Somewhere Miles Away with Dom Williams

5 Minute Read
Written by Sharon Andrews

Exploring the inner workings of what is steadily growing into a splendid record label.

Miles Away Records does it right. Digging deep for hidden finds, rummaging through old collections and abandoned record shops, unearthing lost treasures, rarities, and oddities, legitimately licensing, and sharing the knowledge about these dusty forgotten gems.

Domenic Williams learnt the ropes working his way up from post boy at Acid Jazz Records to label manager. Over the years, and under the watchful eyes of Eddie Pillar, he progressed within the industry and is now heading up his own quality imprint, Miles Away Records.


Reputations, prime ministers, and DJ highs can all be over in an instant, but Dom Williams and Miles Away Records are working on projects that weather trend storms and stand the test of time. It’s a pleasure to sit down with him to talk about his lovingly curated, and monumentally mammoth new release, Miles Away One. Quite possibly one of the comps of 2024.

Where are you at the minute and what are you up to today?

I am currently on paternity leave. My son is asleep upstairs leaving me with a solitary hour to try and do as much as possible both with Miles Away and around the house.

Where were you born?

I was born in North London, Enfield. I was raised in this part of London until I moved to Liverpool when I was 18 for university. I am now based back in London in a place called Carshalton on the outskirts of the city. I enjoy the green open spaces, one of the things I love most is the ability to get out into the countryside easily. You need some nature in your life to counteract a city lifestyle.

Tell us about the beginning of the label Miles Away Records.

The label started whilst I worked at Acid Jazz Records. This was my first music industry job and I essentially started as the mail order person. The office used to be in the basement of an antiques shop on Bethnal Green Rd. I would be packaging up the daily online sales and lunging great big heavy bags 200 meters to the post office. Back breaking work but I loved it. I worked here for 5 years and eventually became the label manager. It was in my 3rd year that I proposed Acid Jazz should reissue a track I liked called Patience by a band called Rokk. The label MD Dean Rudland then suggested ‘We should start a new imprint and it can be your baby.’ I was a little nervous to be honest because I didn’t really know what I was doing at this point (still don’t) but we went ahead with it and remarkably the release was really well received, and it sold out!

Where does your love of old funk & soul come from?

When I was a child, I would go to my nan’s house every Sunday for a Sunday roast. My nan has a particular love for reggae, rocksteady, blues, and soul. It was really here that I vividly remember listening to music at a really loud volume and the positive memories associated with those times. My uncle is also a session drummer in many legendary soul and funk touring groups from America and so I think this all definitely drifted into my head subconsciously.

Aidan + Tab

Were you DJing prior to the label?

My DJ career really started whilst at Acid Jazz. The label owner Eddie Piller gave me my first gig at a place called Old Street Records in Shoreditch. It’s still there now albeit reaching a slightly different clientele compared to when I played there. I remember my first gig; the bar staff came up to me and asked me to either pick up the tempo or turn it off and we’ll put the in-house music back on. A bit of a baptism of fire to be honest but it was a learning curve. I was playing funk & soul at the time.

You play on Soho Radio.

Yes, My Soho show has been going for as long as the label has been going so 5 years now. I have always loved the medium of radio and I regularly just have it on around the house. So, going to Soho and doing the show live from the studio is always so special for me. The studio has a floor to ceiling window which looks out on the busy streets. You watch people rushing past, some people stop to have a look at what’s going on but essentially, you’re in this little buddle, playing music you love. Like the label, the show is rooted in soulful music from around the world.

You work at the BBC, right?

I work as a product manager creating vinyl and CD releases from the catalogues of music the BBC owns. As you can imagine the BBC owns a lot of audio recordings, some of them good, some of them bad, but it’s my job to go throw the archives and pick out some of the best bits. I put them together creating the concepts with the releases eventually being put out into the world.

Talk us through a couple of highlights from the label.

The first release Rokk – Patience will always have a special place in the Miles Away history. Lamont Butler – It’s Time For A Change. Patterson Twins – Gonna Find A True Love. My fav is probably Ruth Waters – Super Star. I loved this track for ages, and it took me 5 years to license but, in the end, it was so worth it, and Ruth is absolutely lovely person so I’m glad her music could be heard around the world once again.

You pride yourself on officially licensing. Must be killer work tracking people down.

It is but we enjoy it. It requires patience and persistence. I have a spreadsheet of tracks I’d like to license and an update on their status next to them. Some of these tracks go back 6 or 7 years and I’m still searching for a breakthrough. It’s tough work and it’s not exciting but when you do get a breakthrough like with Ruth Waters it’s incredibly rewarding.

What was the initial idea for the comp?

The original idea was to put something out there which cemented the stories of the artists we worked with. The intention has always remained the same. The artists are always at the heart of everything we do here at Miles Away. We felt a lot of compilations put the artist second with the DJ or collector as the face. We get it. This helps when trying to sell the thing but for us we wanted to focus on the artist because ultimately, we wouldn’t have a compilation without the artists. We started working on it probably 2 years ago. Prior to that we had worked up a track listing of about 75-100 tracks we’d like to include and went from there really. Lots and lots of dead-ends followed but we’re so pleased with how it turned out.

What are you most proud of with this release and what was the most challenging part of pulling it together?

There’s been many times over the last two years where I’ve felt ‘let’s just get it out’ or ‘why wait for this last track to come through’ but every time I’ve waited and tried to be patient because these things cannot and should not be rushed. It’s tricky being a small label, cash flow is our biggest challenge so at times it’s been tough but to hold the release in my hands now and know it’s a quality piece of work makes me so proud. Essentially you have to pay a huge amount upfront and wait 6 months before you see any returns. So, keeping the business going during this time is a massive challenge. You have to do extra bits to pay the bills and make ends meet but, in the end, you forget about that. It’s all worth it now.

What can you tell us about art?

We worked with Jeremy Zombie on this project. I’d been an admirer of his for a while and so I shot him a message on IG. He liked the idea of the comp and so I loosely briefed him that I wanted the cover to be a kinda beach scene. He took inspiration from vintage American postcards and laid it out over the course of a few months. I absolutely love how it turned out.

You are committed to educating about the history of the music .

It’s vitally important. If we didn’t, I don’t see the point in doing what we do. We are trying to retain these amazing stories before they get lost in history forever. We go to great lengths to talk to the artists if they’re alive, talk to family members to understand how this music came about and what inspired it. There’s been numerous late night / early morning calls to America to chat to artists. I really enjoy getting to know these people and understanding their lives.

What can we hope to see next on Miles Away?

We’ve got another LP coming out very soon. This one in the gospel genre. Alongside that we’ll have some 45s being released later in the year. We’ll continue to put on our club nights with a few more planned throughout the summer months.

Visit the Miles Away Bandcamp HERE