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Off the WALLS

The duo prepare to take us to a higher state of consciousness with a stream of their latest single ‘Sunporch’

Heralding the release of their eagerly awaited new album on the revered Kompakt label, WALLS headlined an exclusive show at The Shacklewell Arms with Luke Abbott last week. ‘Coracle’, the follow up to the band’s stunning debut takes a self-assured approach to their organic style of electronica. A dance-orientated trip through preternatural soundscapes awash with throbbing undertones of Detroit techno and Chicago house. Engaging the senses to transcend to a place between peace and happiness.

We caught up with the band on an epically rainy day in east London, quite the opposite of scenes to the warm sun soaked sounds evoked from the blissed out new album. Here we get a glimpse into how the duo, Sam Willis (of Allez-Allez) and Alessio Natalizia (of Banjo Or Freakout) capture their immersive sounds and what has shaped the entity that is WALLS.

Dazed Digital: Following on from the accomplishment of your debut, how did you approach the new album?
Sam Willis:
The new record refined our working method; we got more ambitious. How we came about was very intuitive and immediate.
Alessio Natalizia: The first one was more a compilation of tracks. With this one we really wanted to shape it. We really thought about all the track listings. This was born as an album.

DD: It sounds like a journey. Tell me about the process of making the album – you have said you take a very spontaneous approach?
Willis: Each track has a different style, from either one of us having an idea independently, a melody or on guitar, a found sound or sample piece of music recontextualized; it’s building blocks. We try and retain an ability to be in the moment, rather than being too preordained. Some of the best moments have come out of accidents. There is a track called a ‘virus waits’ on the last record, which was a complete mistake!
Alessio Natalizia: We like music that comes from mistakes
Sam Willis: it feels closer to being less…
Alessio Natalizia: strategic.
Sam Willis: We want it to feel human and natural.

DD: It does sound very natural and light. You talk about being in the moment and being influenced by film director Warner Herzog’s talk, ‘Ecstatic Truth’ that refers to the sublime?
Willis: Yes, whether it’s in art or in everyday life, striving for an absolute. This is what we are trying to harness.

DD: You aim to make emotive music so what sort of mood were you in when you recorded the album?
Natalizia: Just emotional in general!

DD: How have your environments growing up in Italy and UK formed your musical tastes, and what club scene were you involved with?
Alessio Natalizia: When I was a kid it was quite different, with the last 10 years of the internet it changed everything.
Sam Willis: It was more isolated – you liked hip-hop or garage – a lot harder to get knowledge.
Alessio Natalizia: There was some really good weird Italian disco, and I think recently people have been talking about Roberto Cacciapaglia.
Sam Willis: For me, Optimo in Glasgow – the way they mix up dangerous sounding records alongside house and techno rather than it being safe and sanitized. And Cologne based Kompakt, our label. I spent a lost weekend in Cologne in 2003/4, it’s their unabashed romance and emotion.

DD: You both love to dance - where do you go out dancing these days?
Natalizia: For us going out is playing a show. It’s really cool to make people go crazy.
Sam Willis: It changes your relationship to going out.

DD: You have been invited by Battles to support them on their up-coming American tour?
Natalizia: It’s gonna be great!
SamWillis: We are gonna try and shoot some videos on the road. We have an extremely busy three months, a single in January, then in April. 

‘Coracle’ by WALLS is out now

Text by Dimitra Sotirchos
Exclusive photos by Robert Bellamy