After releasing his album Hypnotic last week, Wilkinson has announced a plethora of incredible Summer performances across the US, UK and beyond. With him being the man of the moment in DNB, we thought it only right to have a chat with the producer about creating an album, choosing his singles, performing live and more.
Your album Hypnotic is out now. How is it that this came out in 2017 when it was discussed two years prior?
I wanted the album to be perfect. I've been constantly touring around the world since the release of my first album and just didn't have the time to get the album to state in which I felt it was finished. Finally, last year I managed fit in enough studio time to finish it.
Why is it called Hypnotic?
'Hypnotic' describes the way I work in the studio. Since the day I started producing music my best songs came from sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours forgetting about life, forgetting about dinner, forgetting about time and anything outside of the room. It's a hard mental state to describe. Also I felt like artistically there was a lot we could do with the word and subject 'Hypnotic'.
Our favourite track on the album is 'Wash Away' - this isn't DNB - does this mark a change in direction for you?
It's also my favourite track. I've always messed about with different tempos but never really felt confident enough to release it. Its tempo is 87bpm so it actually mixes easily with my drum and bass written at 174bpm. For me, 'Wash Away' was a moment in the studio I'll never forget. I'd previously recorded the vocal hooks with Ali Tennant but wanted to take out all the music, change the key and start again.
I remember sitting there for hours trying to find an epic but emotional chord sequence that would feel like it doesn't quite resolve and was constantly uplifting. When I found it at about 10pm I couldn't stop and had to get all the production down. I didn't leave the studio until about 4am but I felt like I may have made my best tune ever. Quite a mind blowing experience! I'm ready to experiment with new sounds and styles now but I'm definitely sticking to my D&B roots!
Of course, you're considered one of the most credible UK cross-over producers in DnB. How have you managed to retain your original fanbase whilst also making chart-friendly music?
Every step of the way I've tried to stay loyal to my fans. I've turned down things that would have given me a lot of exposure and money but decided they weren't right for me to do. I've never released anything I've not been 100% proud of and that doesn't represent me. Don't get me wrong, I got into music because I wanted to create the music I like, it was never for anyone else, but since getting a record deal I've gained fans and I believe that in order to carry on making the music I love for the rest of my life I have to be loyal to the people that support me, come to my shows and buy my music. Longevity is my priority.
How do you choose which vocalists you collaborate with?
I've always loved working with fresh upcoming talent. New talent really excites me and I love exposing it to the people that listen to my music so I'm constantly keeping my ear out for new singers.
You recently sold-out and performed at Camden Roundhouse, how was this for you?
It was a real moment for me, it felt like milestone in my career. I've worked so hard on creating a live show that fully represents my music. Being able to have all the vocalists from my new album in one place performing to over 3000 people was emotional. Walking out on stage gave me the shivers I got when I played my first ever set in a club. It was definitely an emotional one!
What's your favourite show you've played?
I'd have to say the Roundhouse, I shared that moment with so many friends, family, fans and colleagues that have been on this journey with me since day one.
Where can we catch you this Summer?
I'm playing pretty much everywhere Glastonbury, V Festival, SW4, Creamfileds along with U.S and European festivals.
What's next for Wilkinson?
I've just finished my next 2 singles so more music, more shows and I'm taking what I do to the next level now.
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.