London-based duo Walls are fresh off the heels of their sophomore LP, Coracle, which was released early October via Kompakt. I had the chance to get in touch with Sam Willis and Alessio Natalizia and have them answer a few questions regarding their new album and discuss some other Walls-related info.
PJDV: You guys both play in different bands, how did you meet and what inspired you to create ‘Walls’?
Sam: The way we met was that I was asked to do a remix of Alessio’s Banjo Or Freakout project (under the Allez-Allez moniker) by Richard Onslow, who runs the Half Machine label-he really liked the mix and suggested that we work together, just for fun… We clicked really quickly and very soon had a bunch of tracks that became the basis for our debut album.
PJDV: Has ‘Walls’ become your main focus, is it still technically a side-project for each of you?
Sam: We hate the term ‘side project’ it just seems to suggest that one is less important than the other. Any serious creative endeavour requires 100% of your attention, focus and love–all of our projects we feel are as important as each other.
PJDV: Did you expect your self-titled debut to be so well-received?
Sam: We were pleasantly surprised by the response to the first record, in that it was something very personal that we made for ourselves, and just happened to go down well with journalists and the audience. With this new one, we felt no greater outside pressure than the ones that we always put on ourselves. We both have to feel 100% happy with everything that we put our name to as Walls, which means that by the time the album was done, we felt confident that for where we are now that’s the best we can do, which is a great feeling, because no matter whether people love it or hate it, we’re proud of it and feel like we’ve achieved what we set out to do. Now we can’t wait to get started on the next one!
PJDV: With so much electronic-based music being produced by a single mind, how do you guys go about making your songs as a duo? Do they begin on as simple ideas on instruments or are they written as they are recorded?
Alessio: Being a duo makes things easier more than complicated. It means where one of us doesn’t know which way to go the other can take the lead and show the way.
PJDV: After your self-titled album had been released for some time, what was your vision and what were your goals for Coracle?
Alessio: We wanted Coracle to be a much fuller-sounding record. The first album is comprised of our very first compositions together-it was us exploring all kinds of different styles, tempos and atmospheres; production-wise it was a bit more scrappy and more free, perhaps even a bit naïve, which we really loved. But it would have been impossible and pointless to capture that again. Quite simply, we’ve gotten a deeper and richer understanding of what we want to achieve together musically, as well as working really hard on our production/engineering skills and we feel the new record is more consistent, and richer as a result of that.
PJDV: Who are your favourite musicians of all time?
Alessio: Whoa! There are so many! We like musicians that never repeat themselves and are not afraid to fuck up.
PJDV: Similarly, if you could collaborate the next Walls next project with another artist, who would that be? Same answers?
Alessio: I don’t know… Brian Wilson??
PJDV: London has seen quite a bit of social turmoil in the last couple of months. What would it take for you guys to relocate?
Sam: It was crazy during the riots, but it was very quickly back to normal again, so not really a reason to leave–although the general hectic nature of life in London plus how expensive everything is really makes the idea of moving out to somewhere more laid back and cheap a very attractive option!
PJDV: If you HAD to go see either Skrillex, Justin Bieber, or Nickelback, which would you choose and why?
Alessio: Sam was telling me about Skrillex the other day… I’ve never heard of him but from what he said it sounded like a could be lots of fun! In a bad way of course!