Wallace is a name becoming more and more synonymous with that dancefloor moment. If you’ve seen any high calibre diggers lately such as Hunee, Moxie, Axel Boman or Gilles Peterson then you’ve most likely heard a Wallace ear worm. Through his productions on Rhythm Section, Studio Barnhus and his own elusive white label series Tartan, he’s become a hit machine responsible for elevating dancefloors everywhere.
Headed by Palms Trax, Wallace adds CWPT to his prestigious discography list, cooking up a four track EP of leftfield disco, progressive house and wonky drum rhythms with a seasoning of psychedelia. We had a chat with the UK-based musician to dig a little deeper into the man and the music.
Thanks so much for chatting to us! Congratulations on a fantastic year, how has it been? Any stand-out moments?
Cheers for having me! Yea surreal at times having been tucked away for so long honing my music to then start sharing it & feel the love & support from people.
Putting out my Rhythm Section release was certainly a highlight, they’re a lovely bunch & have really embraced me as part of the family. Also moving the studio above ground this year looking out onto nature has helped inspire a lot of new music.
For our readers who don’t know you, can you tell us about yourself and how you started out?
My introduction to electronic music came through a friend who brought a French touch CD into school one day. He pressed play & ever since then I’ve been hooked.
During my time at Edinburgh University I ran parties & started to develop my djing. When my degree ended & it was time to pursue a “real job”, I decided to move back to my hometown of Shrewsbury to start making music. 10 years on & here we are.
Your latest release Willow is superb. What was the thinking and significance behind making the record?
The release is inspired & named after two hugely influential characters in my life. One of my best friends who sadly passed away & my favourite dog. The music is a tribute to the pair of them, partly poignant, partly joyous, drawing upon what they showed me & how they shaped my world.
What does a typical day in the studio look like for Wallace?
If I’m creating new material then l like to be well prepared beforehand. For me this is such a vital part of the process, having your working environment organised, building a unique sound library, learning your gear, training your ears such that if creativity hits you are best placed to capture it without any barriers to your flow.
Often the main idea for a song comes within the first 15 mins so I’ll usually spend a couple of hours trying out 15 min ideas before listening back & seeing if anything catches my ear. I find this technique really focuses my work & I waste less time on ideas which aren’t going anywhere.
Once I feel I’ve got something with legs I’ll start recording live takes on hardware or software synths. The mistakes, surprises and human touch from this method can really breathe the music to life. From there it usually takes me a couple of weeks to finish and mix the song down.
What can we look forward to in 2024? Or do you plan to sneak any last bits in before the end of the year?
I’m actually sneaking an album out next week on Mule Musiq called “Red, Yellow, Black”. The release is heavily influenced by nature, and more mellow than my previous work. Having written so much club-focused music this year I really wanted to show a different side to my sound, partly away from the dancefloor & something for the changing of the seasons.
As for 2024, I’ve got a new release with Rhythm Section in the pipeline & then an EP coming on Moxie’s “On Loop” label.
Tartan has developed a cult following amongst collectors. What was the thought behind the launch of the label?
It was actually born from a failed Optimo record deal. The sample was an issue so I just decided to start a white label series. I’d had the idea of having a man in a kilt on a record with the spindle going through his knob then had always liked the Soundstream records where every release was a different colour. Grace (Lethal Biddle) knocked out a killer tartan man & then I was put in touch with Prime Distribution who now do the legwork so I can just focus on the music. The idea has always been to offer something not too chinstroky, which translates well onto the dancefloor, the tartan flasher being the ideal front man! I had a full circle moment last year when I gave a copy of TARTAN001 to Optimo at the Berkeley Suite & watched them play it; it was also the first time I’d heard my music played in a club.
Are you a record collector yourself?
Yes I started collecting 7” at school before I was into electronic stuff & have carried on ever since. One of my big obsessions is 80’s/90’s Bollywood soundtracks, aside from those I get most joy unearthing an older record from the 90’s/00’s which no one else is playing. My brother is also an avid collector so we’re often talking about or sharing records.
Any upcoming dates and plans you’d like to mention?
I’ve got my Berlin debut next week at Panorama Bar. Then I’m off to Japan for a couple of shows in December to promote the Mule album. Japan inspired a few tracks from the release so it will be a nice moment to be able to play out there & get lost in translation!