QA : M//R



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MR with pup.jpg

1. Who are you?
Billy Werner

2. What do you do?
I make music under some aliases, like M//R, Werner Williams, Billy W….

3. Where do you often create/produce?
I have a “studio” set up in a spare bedroom in my house.

4. When?
Typically in the evening. Once the baby is asleep.

5. Why do you play music?
Without trying to sound melodramatic – because I have to.. I feel compelled to. I come from a musical family and music has been an outlet for me since I can remember.

My parents played records at home constantly and I started learning to sing and play piano by the time I was 7. Drums and bands and adventure came later.

6. When did you start making music?
I started playing in punk bands at 15. I didn’t really get seriously into electronic music until the mid to late 90s. I didn’t even attempt to produce anything electronically until the mid-2000s.

7. Which track defines you the most?
Out of my own? “Adjacent Possible” or “Honey Dipped” off my debut 12” on Great Circles or “Just Say No” on the first 12” I did for LIES. In my mind, those three cuts in particular set the table for everything M//R. They were all made around the same time too.

8. How would you describe your own music?
Drums and delay.

9. Any track of the moment?

10.What influences your work?
International percussion records. 94-95-era Jungle. The DIY ethic. Treating music as a privilege rather than a commodity.

11.What’s your academic background?
I did a BA in English and Art at NYU and a Masters in Public Administration (basically the MBA for non profit work) at UPENN.

Are you an autodidact?
Yes and no. With regard to production, I received a personalized crash course in Logic (the software) from a guy named Pete Moss who is not only a Logic guru, but an incredible DJ and producer in his own right. That was about 10 or 11 years ago. That took a couple of evenings… Since then, I’ve been on my own and teaching myself stuff as I needed to.

12.Favorite designer?
I am extremely pedestrian and have a beautiful Eames coffee table book. So, I suppose the Eames family.

13.Favorite book?
Rilke’s ‘Letters to a Young Poet”

14.Favorite classic movie?
Raging Bull.

15.Favorite music label?
Whoever will release M//R records. Seriously, though, there are too many.. Off the top of my head, Metalheadz, Bunker, Crème, V Recordings, Scape, Chain Reaction, Wackies, Hessle Audio, Mainstream (the 300-series specifically), SST, Black Jazz, Prototype, Rough Trade, 4ad, Creation, Gravity Records, Dischord… I can do this forever and no one wants that.

16.Your dream collaboration?
Shackleton, Photek, Burial, Legowelt – I will stop there.. .. I could also do this forever.

17. Are you analog or digital?
Little bit of both.

18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play
I do a lot with Maschine.. it’s incredibly versatile. Really like the Korg Minilogue, the Juno 106.. the Microbrute.. There isn’t much you can’t do with a hybrid sampler/drum machine, a monosynth and a polysynth. I never got much into the gear fetish thing and I don’t play live, so as a studio creature, it’s easy to accomplish a lot with a little.

19. Describe your creative process?
Typically, I start with with drums and dumping samples into Maschine. Then I expand and edit.. Like, I will start with a LOT of sounds and tracks and gradually reduce those down to what I really need to get my point across. The majority of my time is spent in the box, tweaking delays and filters and that sort of thing.. I spend a lot more time finding samples and processing/mixing them than I do messing with synths.

20. When are you the most prolific (creatively)?
After I hear or see something that really captures my imagination. When it comes to making art, there’s nothing quite like consuming great art.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)
In Philly we are blessed with a handful of great shops. Beautiful World Syndicate, Brewerytown Beats, Philly Record Exchange, Wild Mutation, MIlkcrate… I’ve come up on great stuff at all of them and really treasure them. To me, though, the best record store I experienced in Philly was Tequila Sunrise. It was run by a guy named Tony Vodges who was a music lover eager to share and sell you incredible things. It was the type of place where local DJs and producers would gather on a Friday or Saturday afternoon talk
about records, listen to stuff, talk about what they were doing and making.. just a great headquarters for music heads. Tony was stocking shit like the entire Skull Disco catalog as it was coming out, which was the sort of thing that was unheard of in Philly at that time. So the heads gravitated there to hear new things that no one else in the city had. Each record in the shop was bagged with a beautiful insert on which Tony printed a description of the record and what was appealing about it. Tony also supported
all the local labels, promoters, music makers, DJs… It was an ambitious but extremely valuable gift to Philly that was far ahead of its time. RIP Tequila Sunrise! We miss you Tony!

22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)
Day by day.

23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?
Most of the time. I really like carbs. That often gets in the way.

24.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)
Prioritize. Don’t sit still. It’s really hard, but you can’t produce if you aren’t making the time to do so.

25. Any secret skills?
They’re all secret. That’s the problem.

26. Any future plans?
Keep making tunes and doing other kinds of work that help people that are far less privileged than I am.
Raise a compassionate and thoughtful little boy.

27.What’s your life motto?
Same as my life philosophy.. day by day.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?
Thank you!