Willaris. K is back with Lustre, his new EP. A year and a half after his first release, the Melbourne-based producer drops a 6-track EP exploring rich textures and creating beautiful soundscapes, probably inspired by his restless spirit, which has taken him from Australia to California via the UK in the past twelve months. We interview Willaris. to know more about the evolution of his sound, getting into collaboration, and how is he coping with the current global situation.
We interviewed you back in 2018 when you released your first EP, Alchemy. A year and a half later, you’ve produced and released another one, Lustre. After this time, where do you feel you stand now?
I think I’ve expanded the project musically and there’s less expectation of the dark sound that made up Alchemy. Getting into collaboration has allowed me to find new sonic worlds to work in, working with vocalists, writing more ambient stuff has also opened up doors with co-writing/producing and film score work.
I’d like to know how you’ve spent this last year and a half. Was it full-on producing and recording? Or did you have time to go outside, be inspired, and then locked yourself down for some months?
Nah, not really. I work in a way of just constantly starting/working on ideas and when something grabs, I go for it, but usually, I’m working on multiple projects at once in as many different environments as possible. It keeps it fresh. I worked on them between my house in Melbourne and studios in Sydney, and I was in the UK about a year ago and at Shangri La in California in September last year. I get restless when I’m in the same place for too long. I also always have to go outside every morning before I get into it. Before I moved to Melbourne, I’d swim at the beach every morning, but a run through the bush is the closest I’ve got here.
Your music keeps exploring rich textures. How do you feel your sound has evolved from Alchemy to Lustre? What lessons from your first release did you learn and take to produce this second EP?
I think the biggest step forward has been my production. I made Alchemy very early into learning to make music, which in some ways was a blessing because I was much less critical of the production and just trying to write good songs. Lustre came from experiments seeing where else I could take the project sonically outside of what was already established with Alchemy. I think I took a less is more approach into Lustre as well, when I was writing Alchemy I’d try to shove as many ideas and elements in there as possible, but over time, I’ve learnt that the best ideas are usually simple and stacking a song full of ideas usually means the existing idea isn’t very strong itself. Obviously, working with vocalists is a big change as well. Alchemy also taught me that no song is ever unfinishable – after going through thirty versions with Dour Nights, I never get too stressed when I'm stuck.
I feel most of the songs have a sort of in crescendo effect, starting more quietly or softly and growing bigger, with more layers and textures as they go on. Is this a conscious decision? Do you want to cause this feeling of ‘expansion’ or ‘growth’ within your tracks?
It’s just what comes out, I don't think about arrangement. When I’m writing, it’s all feeling and instinct-based. But yeah, I’m definitely drawn to expansion and growth within music and I think that translates to my own stuff.
For this EP, you have collaborated with other artists: Gordi on Indifferent, and Tom Snowdon on Get With My Light. Why did you choose them and in what ways have they contributed to your sound?
Two very unique voices I wanted to work with since the early days. It came about very naturally both times. As soon as I made both individual ideas, I heard them on each and thankfully they were into them and they absolutely nailed it. I’m drawn to the uniqueness of their voices.
Lustre is a 6-track EP, which comes after a previous 7-track EP. Is there something that attracts you especially from this format? Are you planning on working on an LP in the future?
Yeah, the plan after this is my debut album. I do like the long EP format, but it was never a conscious thought. Those tracks on Alchemy are the ones that made sense together, and same again with Lustre.
Covid-19 has changed everyone’s plans for 2020. With your new release, I guess you were looking forward to touring and playing in front of an audience. As an artist, what are you currently doing to overcome this situation? Are you rescheduling everything?
Yeah, that’s all we can do. I’m just trying to stay busy working on music and keeping healthy.