An In Depth Interview With DJ WILLIAM REED!
Posted On 20 Jan 2017
From his early musical development growing up inside the Frankfurt, Germany underground music scenes, to his iconic radio shows on KZON, KWSS, KNRJ & KRKQ and now Dash Radio to his award-winning dance parties Singles Going Steady, French Kiss, Sticky Fingers, Pretty Vacant, Shake!, Adult Swim & Style Council, LA’s William Reed aka Pleasure Principle has toured with and performed alongside seminal acts across all genres to include Calvin Harris, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, Kingʼs of Leon, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Arcade Fire, Guns N Roses, Jimmy Eat World, M83, Girl Talk, Belle & Sebastian, Peter Bjorn & John, Vampire Weekend and many many others. He has also DJ’d birthday parties and private events for Moby, Norah Jones and Dita Von Teese.
William Reed currently maintains DJ residencies at The Standard, Ace Hotel, W Hotel Los Angeles, Skybar at Mondrian Hotel, No Vacancy, Harvard & Stone, Chestnut Club, Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs can often be found DJʼing celebrity, red carpet and industry events around Los Angeles and beyond.
Learn more about DJ William Reed in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music? What are you most excited about for 2017? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
For better or for worse, 2016 was simply unforgettable. We all lost so many musical legends in such a short time span.
Some of my personal highlights were clocking in close to 300 gigs and performing for some of my favorite film & TV stars.
2017 is a clean slate and I’m most excited for the possibilities on the horizon.
I’m booked 25+ gigs a month, have a new radio show, have produced some really amazing events starting with my annual Oscar party at Bar Marmont, plan to finish my album, wrap the pilot for an original music based talk show and would love to open my own club. And, of course, to travel more. I’m currently in France on my way to London for a string of DJ gigs.
Growing up, did you always want to be a DJ? Can you recall some of your first musical/DJ memories? How do you think your upbringing in Frankfurt, Germany influenced you to be a DJ?
I grew up listening to my father blaring his records with the windows open on the weekends–The Rolling Stones, Prince, Michael Jackson. Those early years definitely had a long term impact on my musical development. Although I never aspired to be a DJ.
In the mid 90’s my mate and I would DJ high school house parties. We had 2 Sony discmans and a radio shack mixer. We had no idea what we were doing but absolutely lived for it.
Growing up outside of Frankfurt, Germany–in Heidelberg–had a monumental impact as a DJ. It was there in the 90’s that I was first exposed to electronic dance music. British MTV would regularly play videos of The Prodigy, Captain Hollywood Project, et al. Moby, Orbital and Plastikman were all releasing albums. I would spend the weekends at the now defunct Schwimmbad Club and when my friends would flock to the mainstream dance floor I would hit the basement and dance for hours to acid house, trance and jungle. At the time i had no idea what it was but it definitely changed my life.
I’d love to know more about your famous dance parties. How do you go about setting them up and choosing with kind of music to play at them?
In the early 2000’s I was bored with “the scene” and instead of complaining i filled the void with starting my own dance party. That’s pretty much how it went down every time. Whether it was Shake!, Sticky Fingers, Adult Swim (my weekly pool party) or my monthly Singles Going Steady.
You’ve had many iconic radio shows. Can you talk about a few and what you learned from them?
My career in radio stemmed out of my passion for music and my advocacy of the underground. My very first gig in radio came about when it was announced that the only local indie/underground show was getting the axe. I couldn’t let that happen so I convinced the station program director to let me take the reigns. The rest is history.
Currently, you maintain DJ residencies at several places. How do you balance it all? Does it leave you with much free time?
People often say to me, “you’re the busiest DJ in Los Angeles”. I have no idea if that’s true or not and honestly that’s not my concern. I love what I do and I’m grateful every day.
You definitely learn how to balance it all in time. Routines are developed around gigging and studio schedules.
I work nights so my social life is pretty much non existent. However I do hope to open my own club in Hollywood or downtown Los Angeles one day.
You have won several DJ awards. Which one or ones are you most proud of today? Which one has meant the most to you?
Wow, that’s a good question. I’m always truly honored and grateful when I’m recognized for something I’m so passionate about. Winning “Best DJ” was always so humbling.
You are known by many as a tastemaker. Where do you learn about new music? What sources do you use to consistently stay on top of the music scene?
The late BBC DJ John Peel was my biggest inspiration when I first dove into radio and DJ culture and i still look up to him today.
As a DJ today–especially playing so many events with a diverse palette–I find inspiration everywhere–blogs, magazines, radio, other DJ’s. Quite literally everywhere.
You have played alongside so many incredible acts. Which ones stand out to you?
Arcade Fire were so nice. Paul Epworth who produced Adele was truly a gent, I’ve played with members of The Smiths, New Order, New York Dolls, Ramones–all true icons and all just really great to work with.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you love to DJ alongside in the future?
The UK’s Greg Wilson is hands down my absolute favorite DJ. He’s been doing it for 40 years: I would love to play alongside him someday.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers regarding yourself or the music you play?
My library is rooted in the classics–funk, soul and disco. From there I like to genre-hop across many decades to create a mix that will inspire and be unpredictable.