William Reed is a DJ, renowned for performing at celebrity parties, the hottest clubs and festivals throughout Los Angeles.
Starting his career growing up inside the German underground music scene, William went on to host iconic radio shows on KZON, KWSS, KNRJ, KRKQ and Dash Radio. The DJ is also known for his award-winning dance parties, including Singles Going Steady, Pretty Vacant and Adult Swim & Style Council.
Over the years, the award winning DJ has toured with and performed alongside a number of incredible artists, including Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Kings of Leon, Pet Shop Boys and Arcade Fire, to name but a few. He has also DJ’d at birthday parties and private events for Moby, Norah Jones and Dita Von Teese.
You will currently find William at one of a number of residencies, including The Standard, Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, and W Hotel Los Angeles.
We caught up with William to talk about his DJing career, the craziest things he’s witnessed, his personal career highlights and what the future has in store.
How did you first get into DJing, and who were your early passions and influences?
My first attempt as a DJ came in the mid 90’s. Daft Punk had just released their debut album, my mate and I got 2 Sony discman, a radio shack mixer and all of a sudden thought we were DJ’s. The late BBC radio DJ John Peel was my biggest inspiration. I still look up to his lasting legacy today.
How do you go about preparing and picking tracks to play during a set?
I usually wing it when I get to the club instead of pre-planning a set. You never know what to expect.
What’s your favourite song to incorporate into your set?
That’s a loaded question–anything from Bowie, Prince, The Clash, James Brown. You can always find me dropping at least one of their tracks into my set regardless of where I’m playing.
What are the biggest changes/challenges that you’ve faced in the DJ world?
People think it’s a non stop party. And if you’re gigging 2-300 x a year you can burn out if you’re not careful.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s now and what’s next is an inherent part of the job. You’re always “on” as a DJ.
The industry is full of successful DJs – what makes you stand out from the rest?
In my humble opinion and experience successful DJ’s are the ones who have worked hard, maintain a level of professionalism and business acumen and respect the craft. They remain humble and, at the end of the day, know they’re making a living playing other people’s music.
If you had to play only one genre of music for the rest of your life, which genre would you choose and why?
That’s a tough question but I’d probably go with Funk. I like a good bass-line, it keeps the dance floor moving and everyone loves the Funk.
You’ve been a DJ for a number of years now and have performed across the globe. What has been your personal highlight so far?
I love playing in Europe. The crowds are so enthusiastic.
I played the now defunct but once legendary Misshapes party in NYC which I’ll never forget. But my consistent favorites have been my own weekly dance parties whether it was my first weekly, Shake!, French Kiss, Sticky Fingers, Adult Swim (pool party), Style Council or Singles Going Steady. You get to know the crowd, learn how to work the room and it becomes intimate.
Currently I’m really loving the theme/costume parties I’m hosting at the legendary Bar Marmont. My vision is to restore that old Hollywood essence of a bygone era–class it up a bit and encourage people to start dressing up again.
You’re known for hosting award-winning dance parties. What’s the craziest or most memorable thing you’ve witnessed?
I’ve seen it all. People fighting and f***ing in the club, dancing topless on the bar, lighting the entire bar on fire, vaudeville acts and magicians pulling objects out of animals’ orifices. People consuming every known substance known to man out in the open, I’ve been propositioned on more than one occasion in the DJ booth, proposed to, stalked, and have had many a late night story with an array of well known TV, film and music stars. It’s just all part of the job really.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career as a DJ?
Don’t rush into it. Take your time and learn how to do it right. Pay attention and perform due diligence. Be professional and treat it as a business. But more importantly play from the heart and the rest will follow.
What would be your ultimate career goal?
I love hosting radio shows, DJ’ing and producing unique events. I’d love to host an original talk-show that revolves around music and am actually working on a pilot with a very talented team of producers and colleagues.
What does 2017 have in store for William Reed?
I’m working on an original full length album. Other than that I’d love to open my own club within the new year while also continuing to travel for DJ gigs.
Thank you to William Reed for his time! For more information and the latest updates on William, head to his website.
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