Published Oct 29, 2007Cultivated in Ohios DIY noise community, Joe Williams has blossomed into an extraordinary songwriter teeming with vivid concepts and unbridled elasticity. Dropping his first name to assume the much snappier moniker of White Williams, this 23-year-old NYC-based wunderkind has prefab-ed an imposing collection of transmittable melodies, which hes shaped with a multitude of influences. Constructed using a laptop and various analog gear, Williams taps into the 21st centurys glut of nostalgia to mess with the concept of modern music and find a unique niche for himself. Loaded to the ceiling with deviant synths and rhythmic programming, he turns the notion of new wave or glam upside down and inside out, exposing the possibilities of producing something new with a little radical tinkering. His airy revitalisation of Bow Wow Wows "I Want Candy reminds us of how dead cool that retro classic is, while he nicks Neu!s algorithmic drum patterns for some titillation in the soaring glam of hook-crammed single "New Violence. What will get people talking (and moving) though is the slack polyrhythm of "Going Down, which recalls Remain in Lights volatile cadence. Smoke introduces a wonky world with a series of striking songwriting examples that manages to surpass any notions of the past, present and future of music to somehow remain a timeless treasure.
Youve gone through many changes as an artist, originally coming up through the Cleveland noise scene. How did you find your sound for Smoke?
A lot of hitting my head against the wall and learning about microphones, recording and software. I started experimenting with my parents computer when I was about 17 in high school and I had no one to help me research music. Continually hitting my head against the wall, I slowly found myself toying around with sounds. From their I got better at teaching myself, and picking up microphones and learning guitar for this project.
Your real name is Joe Williams. Whats up with the honky first name?
The only reason the name is the way it is is because theres a jazz singer named Joe Williams already, and I just appreciate the alliteration. There are no connotations or characters or anything. Theres nothing in music thats so preferential. I wouldnt want to be anonymous but it wouldnt change the way I do anything. Thats why when you lift the CD out of the case theres a picture of my friend. Its not a big concern for me to be any kind of personality. (Tigerbeat6)