T. Williams, real name Tesfa, sets himself apart from other DJs with his vast knowledge and appreciation for different eras and genres within the underground music scene. T’s genuine love for music has allowed him to spin the well-crafted, eclectic sounds he brings to his sets today.
On Saturday 15 March T. Williams returned to Liverpool to celebrate Chibuku Shake Shake’s birthday. With the prime slot of the night, 1-3, T played to a house hungry crowd in the theatre of the East Arts Village Club and boy did he fill them up! As well as serving Liverpool with, yet again, undeniably the best set of the night T seemed to share the crowd’s enjoyment as he unexpectedly partied alongside his raving fans for Route 94’s set. Before the night Jyoti was lucky to catch up with Tesfa to find out about the highly demanded man’s journey through music.
Yoo this is Jyoti Pancholi from LSRadio and I’m here with T.Williams.
Hello, what’s happening.
So T you’re in Liverpool this weekend for the Chibuku Shake Shake birthday party, how you feeling about returning to the city?
I’m stoked man, looking forward to it. Last time I was in Liverpool it was so much fun, I got to play a longer set the intended and yeah I just had a really good night.
I saw you play last time and your set was incredible. Honestly best set of the night. A fair few of my mates said they didn’t know you that well before that night and afterwards you were all everybody could talk about!
Aww thank you very much. Yeah I mean it was good because like you said I don’t think many people knew who I was and it was great for me to get that response.
So for those that don’t know you how would you sum up your DJ Sets in 3-5 words?
‘Party vibes all night.’
Most people know you through the residency slot you had on Radio One in ‘New DJs We Trust’, so how did you go about getting this gig?
Erm to be fair I got asked to do a pilot for the show, I did my pilot and they came back to me and said they would like to offer me a space on the show. I’d received a lot of attention from doing my show on Rinse FM, I had a weekly Sunday 5-7 slot on there and I think that really helped. I left Rinse in April 2013 then went to Redbull Music Academy and in between that time Radio One hit me up.
That’s cool, so how have you found it then, I bet you love it?
Ah yeah it’s been amazing, definitely opened up doors.I’ve now been doing cover shows, two weeks ago I did the Triple Dance Takeover on a Friday Night. I’m also taking part in the Radio One charity cycle. All the DJs are, me and Nick Grimshaw are going head to head on it, so that will be a laugh.
Is this for Sport Relief?
Yes it is, we will have to see who lasts the longest. Obviously me, haha.
Well good luck in that although sure you’ve got it in the bag!
So going back to your music, Before T. Williams you were called Dread D, this was in your Grime days. Now I’m guessing you’re still into grime, but you just don’t really play it anymore?
Ha yeah, saying that I just put up a 5 minute Grime mix onto my soundcloud! I don’t really play it in my sets anymore, but yes I am still fully into it. To be fair grime probably still influences the music that I make to this day.
In what way?
Well my last EP had a couple of Grime tracks on, like they had that gritty edge to them.
Yeah it’s great how you can mix up your genres and add Grime to your House to keep it fresh and different.
Yeah for sure. Grime music has influenced me so much, like my childhood years and teenage years. They’re never gonna go haha.
Yeah now the influence on teenagers is House, what’s your opinion of this ‘moving on with the times’ and the change in generation with music?
I mean it’s cool. It’s good that at a young age people are getting into house music, but then there are two sides to it like you’ve your boys Disclosure on one side and then techno on the other, there’s a wide spectrum of music to choose from within the genre. It’s just all about finding what works for you. Like you said young kids nowadays have gotten into house music, when I was younger I got into Garage and Grime then I grew up and got into House, it’s like a natural progression. But yeah you should never turn your back on what you grew up listening to. I have loads of Jungle records from when I was younger, I still love all that. I wouldn’t say “nah I’m not into that anymore.” Those days influenced what I play now.
Yeah a lot of people turn their backs on music cause ‘it’s not cool’ anymore, it’s frustrating.
Ha very frustrating, but I guess if you’re not into a genre anymore then fair enough. For me Jungle and Drum and Bass in ‘93/94 through to ‘98 that was my flavour, that era I was properly into and I still drop a few tracks here and there but right now Drum and Bass isn’t my thing. I still would never turn my nose up at it. I respect what the DJs out there are doing, like DJ EZ’s got a lot of bookings at the moment, I respect that. It’s good. For me I just have a big love for dance music.
Do you, yourself, like listening to Techno?
I’m not the biggest fan no, I prefer more soulful beats. So like Berkin, that real German techno sound, I’m not really into that.
I recently went to Berlin, they have a massive techno scene out there.
Yes that’s their thing, their first love do you know what I mean. I have played a couple of times in Berlin and it was great, they really loved something a bit different. I played garage, grime and it was something they weren’t use to but they responded well.
And Disclosure you’ve mentioned, you toured with them in America didn’t you? How was it?
That was amazing! Hard at times because there were 12 guys on a tour bus, all sleeping on bunk beds.
Ha, not going to lie I don’t want to imagine the smell with that many guys!
Yeah yeah haha it was, erm, emotional at times! But touring itself overall it was really amazing I got to play in some great places. In LA there was a nightclub called Sound, I played back to back with Disclosure and then Dusky supported. That was sick. Also seeing my name in boulevard lights was pretty amazing, yeah every day was a different experience.
From touring with Disclosure to collaborating with Shadow Child on your recent record ‘Want you to’- I wonder are there any others collaborations in the pipeline for T?
I’m working with a girl called Tala at the moment and Tendai who were both on my last EP. I definitely will work with Shadow Child again it was a lot of fun and a good catch up.I’d also like to work with my good friend Breach, it would be good to get in the studio with him.
Good stuff, lots to look forward to from you in the future then! So I’m going to put you on the spot;
In an ideal world where would you be DJing with all your friends?
It would have to be Thailand Ko Pha Ngan, I’d love to take all my mates there and have a good partay!
So you’re in Thailand Ko Pha Ngan, who would you choose to be playing back to back with all night?
Grant Nelson, yeah my mates would appreciate that.
Aw, sweet thinking about your friends! Okay next, you’re on a plane and you have to jump out. What song would you want to be hearing whilst you jump out?
Haha yeah come on, think a feel good song. You want to keep calm in this situation and bring happy vibes.
Ha alright remember the garage tune ‘Flowers’?
Yes! Sweet female attitude-Flowers, classic.
And lastly T you say you’ve got a big love for dance music so I would like to know what your top tunes would be from the following genres:
DJ Gregory- attend one
Apple De Siegalizer
Dillinja – Grimey
And a classic 90s Dance Anthem
Mantronix-take your time
I offered T to sing this one to me and he politely declined. A girl can only try.