We Spoke wIth House Revivalist Weiss about His Dream b2b and How to Stay Mentally Fresh
UK producer and DJ, Weiss, has been a rising player in the scene in recent years. Since busting onto the international dance floor in 2013, Weiss has aligned himself with some of the most prolific players in the global house and techno arena. With his fair share of airtime support from BBC figureheads Pete Tong and Annie Mac, to recent releases through Claude VonStroke's Dirtybird label, Weiss has plenty strong backing to make him an artist-to-watch.
Bringing dance floor friendly house music to the masses, Weiss knows how to mix old and new school sounds in a fresh and inventive way. Comfortable using manipulated bass lines for more booty-pop inducing house music, as well as strong keys for a 90's piano house flourish, Weiss isn't scared to experiment with his sound to keep the crowd grooving.
We caught up with Weiss to discuss his early sources for music inspiration, which DJ he'd dream of doing a 4-hour b2b with, as well as the importance of maintaining your health in such a grueling industry.
EDM.com: So, let's start with the basics. In what genres do you find most of your inspiration? I hear a good amount of Chicago house influence in your production but all the basslines in your tracks are unique to you as a producer. Who were your biggest inspirations both in the house/techno world and outside of it?
Weiss: I’m very eclectic when it comes to music so I find a lot of different genres inspire me on a daily basis. I don’t just listen to House music all day! I love a lot of old 80’s stuff, rock, and classic soul & Disco is a big thing for me. It was always on in my house growing up as a kid, so its influenced me a lot, and I’ve always been huge fans of producers like Herbie Hancock etc. So, I do look for inspiration in some of these older sounds when making music. So, for house, definitely a lot of Old School Chicago sounds inspire me.
At what point in your life did you say to yourself, "Hey I think I can make something like that!"
In terms of when I first started producing it was pretty much the next logical step from Dj’ing and first playing around with my older brothers decks. I was so interested in how these sounds were made, and all the small details that go intro making electronic music. I wanted to find out more so looked straight into it. I guess when it first clicked when I started feeling comfortable using software and some of the first few bits of hardware I had in my bedroom studio, then I knew this is what I wanted to do! But I’m always inspired by other people’s music everyday!! When I hear something new or fresh it often gives me inspiration to start something new and helps my creativity with new ideas.
How long were you producing before you were sure that your first track was ready for release?
I’d been working in a studio down in Brighton for about two years as an engineer before I came back home and got my own proper studio setup. That's when I would say I knuckled down for a good couple of years before I found my own style that I was happy with and that I thought represented me and had its own unique sound. So really it was a good 4-5 years before I felt happy to start sending music out to labels!
When did you really start to see your career pick up some speed?
Well I’ve been releasing music for quite some time now, but with Weiss it kicked off after I released “My Sister” in 2013. It all went a bit crazy and I started to tour a lot more, it’s been great since then but I’ve always been growing and developing as an artist. For me its felt like its really clicked into place since the beginning of last year, I’m really happy with the music I’m releasing and the sound I’m producing.
To get to where you are today, did you have a long and slow progression or did it all kind of start to happen at once?
To be honest It has been quite a long journey from when I first started out producing under my own name all those years ago, but as Weiss everything has been going at quite a fast pace. In just 4 years I’ve produced with and remixed some amazing artists including Green Velvet, Gorgon City, MK, Rudimental, Icarus and Becky Hill. I’ve Played my dream gig at Fabric London, played alongside some amazing DJ’s, toured all over the world and have my own club night Weiss City, So I do feel like a lucky guy!
Most of your tracks feature a short phrase or vocal. Do you record those yourself or sample them from older records?
Both. I do really enjoy crate digging and sampling old vocals, and I love finding and creating new phrases and chopping samples us to create something new. Sometimes that’s how I’ll start a track. Get the vocal hook done then write something around that. And other times I’ve recorded my own vocals, and then had the pleasure to work with amazing artists like Green Velvet.
I really loved your track "Forbidden Fruit" with Green Velvet. Are there any artists that you're hoping to collaborate with in the future?
Thank you. Well I’ve just released a collaboration with Christian Nielsen called “Say It To Me” which is doing really well at the moment, and I am actually working on something new with Green Velvet to follow up “Forbidden Fruit” which we will hopefully finish soon! I’m also working on something new with Walker & Royce who are doing some great things at the moment.
If there is one person in the world you could do a 4 hour B2B with, who would it be and why?
Carl Cox. I’ve always loved him since the early 90’s hardcore days and specifically remember my friend having a video of him on VHS recorded at my local community centre in Farnborough from back in the day! He’s a true legend and a real DJ’s DJ, who else has managed to stay so current and on top of their game for so long, he has stayed true to himself and is just an amazing DJ, a lot of respect for him.
A lot of DJs talk about how spinning late at the club or all night studio sessions can really take a toll on their personal health. Not only that they find it difficult to have a "normal" family life. Do you feel that the effects of the strange schedule that comes with this career path take a toll on the quality of your day to day life or are you able to balance it all out nicely?
This type of career and lifestyle definitely takes its toll on you, with all the traveling, and late nights etc. Mixed with trying to maintain a tight schedule in the studio during the week, its especially harder now I’m a family man with kids but I do love what I do and feel very blessed. I think you manage to work out a way that fits into your life, you can only do so much, and have to make time for family and to have breaks from the music yourself. For your own sanity too!
I’m currently working on my first full length artist album at the moment which is taking up a lot of my time. It’s a real labour of love, and I’m finding it really exciting to have more creative freedom with not being tied to just writing club tracks. I produce all my music in my home studio as I just don’t feel comfortable writing music on the road whilst traveling. For me, I need to be in my studio environment to get into the zone, so with lots of touring it can make it difficult to keep on top of all the music deadlines! One thing that does help is having some good friends and team around you too, people you can bounce ideas off, speak to about your concerns. I’m lucky to have that with a good manager and a couple of great record labels I can call friends as well as homes for my music ☺