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In the lead up to the worldwide debut single by Dean Williams, we sat down with Dean and had a chat about his musical influences, who he would love to collaborate with and how he kicks and punches the crap out of his opponent in a ring. Don't panic! As well as being an amazing musician, Dean is also a celebrated Muay Thai fighter!
Thank you Dean for taking some time to have a chat with us. What was the first single you ever purchased Dean?
Honestly I think it was Hanson's 'MMMbop'...haha!
What made you pick up a guitar and perform?
My parents bought me a nylon string acoustic when I was about 6 years old, but I actually had no interest in playing the guitar for a long time. I think as I got older I began to become influenced by my dad's record collection that included most of the 'good stuff' KISS, Cream, Dire Straits, Santana, The Eagles, etc. When I was in year 7, about 13 years old they were offering guitar lessons at my school, me and one of my mates thought it would be cool to start a band so we started taking lessons together. I quit lessons after about 6 weeks because the teacher was mainly teaching classical guitar and I just wanted to rock. After that I would lock myself in my room for hours and try to play along with AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix... those guys were my teachers, there was no YouTube back then!
Who is your number one biggest musical influence?
This is a super tough question as there are so many amazing artists that I look up to. Also my taste has changed many times over the years and every little bit has made up the pie that is me. But through all of it there is one artist I have always related to and that has never really gone out of fashion with me and that is Lenny Kravitz. In saying that anything with a solid groove and a tone of swag is enough to get my ears pricked up.
If you had a chance to collaborate with anybody in the world, who would it be?
I would have to say that would be my main man Mr Lenny Kravitz. I think we would come up with something very tasty and I hope I have the privilege to live that one out one day.
Your single "Back in the Game" is about to drop this week on the 8th of June. It's a pretty powerful statement of intent and totally rocks out. Who is in your band and where was the song recorded?
Thank you for the kind words! I am beginning with this one as I think it sets the tone and is a statement of who I am and what I want to say with my music. The song is about self belief, determination and empowerment against what can seem like constant disappointment in a very cut throat world.
I am very lucky to have surrounded myself with a group of extremely talented but also down to earth people who I am proud to call my friends. On the drums I am fortunate to have the one and only Jarrod Medwin the tub thumper of Australian rock powerhouse Massive, who has been helping me get started between his busy touring schedule. On guitar I have the uber talented Marcus Kain of groove rock extraordinaires Twenty Two Hundred, who recently toured the UK with Slash! He can say more with one note that what most struggle to say with one hundred, his only issue is that he is way to good looking. Lastly on the bass guitar is my buddy Simon Klaaysen, who without I probably could not have done this. He has been a huge support for me and also plays a very big part in this project.
Continuing the trend of working with amazingly talented amazing humans, the man that helped take the sounds in my head and really bring them to life is the sound genius Ricki Rae. We recorded at the famous Lighthill Studios which is located on a large tranquil property infested with Kangaroos in Riddles Creek. There is literally nothing to do out there besides play music and eat fine country bakery goods, no shortage of inspiration.
Give me some back history, Dean. Who have you recorded and played with, in the past.
I think a side effect of learning to play the guitar the way I did, literally listen, feel and copy, left me with quite a good ear for picking up and retaining music fast. But because I had no formal training I also developed my own style and sound, in a kind of stew of everything I love. As a result over the last few years I have found myself playing for a very large number of bands and artists in one capacity or another both here and overseas, whether it be as a fill in for live gigs a writing partner or a studio session musician. Working with so many different artist in so many styles I think has rounded me off as a musician and given me a lot of depth and range to what I can do and the way I can express myself.
Tell me about this overseas deal you have? How did it come about?
A few years ago I did a couple of fill in shows for the band Massive. They are being managed by Third Verse who are a music management and distribution company based in Melbourne. Rick Butterworth is one of the owners and I met him while I was working with Massive. Since then Rick has been very supportive and encouraging of me and my musical endeavours. Once he heard that I was getting ready to release my material he got in touch and was able to help make my music available through a worldwide distribution deal. For now my single 'Back In The Game' will only be available digitally.
"It's gonna be alright...you gotta fight the fight". I couldn't help but notice those lyrics and that you are also a Muay Thai fighter! That's pretty damn awesome! What got you into that kickarse sport and does it brings any special skills when you rock out on the stage?
Haha, well I think more than Muay Thai those words apply to life in general. We all face hard times at some point, but it's all about having the right attitude to push through as it usually works out in the end. Muay Thai has become a very big part of my life and I have been doing it for about 3 years now. Before that I was actually ranked number one in Australia in Fencing! I have always been into martial arts and once I was done with my fencing I needed a new challenge and a way to stay fit. I saw the Thai movie 'Ong Bak' and thought Muay Thai looked totally badass, plus I loved the ancient traditions and culture behind it. A few months after beginning to train I started to become very passionate and dedicated, I also didn't realise that my gym 'Supafight' which is located in St Kilda happened to be one of the most respected Muay Thai gyms in the country. Before I knew it my competitive instincts started to kick in and I ended up becoming a fighter, which I never intended to. Fighting has shown me what I am really capable of doing and handling, especially in a very extreme situation for an average person. There isn't many places as intense as a fight ring with someone trying to literally take your head off while there are 1000 people screaming for blood! But in saying that, there is not much I can't handle now and I am ready to take my music to it's limit, just as I have taken my body and mind.
You have a single launch coming up soon, Dean. Where and when will it be?
Yes I am planning a debut gig mid July in St Kilda. Details for this show will be announced in the near future! Stay posted and visit my Facebook page to stay up to date with announcements.
Is there an ALBUM on the horizon, Dean? Will it have the same rockin' good time feel as "Back In The Game" or are there different moods?
Yes there will definitely be an album happening, which I am planning to release towards the end of the year! As I have had so many musical hats, you can expect a diverse range of material to be on this album. At the core will be big riffs, catchy melodies and infectious grooves. I want to take people on a journey and leave them fully nourished mind, body and soul by the end.
Dean Williams - 'Back In The Game' is available for presale now on iTunes and also available everywhere as of this Friday the 8th of June:
Catch up with Dean on Facebook and Twitter:
William Luu, Ian Ritter and Eric "Chowie" Chow.
Dean's exciting music video has now dropped.
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