Will Saul Talks aboard A Boat


Will Saul: Aye aye captain

Will Saul can be a little devious at times, he sent his latest LP to potential labels anonymously: the idea being that they would listen without any preconceptions, giving the signing a more authentic tone. In the end he went with !K7 Records who have recently worked with the likes of Maceo Plex, Tricky & Apparat.

We met aboard the Aus vs. Simple boat party at Hideout festival, Croatia to learn about the making of the Getting Closer project and the path to not one but two successful labels: the long hours, the work-life balance and the sourcing of artists like George Fitzgerald & Midland.

So, what is the story behind the project?

It is basically my album, it didnt feel right calling it the Will Saul album as it has so many other people on it, I like the idea of doing something a bit different, creating something a bit new! I wanted it to sound intimate and warm, and personal – it took almost three and a half years from start to finish, so it gradually fell into place.

Who did you work with?

Vocalist Charlene Soraia, we did two tracks with her. Joe Dukie from Fat Freddies Drop. Producers Friends: October, Scuba, Appleblim. I also worked with Al Tourettes – he helped me put the show together, he plays the drums.

Its a shame Im going to miss the show.

We are playing the Bussey Buildings on Friday and then we have some European dates, well figure out another autumn date in London for sure.

So, does Will Saul play differently to Close?

Will Saul is more focused on the dancefloor, Close is for collaborations and albums but this might change

And the differences between Aus & Simple?

It becomes harder and harder as genres and electronic music have converged. The way I separate them is the artists I choose to work with, I let the feel of the music dictate! Aus was created just as a leftfield, slightly more experimental outlet, we released albums from Lee Jones & Sideshow -not something to be aimed at a peaktime dancefloor. Simple was releasing straight up House & Techno, so the early Appleblim and Ramadanman stuff fitted to Aus. If you listen to dubstep and the post-dubstep sound as it emerged it has become more House & Techno so the two labels have moved closer together and harder to separate in terms of their style. So you have the artists that work on Aus and the artists that work on Simple.

How do you find these new artists?

Sometime they have sent something or their managers have, Ramadanman introduced me to Midland and with George, I heard his first EP on Hotflush and got in touch. With Laurie (Appleblim), my first point of contact was his online mix.

Hm, what do you think has been crucial to your success?

Good question, learning how the business works: finding young acts and helping them develop. A lot of hard work and love too. At Sony I learnt how to release a record, from the ground up. Record labels are built on A&R, if their music isnt any good than it isnt going to work long term you develop your ears from a process of trial and error to learn whats going to make a commercial success.


We dont have a budget for things like that so we rely on interviews like these to promote our work.

What do you think of other label peddling a similar sound?

We dont really have rivals, we are just friends you get inspired by other labels doing well. Im really close to Scuba (Paul, Hotflush) and Ive always really liked what hes done. There are a lot of acts I would have liked to sign exclusively but I cant offer them the money and they need to earn a living. On a certain scale it is impossible to lock people to your label so they have to work with other labels.

What does the future hold?

I think we are in a really good place with the core roster Midland, George, Dusky, Leon Vynehall, Bicep. As a relatively small label we cant work with many more people than that, we have an EP from Tom Demac & something from Krystal Klear.

This summer we will be playing at Ten Days Off in Ghent; some dates in Ibiza then Sankeys. Harry & I have a few US dates: New York, Boston & Toronto as well as the last Sub: Stance.

Check hideoutfestival.com for more details on the festival. 

Kim Wilson 

Photo by Jennifer Lawler & Underground Source