william arcane, the wistful producer who makes music above a pub in new cross

Currently producing a soon to be released debut EP, William Arcane is showcasing new material sporadically at intimate and very popular live shows. He spoke about the influences of his surroundings and i-D watched him piece together an exclusive mix.

by Milly McMahon
18 June 2014, 8:00pm

William Arcance by Stephanie Sian Smith

Capturing the ebbing, fractured echo of broken heart longing, his multi layered atmospheric hymns tell of fractured love and dashed hopes. Currently producing a soon to be released debut EP, William is showcasing new material sporadically at intimate and very popular live shows. Chatting to the elusive artist in his flat one unremarkable Monday morning, William spoke about the influences of his surroundings and we watched him piece together a mix, exclusively for i-D. Listen to William Arcane's exclusive i-D mix.

What road were you born on?
I was born on a road called Stile Close, in a small village called Mulbarton.

How much of an influence do your surroundings have upon the music you make?
They definitely have an influence on my music, living in the city and experiencing live music here adds an edge to the songs that I don't think would be there if I'd stayed in the countryside. I also find that lyrically there is an influence, a lot of the new songs are about a longing or wanting something more and holding on to who you are. I think a lot of people who move into London forget themselves and where they are from and get sucked into these little scenes where they feel they have to act in certain ways to be accepted. 

As a new producer, do you use any old school analogue equipment?
I have no analogue equipment in my collection at the moment but a lot of software that emulates it. Eventually I'd like a room full of just old drum machines and classic synthesisers!

Chat us through this studio set up you built?
My studio set up is quite simple; I have my computer, Full sized weighted keyboard, guitar, NI machine, a lovely Neuman microphone, Roland SPD SX and an extremely large library of plug-ins and samples. I have also built my own acoustic panels for my room as well so I can mix more accurately. Sugary snacks are also an important part of my studio. 

What equipment do you work with and how did you first learn to produce?
I work mainly on Logic Pro 9 and then for live sets I use Ableton. I learnt to produce when I started recording my guitar into a computer and used some free software that could apply effects to the sound, like allowing you to reverse the sound. I then started adding more instruments and keyboards to these recordings and before I knew it I was locked away in my room for hours on end reading about compression techniques and abandoning all of my friends for virtual instruments.

When did you first begin producing and do you remember the initial influences behind the early material?
It was about 2007. A friend who lived across the street from me got some decks and some vinyl of various electronic artists and we used to play around with trying to beat match, I became really fascinated with the electronic sounds and percussion and how they would fit together and just wanted to learn how to make every sound I heard, really, and started producing in my room back in Mulbarton. Back then I think the influence was mainly the music my friend was suggesting to me and I was listening to a wide variety of other music as well.

What kind of headspace do you find yourself in when composing new material now?
It seems to be different every time I write. I seem to come out with better material when I'm just playing around with things and having fun with it. Some days though I can just sit there making stuff for hours and get to the end of the day and think "actually I don't like any of that," but it's all experience I guess.

What's on your rider right now?
Just a few beers and I'm happy. If the evil side of fame ever ensnares me then I'm sure I will not hesitate to demand diamond encrusted gold bottles of unicorn tears before every show.



Text Milly McMahon 
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith
Listen to William Arcane's exclusive i-D mix

William Arcane
Stephanie Sian Smith
Milly McMahon