottish-born Will Atkinson is currently one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the Trance world, having released tracks on Subculture, Armada and Perfecto Records with support from the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Simon Patterson and Sean Tyas. He has now been added to the stellar line-up at Digital Society Presents: Subculture this November, where he’ll be playing alongside John O’Callaghan, John Askew and Bryan Kearney to name but a few. We have a chat with Will ahead of the event to find out a little bit more…
Hi Will, hope you’re well! You’re one of the hottest talents in Trance at the moment, so it’s an absolute pleasure to be talking to you. First things first, how did you get into Trance and what made you decide to try your hand at producing it?
Hi there, first and foremost thanks for taking the time to interview me! Most people know that my mum was the one who got me into electronic music. I’m sure she has a few stories behind her. She got me into Judge Jules’ Radio 1 show during the late 90’s and from there, I was absolutely obsessed with the guy. The music he was playing back then was so fresh and exciting. Most of it miles ahead of the stuff I hear today. He was a true tastemaker and I think the UK Trance scene has a lot to thank him for.
Definitely. For people that may not be aware of your work, how would you describe your sound?
That’s a good question because right now I’m going through a transitional stage where I am just beginning to find myself. I have always maintained a raw, sort of ‘rough round the edges’ vibe and, to a certain degree, there is an industrial sort of timbre to each of my productions. But I am also starting to find much more depth and each track seems to contain more character – soul almost.
What current tracks are you playing in all your sets?
At the risk of sounding arrogant, there’s not much current music doing it for me at the moment so I’m either digging out my old vinyls and ripping them, or if I can’t find the stuff, I’m making it! Although I have been playing Cirez D – Thunderstuck for months now and only recently discovered Angry Man – Lunatic. I’m not sure how that slipped past me but fuck me, that is one special record.
Who do you most enjoy playing alongside?
There are only a few people that I seem to gel with and understand when it comes to music. Nick Callaghan I practically see as my brother, which sounds fucking gay but he has set my head straight a few times and kept me on the straight and narrow. There’s no one who understands my taste better. If he tells me to check a track out, I will actually check it out because 90% of the time it’s going to be right up my street. It’s only a matter of time before he blows up. Stephen Kirkwood would be another.
Can you tell us a bit about your alias, Darkboy?
Darkboy is focused on the more industrial/breakbeat side of things. There are also Psychedelic elements, but I take a lot of inspiration from acts like The Prodigy and Green Velvet.
You recently had a #1 Beatport chart success with ‘Victims’ and other earlier productions of yours have featured in the top 10. Can you tell us if much changed between this and your other tracks? Also, how did it feel to have such widespread support from fellow DJs and clubbers?
To me, Victims always seemed like a track waiting to be made. There’s been nothing on the same page as ‘strange world’ since 2000 and after finally figuring out a melody suited to the structure, everything just fell into place. The track is constantly building and building, there literally isn’t a section repeated. A lot of tracks have that “Fuck it, I’m just nipping for a quick piss” section. I’d like to think this track has claimed a few fresh pairs of underwear. Whatever excrement that might be… I’ve actually forgotten what I’m talking about here! [Laughs] Anyway, the support and momentum the release gathered was simply unbelievable. I can’t thank everyone enough for getting behind the track, pushing Trance back to the top.
Naturally I’ll be catching you at Digital Society Presents Subculture. I hope you’re as excited for it as I am. What have you got in store for us on the night?
You’re darn tootin’! I’m totally buzzing for this and I’ve got so much new material ready to drop, it’s just going to be hard to choose on the night. Make no mistake though, heads will roll.
Who are you most excited about seeing that night?
Guys like Askew and Patterson always knock it out the park but to be fair, everyone on that line-up are at the top of their game right now, so I’ll be sticking around most the night!
Where else can we catch you playing this year?
I’ve got a very busy schedule to bring in the year, which is great. I’ll be at Goodgreef’s 14th Birthday at Digital in Newcastle on October 17th and will also be celebrating 350 episodes of Future Sound of Egypt with Aly & Fila and Paul Van Dyk– a very fitting way to mark my Egyptian debut! You can also catch me in Canada, where I’ll be making my Circus Afterhours debut and Toronto, where I’m playing alongside Indecent Noise. Closer to home, I’ll be in Glasgow for Zoom’s Halloween Spooktacular with Neelix and of course, that small matter of Subculture DS in November! In between that there’ll be loads more, just keep checking my pages.
Anything you’d like to add to your avid fans?
I’d just like to add that if anyone has seen Dominaper the Ape, last seen somewhere along the coast of Ibiza, take better care of him than we did. He’s easily recognisable with his permanently dislocated neck and orange spray-painted head. We will meet again my primatal friend. Big love and see you on the dancefloor!
You can catch Will at Digital Society Presents Subculture at O2 Academy Leeds on November 7th alongsidethe likes of John O’Callaghan, John Askew and Bryan Kearney. Tickets are available below:
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