Leisureware is that Swiss Army knife of a DJ. Navigating sonic curiosities and oddball grooves, he seamlessly oscillates between the meditational and dancefloor-facing – it all depends on the occasion. Co-creator of The Occasional Feel-Good, he can be found waxing lyrical and chasing cosmic transcendence on Soho Radio, and his solo Noods Radio broadcasts work in a similar vein.
Serving one of our very first mixes back in 2016, Leisureware is no stranger to If-Only, and the triumphant return sees him contribute to our themed series, Concept In Practice. Inspired by “megalithic monuments, uncanny connections and primitive impulses realised with modern technology,” the Londoner draws from Arthur C. Clarke just as much as Stone Henge.
Hi William, could you tell us a bit about the mix?
This mix is dedicated to all of the wavey pagans and fluid druids keeping things mystic. It’s about timelines overlapping in sacred places, ritual dances and New Age healing.
The title – ‘The Stones Spoke’ – is nothing to do with Mick n’ Keef. It’s a line from the opening monologue delivered by some spiritual guru. Her words and the Deep Forest track interlock in a satisfying and serendipitous way. She’s talking total waffle, but spins a good yarn and retains a sense of humour. Despite my scepticism, I do try to appreciate what these people are about. We’re all searching for something… Perhaps it could be a two-hour DJ mix of ambient house?
I’m also partial to the wonky philosophies of people like Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, Julian Cope and Jeremy Deller – drawing lines between seemingly distant ideas and experiences. It often seems like we’re craving a sense of narrative, affinity with a story that lasts longer than we do. The notion that losing yourself to repetitive rhythms is a universal pursuit speaks to that neatly. Quite comforting and weirdly trendy right now!
When and where was it recorded?
I put it together pre-lockdown, which now feels like many life cycles ago. The nights were longer, the temperature lower and you could hug and kiss your friends without a moment’s hesitation. My approach is similar for every mix or show that I create – deep contemplation and hours of quality control listening in Brockwell Park.
How would you recommend listening to it?
Ideally, you would listen to this mix in a prehistoric glade, adjusting your innate pulsations to the beat until the climax triggers unadulterated ecstasy coinciding with Air Liquide’s acid meltdown. Unfortunately, current events might make that difficult to achieve – maybe just stick it on while cooking dinner…
Can you tell us a bit about The Occasional Feel-Good?
The Occasional Feel-Good is a monthly music and talk show on Soho Radio and an irregular club night in London. Daniel Ghazvinie and I are in perpetual pursuit of that Feel-Good Vibe, a nebulous state of transcendent abandon. We make eclectic selections, ponder cosmic matters and bemoan our mysterious lack of gigs. Usually, an interesting guest joins us and picks a theme. Under lockdown, we’ve been broadcasting ‘Distant Disco’ mixes and inviting people to stream along together. Underground stuff mate!
Do you have any process when it comes to sourcing new music? Any specific places you look or favourite spots to go digging?
All roads lead to Bandcamp. It’s my favourite website and I still get a geeky adrenaline rush when I discover some holy grail up for grabs on there. Of course, it doesn’t have everything… YouTube probably does, though.
How about the last record you bought?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m fascinated by 90s chill-out room culture – ‘I think therefore I ambient’. There were loads of cash-in compilations knocking around after the fact, but some buried treasure too. I’m currently digging Tone Tales From Tomorrow Too, a CD compiled by Coldcut to promote Ntone, a sub-label of Ninja Tune. There’s some trippy stuff on there and the cover artwork is a psychedelic prawn.
How did you source the music played in this mix?
I began with the opening monologue, then roamed the far reaches of the internet seeking out tracks to match it. This mix features current and classic vibrations from Jenny Hval, African Project, Priori, Shanti Celeste, Modular Expansion and many more. Mick Hucknall, the modern era’s most potent fertility shaman, also makes an appearance.
We’d usually ask what’s next on your agenda, but given the current situation, can you share some of your go-to coping mechanisms for a life in lockdown?
I’ve been growing a beard and doing lots of drunk online shopping.
Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby (Ambient Mix)
Iury Lech – Posmeridiano (Hatchback Remix)
Simply Red – Thrill Me (Steppin Razor Ambient Mix)
Waak Waak Djungi – Mother I’m Going
Jenny Hval – Lions (Ft. Vivian Wang)
African Project – Ethno Beat (Afro Version)
Taciana – Tudo Faz Sentido (Suba Extended Remix)
Tranquility Bass – Mya Yadana (Monkey Forest Medley)
RAMZi – O Saati ^ For Aileen
Lemme Kno – 1234567
Priori – Ani Ma
Shanti Celeste – Sun Notification
The Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea (Dumb Child Of Q Mix)
16 Bit – Hi-Score (12″ Dub Mix)
Modular Expansion – Back To Nature
DHS – Attention Earth People
Manna – Transport Of Delight
The Holy Ghost Inc. – Mad Monks On Zinc
Unknown Artist – Fine (Dr. Breaks Remix)
#130E0A – Nymphea
Jon & Hugh – Another View (Second Evolution)
Air Liquide – Liquid Air