There are two sides to Will Clarke: the hard-hitting producer and DJ, relentless behind the decks and in the studio with tracks like “Back To The Jungle”, “Booty Percolatin’” and the recent “Don’t Hate Me”… and then there’s the cuddle-loving, burger-eating Brit who’s genuinely one of the nicest guys around. He responds to every single fan on social media and always promotes Dirtybird releases and events – whether he’s involved with them or not – just because he’s a true member of the team.
Listen to his mix of this year’s Dirtybird BBQ Compilation and read on for his (really great!) answers to the Birdhouse questionnaire.
How did your music career get started in earnest?
The fact that I had to Google the meaning of “earnest” and I still don't have a bloody clue what it means makes me feel like this interview is going to go just fine ;)… So I knew I wanted to be a DJ from the age of 9 and I knew I wanted it to be my full-time job by the time I was 13 when I started playing odd shows in Bristol. At age 17, I had a residency in Ibiza for a few years and lived on the island during those summer seasons. By age 20, I realized I had to make good music in order for my career to progress, so I stopped spending my summers in Ibiza and locked myself away in the studio for two years. In that time, I wrote “Big Booty” and signed it to Worthy’s label, Anabatic. That record was my first bit of success.
A year later, I signed [a record] to Dirtybird and the rest is history really. Right now, I am feeling more focused than ever. The last couple of years have been an amazing journey. Over the past few months, I've worked out where I want to take my career. It’s super nice to have focus and a goal to work towards.
Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?
So the closest city to me is Bristol and I was bought up in a tiny village called Clewer. Clewer doesn't have a single shop and is about five miles away from civilization. I don't feel Clewer has had an influence on my sound, but I do feel that Bristol has in a small way for sure.
How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?
At least once a week and that is still the case.
What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?
At the beginning of my career I didn’t own much hardware, but I did use the Logic ES2 Soft Synth in a lot in my first tracks. Bloody love that synth, actually might have to get it out again.
When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and career-wise)?
Hmmm tough question this one… Obviously, musically it was the Dirtybird crew, it was just sonically different from the rest. With regards to career, I think I've just done it my own way if I'm totally honest. I am super competitive, so if I see someone doing something I want to do, I will work my butt off until I achieve it. It’s only been the over past year where I've stopped looking at others and worked out exactly where I want to take my career and have set those goals. Also, on the career front, I grew up with hard working my parents and I feel like I have taken on that ethos. I will never stop working hard!
When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?
I’m a proper foodie, so I love to cook for my friends and family. When I'm in the kitchen, it’s the one place where I usually don't think about anything else - apart from what I'm cooking.
I also try to keep fit, so going to the gym always helps me out. It’s something that I make myself do, even if I'm not in the mood to do it, because I know after I’ll feel good about it.
Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?
There are quite a few places, let’s be honest, I'm a pretty lucky dude. Playing to a crowd who truly immersed in the music, that’s an amazing feeling. When I'm around my family and friends (from home or on the road), that’s a great feeling. But I am also quite a loaner. I often like to just go out on walks, put my headphones in, and just chill in the countryside. It’s amazing where I live. It’s green all year round and looks beautiful. Just alone, outside, makes me pretty darn happy.
Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?
Mainly sport-oriented, I was a black belt at kickboxing by the age of 16. I say “was” because I don't train anymore. I used to play quite a high standard of rugby and played for my county. Mostly my childhood was music and sports.
Favorite and least favorite colors?
Favorite is blue or black, least is brown.
Favorite and least favorite words?
Cunt and cunt. (It’s the best word but also gets you in trouble… sorry mum.)
Favorite guilty pleasure song?
Robbie Williams, “Entertain Me”.
German or Detroit techno?
Festival, club or illegal warehouse?
Hmmm, I have no preference. Love them all.
Biggie or Tupac?
Biggie all day long.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Exercise or Netflix?