In this new feature for the Wire blog, we ask our visiting DJs to reveal a few of their formative tracks.
Tomorrow night (9th May 2017), Blink are bringing contemporary techno legend Perc for what will be one of the toughest midweek sessions the club has ever seen. Ali Wells has been releasing music for 15 years, namely on his own imprint Perc Trax, but also appears on Kompakt, Ovum and Drumcode. His production style is rugged, unrelenting and often esoteric, but his grasp on club DJ sets is undoubted, having played all over world on the biggest stages. Here, he selects some of the tracks that inspired his success.
Earliest musical memory
Probably hearing ‘Axel F’ by Harold Faltermeyer on the radio and hoping that it would come on again the next time I turned on the radio. I just thought it was kind of cool, which I think was down to it being one of the first purely machine driven tracks I had heard.
First record you bought
With my own money it was ‘Fore’ by Huey Lewis & The News, but before that I was randomly given a Whitney Houston album on cassette that I was not that into. I had slightly strange music tastes as a young child, latching on to the most random of things, but it was all part of a learning process.
A tune from your teens
That would be something like ‘Music Reach’ by the Prodigy. Mucking about with my mates, too young to drink but still trying to get into trouble somehow. I went from this kind of thing to techno and IDM quite quickly, but I still look back on my rave years fondly.
A record that changed your life
Maybe ‘Snivilisation’ by Orbital. It was one of the first times I’d heard an electronic music album really work as an album with a cohesive concept, rather than just a collection of random club tracks stuck on a CD.
An unlikely influence
My musical influences have been well documented, so maybe I’d say sculpture. My knowledge of it is pretty limited but for my noise and ambient tracks as I usually start with something as a whole and reduce the sounds until I am happy with it. This reminds me of a sculptor chipping away at a block of stone. Making club tracks on the other hand to me is more like painting, building things up layer by layer until it feels complete.
A current influence
I listen to a lot of the stranger, more experimental classical music coming out right now. Maybe even calling it classical is wrong. It is just largely non-electronic instrumental music. Artists such as Ellen Arkbro and Maja Ratkje are really worth investigating.
A record you want played at your funeral
Autechre – Second Bad Vibel, a bit of a shocker, a bit of a banger and with just enough moody bits in the middle to give people time to have a good think about me.