Using everything from drops from a tap to the crash of a brick samples of life can be heard throughout Memotone’s music. Being hard to place into one category, this music is genre spanning and beautiful. Multi-instrumentalist, Memotone occasionally harks back to the 140bpm of dubstep but then will break this with a stream of classical piano. His sound is relies on heavy use of samplers, layered instrumentation over the top of field recordings, conversation, atmospheres and electronica programming all tied up with live acoustic come wonky MPC built beats, although that is not where it ends.
William Yates produces form his bedroom in Dorset and uses a lot more than the surrounding fields and cows to contribute to his sound. The technical side of the performance is a captivating blend of live instrumentation including piano, keyboard, clarinet, trumpet, zither, guitar, bass, drums, glockenspiel, organ, melodica and toy instruments looped on a Boss RC-50 loop pedal with live audio effected by a Kaoss Pad 3 and samples triggered from an MPC 1000. When playing, William Yates is switching from instrument to instrument, from pads to keys and from pedal to pedal and sometimes all together.
This is an artist who’s sound is the sound of today. Another example of the tremendously high calibre of music coming from peoples bedrooms. You will hear Mount Kimbie, Four Tet, Burial, Dark Star, 65daysofstatic and Caribou but at the same time he maintains a sound that is very unique.
We caught up with him at his studio in the countryside.
How would you describe your music?
I am not really sure how to describe my music because it is constantly evolving and changing. For the most part it is a concentration of ideas and feelings but sometimes I just make a piece because I want to. Just because I love making music. But even then it usually has the stain of recent events imprinted within it. Because my music is mostly instrumental, quite often the instruments take over an dictate what the mood is going to be. My music is like a diary for me. I can listen back to pieces I made years ago and be taken straight to the time they were written. Something I strive for with my music is to make sounds that remind the listener of a time or are in some way nostalgic.
Are you working on any visual element to your sound?
I regularly upload live videos to youtube. I always listen to music and think, especially with electronic music, how the sounds are being made and wonder if it could be performed live. So I decided I would start uploading live videos as an example of how someone within the reaches of electronica would go about performing live. I have also made a couple of visual videos to support my music. Writing scores for films is something I have always been keen on. I think I would like that to be my main source of income eventually. And I have alredy done soundtracks for television (National Geographic, Departures Season 3.) So its a good start!
What do you listen to?
I listen to a very wide range of music, From Garage, Grime, Dubstep and Hip-hop to Minimal piano music, Classical, Ambient, Folk, Alternative and more. Anything interesting I will listen to.
How does this influence your music?
Well, my biggest inspiration is drawn from artists like Murcof, Lukid, Four Tet, Bjork, Mum, Radiohead, Talk Talk, Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, Max Richter, Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Eels, Susumu Yokota, Grizzly Bear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Colleen and the list goes on. I think everything I come in contact with in life generally influences me in some way. Even if its subliminal.
Advise to people starting to make music?
My adivce is: Keep making music, make what you want to make and dont make what you think people will like. Music needs to be fed, so always try to keep your mind as wide open as you can when it comes to listening to music. If your making music in the hope of being singed or getting it released in some way, try to include elements that you know people will be able to connect with even if they dont know what the songs about. Its very hard to be original so perhaps just try and get whatever style your working in perfected untill it takes on a signature of its own. Music made with feeling is always your own.
What do you think of circuit bending?
I think it’s pretty cool.
What film would Memotone soundtrack?
An abstract arthouse. Maybe something scandinavian like ‘The Bothersome Man’. Or a silent animation, like something Sylvian Chomet might direct.
What is the strangest thing you’ve sampled?
I have sampled all sorts of strange things. I am constantly sampling strange things. A burning piece of paper being dropped down a well? The ambience of a dentists waiting room?
Memotone has an album out on all good internet music websites and itunes called ‘Friend’. For more info check out his website for further sounds: www.memotone.co.uk.