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Music |

Interview: PillowTalk

Tuesday 01 April 2014

With festival season fast approaching, we have been scouring the multitude of line-ups to bring you the acts we are looking forward to the most – and nestled amongst our ever-increasing list are San Francisco three-piece PillowTalk.

Having become infatuated with their recently released LP ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, dropped by Wolf + Lamb this March, which demonstrates their true groove, and having heard about their forthcoming Crew Love Tour which spans from April to June we are eagerly awaiting PillowTalk’s appearance at Hideout – because if one thing is certain it’s that their mash-up of classic R&B, boogie, disco and underground led house is guaranteed to get the whole crowd bopping under the Croatian sunset.

Though they have only been releasing records since 2011, Sammy D, Mikey Tello and Ryan Williams have known each other for years and each member is ultra-talented in their own right – Sammy for sultry vocals, Ryan for his multi-instrumental dexterity and Mikey for his oh-so-fluid synth work – their first release with Life & Death was an indicator of what was to come. From the mesmerising instrumental of ‘Long Lost Friends’, to the dark muted tom toms and the three-note analogue synth in deep house favourite ‘Soft’, it is clear that variation is key to their success.

Here we caught up with the guys to talk musical influences, ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, cartoon characters and of course, Hideout.


So let’s start with an easy one, how did the three of you meet? I’ve read it was as a result of ‘messing about’, tell me more!

We’ve all been friends for years in San Fransisco running around in the same circles and just plain mucking about. Mickey and Sammy were neighbours and Ryan we all met through his brother Davi who is a fixture in San Francisco/LA club scene.

So I am guessing you have you all always wanted to make music?

That is a resounding yes on all fronts.

Thought so! I wouldn’t know where to start in defining your genre in a few words, how would you say it? ­

Dance music, with one foot in the underground and the other in the pop world.

Nicely put. Can you tell me a bit about your musical influences from youth until now?

We grew up listening to what our parents listened to, which is how it generally goes. But then you rebel and try to find your own identity and start to listen to whatever alginates your parents. So we went from classic rock, soul, funk, jazz, disco into hip­hop and punk rock. Then into new wave, industrial, acid house and then into techno.

So the whole spectrum then! What about other dj’s and producers, which have influenced you the most?

In terms of DJ’s –­ Doc Martin, Derrick Carter, Barry Weaver, DJ Dan, Carlos, Jeno, Solar, Nikola Baytala, Miles Maeda, Mark Farina, Joshua Iz, Hardkiss Brothers, Mark E Quark, Galen and Tasho. Then when it comes to producers – Francois K, Walter Gibbons, Arthur Russell, Moodymann, Theo Parrish, Rick Wade, Rick Whilhite, Larry Heard, Joe Claussell, M.A.W, J Dilla, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Dr Dre, Q Tip…..

Let’s talk about ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, it sounds like you have really found your groove, is this the closest representation to yourselves you have produced?

We would have to say yes although we feel we have only scratched the surface of our potential. Most of these tunes were written in the last 2 years so we are constantly evolving.

So did you set out to make the album or did it just happen?

A bit of both. We knew we wanted an album and we already had some songs in the bag. Then we just decide to sit down and fill it out.

Well it’s certainly worked, where did you find your inspiration?

We grab it from all sorts of places. Mostly from our everyday lives and relationships. From the current events around us. From other artists who we are into.

Lets talk Hideout, obviously you are one of our ones to watch, but who else should we be going to see?

Defintiely Kerri Chandler, Daniel Avery, Ame, John Talabot, Justin Martin, and Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb, of course.

If you could play at any venue or festival in the world, which would it be? ­

Hideout of course! Then it would be Coachella.

Good choice. I’m sure you don’t want to give much away, but what else do you have in store for us in 2014?

We are touring non­stop… hopefully we will have a break here and there to write.

Are there any new and emerging dj’s are you backing this year?

They aren’t new, but they are emerging – Solar, Split Secs, Sonns, Kenneth Scott, Ricoshei and dAvi A.

You all need to have a listen. Thirteen is an unlucky amount of questions, so here’s a final one – who are your ultimate favourite cartoon characters? One each!

Tom & Jerry, Pepe Le Pew and Yosemite Sam!

Thanks guys, can’t wait to see you in Hideout!

See Pillowtalk at Hideout Festival in Croatia this summer, 30th June – 3rd July, or they will also be touring Manchester – Amsterdam – Paris and London on the Crew Love Tour, tickets are available here