Will Saul is a relatively new name to Los Angeles, but the British dance music artist has tapped a fresh sound that has made him at “it” DJ in global clubland in the last year. The spinner's sound is described in his bio as “deep dubdiscohousetechno with flashes of soul and irresistible melodies that hark back to the early days of Detroit.”
Indeed, that overseas return to the bouncier, housier, prettier side of techno (an anti- or at least post-minimal movement) has been carried forward by the likes of Saul, and you can hear it on his last mix-CD, Balance 015. Saul, once a resident DJ at the late, great London club The End, also puts his taste down via his own label, Simple Records, which has released tracks and remixes by the likes of L.A.'s own John Tejada, Brazil's Gui Boratto and Germany's Ian Pooley (one of our all-time favorite tech-house producers).
Saul promises an artist album sometime this year or early next. In the meantime we'll have to make do with his sweet sound in-the-mix tonight at Temporary Spaces 2 in Hollywood. We recently asked him a few questions.
LA Weekly: How would you describe your sound?
Will Saul: The thing that kind of ties it all together is that I love melody — futuristic melody, and definitely a feeling of soulfulness.
You've said Detroit has an influence.
It goes right from Motown all the way through the Carl Craigs and Derrick Mays and the soulful melancholic feeling often captured in music from Detroit that really turns me on from that sound.
A lot of people seem to be talking about the druggy, dark wave of sounds coming out of Europe. Have you gotten into that?
It's always been there really, the druggy house and techno, and I think that it's obvious that in a lot of the clubs I play there a lot of people who take drugs. That sound has shifted to Berlin for a while now. As a city it's quite unlike anywhere else . There's a feeling of energy, a feeling of immersion in the music and that people are letting go and getting into it. There's no pretension or that standoffish feeling. The crowd isn't sitting there waiting for you to do something.
What venues globally have the best vibes for you?
Panaroma Bar in Berlin. D-Edge in Sao Paulo. Warung in Brazil. I've been lucky.
What was it like to be a resident at The End, one of the most-influential clubs in the modern dance music era?
I was very sad to see it go. I played there every month. It was really a feeling of family. My girlfriend at the time ran the marketing for the club. [DJ] Layo was head of programming, and his sister was head of logistics for the club. People were entirely into the music and loved it – even the bar manager. There was a real feeling of unity. It was professionally run, and it's rare you get that combination of factors in a club. Usually for clubs, there's someone behind the scenes there just to just make money. At The End there was a level of purity.
Where's your base now?
I don't have a residency. I play at Fabric's newer club Matter quite regularly. I play occasionally at Fabric. I'm happy with it being that way. I don't want to get into promoting my own thing. I'd rather do label showcases here and there and see how the landscape changes in London.
Have you been to L.A. before?
I came in March for holiday to hang out with a good friend of mine. I really enjoyed it. I was staying in Los Feliz. The feeling of that part of L.A. has a nice vibe to it. If you come to L.A. and know people there you have a really nice time. If you're a tourist and come off a plane, it could be difficult to find a sense of place really. I went to the [downtown Standard Hotel] rooftop party that the guys from Droog put on. It was a warm Sunday afternoon at a great space.
Will you program something different for the L.A. crowd Friday?
I guess I don't know what an L.A. crowd wants. I never program a set before I start playing. I always bring a lot of music. I have a few tracks I play to see how the crowd reacts, and that predicts what I'll play the rest of the set.
How is your label Simple going?
I sort of let Simple be focused on deep dance-floor house and techno. This year I'm really trying to push more sort of bass-line, bass music really.
What artists are you feeling these days.
My favorite of the last year has been Hot Flash, which is loosely dubstep. James Blake. Motor City Drum Ensemble – I'm always playing one of his records in my set.
What's upcoming for you?
You'll definitely get another artist album out of me, this year or maybe next.
Will Saul DJs with Simon Baker and Droog at tonight at Temporary Spaces 2, 4658 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood. Doors at $10. Tickets $15. Info.
Download a recent mix by Will Saul here.
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