take a trip with london producer, tourist

Hailing from South-East London, Will 'Tourist' Phillips has worked his magic on tracks by Sam Smith and Chvrches as well as a series of impressive tracks for himself. Currently touring the US, join us for a whistle-stop guide to his life.

by Hattie Collins
27 March 2014, 8:00pm

Tourist wears jacket Duvetica. Shirt Z Zegna. Jeans Levi's. Rings Kyle Hopkins, George Frost. Shoes Dr Martens.

Your life story?
Music is the only thing I'm not shit at. When you have three sisters growing up, you need something to do. It would be embarrassing if I wasn't any good at it by now because I've been doing it for like 16 years. I've played piano since I was 3. I taught myself.

How did you go from bedroom producer to getting signed?
About a year ago I decided I needed to put out an EP. I was thinking 'How do I do that' so I thought I'd do it myself. I incorporated a little company and I was marketing guy, A&R guy, producer, artist, everything. I put the EP out online and it got onto Pitchfork and Hypemachine, which was a huge compliment. A lot of eyes turned my way. It's been a whirlwind year but out of all of the noise I've managed to find people who I think are amazing and I'm privileged to work with them. I'm signed to Polydor, but my next EP is coming out on Disclosure's label, who I just toured with. They're awesome dudes.

How would you describe your sound?
It's like dance music for people who don't like to dance. Music to drive to late at night, or listen to on public transport.

Which track best sums you up?
I did a track on my EP called I Have No Fear and I did a remix for Chvrches which I really like too.

Do you think you're any good?
I don't actually. I know that sounds pathetic but I think if I did then I might not write very good music because of the complacency thing. I'm not Bowie or Beethoven. I seem to write good music when I'm really hard on myself.

Who's your style icon?
James Dean. He was just the dude wasn't he?

Career highlight to date?
The fact that I wake up and I'm lucky enough to do this for a living is so humbling. There's certain music that I've written that I'm proud of, touring with Disclosure, doing Boiler Room, touring America, hearing my music on the radio - I downplay it all because I can't take it all in. There's only 8 pieces of music out there, so with my new EP, I'm lucky to have worked with such great people and found great people to work with. But that this is my job is pretty great.

Karaoke song of choice?
It's My Life, Talk Talk.

Favourite TV character?
D'Angelo Barksdale from The Wire.

How do you hope to change the face of music?
There's nothing wrong with selling a lot of albums but there's something wrong with selling a lot of bad albums. I think a lot of people sell a lot of bad albums. But then you look at James Blake and he manages to have enough boldness in his taste to do his own thing and I think people deserve it. I don't care about appealing to everyone, I just care about appealing to a few people really meaningfully.



Text Hattie Collins
Photography Nick Dorey
Styling Hanna Kelifa

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