Hey again ;). Alright so lately I’ve been feeling a bit lazy and unproductive so I wanted to releasee a double header today so without any more fuss I’d like to jump right into my newest installment for my artist series.
Some of you know him already as you’ve seen him serving’ up pizza with a healthy slice of techno! He’s a crazy good DJ and artist who goes by the name Willa!
Describe what music does for you.
For me, music is all about being lost in the moment. Vibrating on the frequency of now. Music makes you feel good, makes you feel grounded, makes you feel present and alive. It really gets you going, is what I’m trying to say!
Where are you from? What were you doing prior to pursuing music?
I was born in Oakland but grew up in south Florida in a town called Boca Raton. I like to think that’s where I learned to spot fakes 🙂 I’ve always been interested in music, and I started DJing when I was 18. It wasn’t until I moved back to to San Francisco in 2014 that I started taking it much more seriously. But outside of music, I’m a UX/Product Designer.
How’d you decide on DJ/Mixing and/or Producing? Why?
I remember as soon as I was allowed to get into nightclubs I would go by myself, get a red bull, and watch the DJ do their thing for hours. I always was so energized by the idea of conducting a room with dance music. Eventually I got tired of always wanting songs to be a little bit different, and having my own unique ideas for a spin on a popular song— so I started producing.
How long have you been DJ/Mixing and/or Producing?
I’ve been DJing for just over 10 years and producing for about 2.
How’d you form your artist name anyway?
Willaa was the handle I had on a music app called Crossfader. I had some friends that would shout “Willaaaa!!” when I entered a party (or even just when I entered a room really) I got a kick out of it and it kind of just stuck with me.
What has been your most memorable experience thus far?
It’s hard to nail down just one—so here are three.
1st:I DJed at my friend Tweety’s surprise 30th birthday party on a boat tour of SF bay. We went under the golden gate bridge and the song of the party was Storm by Justin Jay & Chris Lorenzo. The melodic breakdown at (time) came just as we were turning around under the bridge and they cut the motor on the boat for a moment so we were just floating in the bay breeze with the sun shining. It was a legendary moment.
2nd: DJing at the PinkezUp renegade at Dirtybird Campout 2017—WOW! It was a long day on Sunday and all the renegades were getting shut down after the main stage stopped.. except for one! I started playing at 3am and by 3:30 the whole dome was packed with people as far as I could see. It was so glorious and memorable—all my friends I met throughout the weekend were there… pure magic.
3rd: Opening for Bruno Furlan at Halcyon. Getting to hand off the decks to someone I admire surrounded by all my friends was surreal. Plus Halcyon is an incredible venue
Any clubs, venues, or festivals you have played that really stuck out to you?
Halcyon is an amazing venue in SF—the sound is killer and Will, the light FXs guy, REALLY knows his stuff so the visuals are always spectacular and match the mood of the music and room flawlessly.
One of the most difficult aspects about being in this scene?
Drama and bullshit with your friends around bookings or competing parties… it sucks to accidentally compete against people who are your good friends when you each throw parties on the same day and are pulling attendees from the same crowd.
Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener?
Sort of. One friend told me that watching DJs at festivals with me is like going to a restaurant with their friend who’s a chef. It’s like everything that’s served I just say “Well this is OKAY but it’s not how I’D do it…” I got a kick out of that. The truth is once you’ve been DJing for a long time then you can’t help but hear imperfections in mixes. And when you do, it ruins a bit of the fun. It’s no secret to my friends that I can’t tolerate listening to sub-par DJs… BUT- it just makes really good performances that much more magical, when I can forget about being critical and just send it with my crew.
Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now?
OMNOM fucking love that guy.
Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know?
Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out?
Here are my original tracks
And my latest mix of tunes I’ve been digging – plus a bunch of unreleased songs!
Do you have any cool shows or projects in the future?
Playing with Ardalan and a bunch of friends this Friday in the mission! Really excited for that one.
How far do you want to take this?
I’m never gonna stop.
Any last minute things you’d like to say?
I think what’s made a difference for me this past year is leaning on and collaborating with my friends in the scene much more. Nobody is in this game on their own—we’re all on this wave together. Let’s ride it!
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