Hailing from the Australian coastal town of Tweed Heads, Willaris. K was responsible for monitoring the power conversion at substations, along the New South Wales and Queensland border, before quitting his day job to pursue music full time. “I never expected it to happen,” he said speaking openly about his transition into music, “but it was always something I was pursuing. The real transition came when I went on 11 months leave for work in April 2017 and instead of going travelling in that time as I’d planned, I started writing music and playing shows full time.”
His style is broad. It encompasses techno and electronica with elements of ambient, classical music. “That paints a pretty good picture, especially for the first EP,” he said.
For Willaris K, the best ideas come from places of movement and emotion. I asked about what effect he felt his surroundings had on his musical development, but it wasn’t always positive; “There were restrictions like working full time. That made me make time and sacrifices, but working full time meant I was in the car a lot listening to different music. I think that was key in the early days of establishing what Willaris. K was and sounded like. I don’t think surroundings have as much of an impact on music opposed to how you’re feeling and what’s happening in your life though.”
Hailed as one to watch, Pete Tong has claimed that Willaris K already has something that is really hard to attain. “I think he was talking about having a unique identifiable sound. That’s great, I’m stoked. It’s exactly what you want to hear as an artist, especially in 2018 creating electronic music.”
Earlier this year we had an interview with another Australian artist, Threebeds, who said he’d like to see more support in the local industry. But are these thoughts shared? “I can only speak from my experience and so far it’s been good,” Willaris K said. “I don’t live in a city so I feel somewhat detached from it, but there’s a radio station here called Triple J Unearthed which is all about ‘unearthing’ artists. In the early days there’s really not a better way to get your music into the world.”
We went on to speak about his new EP, titled ‘Alchemy’, which has been a work in progress since February 2016. “I think it took as long as it did because I was still learning along the way,” he said honestly. “Everything in terms of production, music and life, was something I was still trying to figure out. Basically half of it was started while I was working full time and the other half was started in the period just after I released Alchemy the single. It’s quite intense and I think that comes from the frustration that came from working full time as it was starting to take flight and feeling trapped with the time limitations. It’s really the audio story of my transition from being electrician to full time musician.”
Many of the tracks were built with live shows in mind; notably ‘Risen’ and ‘Perpetual Love’. “That mindset came from being booked for a live show with only having Alchemy finished and having to fill a 40 minute live set in 5 weeks. It made it easier because the scope narrowed a lot and that’s something I feel comfortable with, being able to imagine tracks in a club setting and write for that moment. Also, around that time Alchemy had just been added to rotation on Triple J, which I never expected, and that started to play on my mind a bit during the creative process. It was good to be forced out of that head space with a live show deadline.”
Everything is about balance. “Too much free time and you lose perspective and motivation,” he said. “Not enough time and you lose it all together [laughs]. I went from one extreme to the other recently, so it’s definitely about balance. I try to have some sort of routine because otherwise I get nothing done. Getting out of the house as early as possible is key for my creative productivity.”