Having performed a DJ set at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2014, drum ‘n’ bass producer Wilkinson is back in 2015; stepping up to headline the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage with his full live band. We caught up with Wilkinson backstage to discuss his headline set, working with The Prodigy and his forthcoming album, which is set for release in 2016.
You performed at Reading Festival yesterday, how was that?
I had a few technical issues at the beginning of the set but then it kicked in, and it turned out to be such a good gig. I don’t know how many people were in that tent, but there was a lot, and it was a long day building up to it. We’ve been rehearsing for these shows for a while now; it was just amazing to get on that stage with the band and headline.
Have you got anything different planned for your Leeds set tonight?
I’m itching to do Leeds tonight, travelling up here on the bus with the crew has been amazing as we’re all experiencing this together, and it’s going to be a good show.
How does it feel to step up and headline the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage this year?
It’s crazy as last year I did a DJ set with a load of production. At the beginning of the year, we put together this live show, and we’ve spent a lot of time and money building it up. I feel it’s a really strong show; we’ve got an amazing drummer, an amazing guitarist and an amazing vocalist. So when we got offered the headline slot, we thought we have to do it.
We’ve got a really good sound engineer and last night he made our tent the loudest stage at the festival, which is great to hear. It’s a combination of all the people I work with that fill me with confidence to pull off a headline set.
After tonight, you head off to Australia, New Zealand and the States, what have you got planned for those shows?
I’m back to Djing again; it’s always a challenge getting to every city that I have fans in, I love just hitting all the clubs and meeting everyone. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself. I’m doing around thirty-five shows in the next six weeks, and I can’t wait. I’ll be bringing the fun and playing the music I love to play.
In the past, you’ve remixed tracks for The Prodigy, Ed Sheeran and Chase & Status; how do those remixes come about?
When you start getting your name out there as a producer, artists want your take on their music. Over time I’ve been asked by smaller artists, and that’s gone on to bigger artists such as Chase & Status, who I was a massive fan of at the time, and now we’ve become good mates. Then Ed Sheeran asked me and not so long ago The Prodigy; that for me was the biggest artist I’ve remixed. They’re an idol of mine, so for them to ask me to remix their tune, it’s such an honour.
Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to do a tune with The Prodigy that would pretty much just make my life complete. I also like discovering new vocalists it’s something I pride myself on, and it might also help them to get a leg up into the industry.
You released your latest track Breathe as a free download, and it charted on the iTunes chart at No. 14, did you expect a free download to chart?
The track was written by Shannon Saunders, my girlfriend, and we’ve been performing it live for awhile. It seems at the moment artists are doing really long buildups, for example, you hear a track on the radio, and it’s available on pre-order two months before it’s set to come out.
We just really wanted to give something back, and the amazing thing about it was you could get it free from the website, but people were buying it from iTunes. And I think that shows how devoted my fans are, so thank you.
Can we expect to hear a full album anytime soon?
I’m finishing off my second album, which is going to come out at the start of summer next year, which I’m really excited about as I now feel I’ve found myself as an artist. It’s been such a struggle getting into the studio with all the shows. It’s almost done, it’s just a case of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s and finishing it by February, and hopefully we’ll have it out by early summer 2016.
When can we expect to see you performing back in the U.K?
After the shows in the States, I’m going to take a few months off as I’ve literally had no time off for about four or five years. When I’ve finished the album I’ll be touring the U.K. and Europe in March and April we’re just booking in the dates now, so I’m looking forward to announcing that soon.