We recently had the pleasure of hosting one of UK dance music’s most adventurous rising producers, Antony Williams a.k.a. Addison Groove, for a live streaming workshop at Dubspot NYC. After the workshop, in which Williams offered insights into his production process and how he uses Ableton Live in Rewire with Logic Pro and his trusty Roland TR-808, we sat down with him to discuss a range of topics. We talked about his earlier more dubstep-focused project Headhunter, the influence of Chicago juke and footwork in his productions, and how he created his underground hit “Footcrab.” He also discussed how he created the production and performance rig for his live shows to support his new album Transistor Rhythm on Modeselektor’s 50Weapons label.
In Internet years 2010 seems like an entirely different musical moment for dance music. That year UK producer Addison Groove (formerly Headhunter) unleashed his touchstone game changer “Footcrab” on the Swamp 81 imprint. At the time, the track’s unforgettable vocal chop seemed unprecedented, until watchful ears noticed that Addison Groove’s techniques could be traced to a hotbed of innovation that had been going on in Chicago for over two decades, much of it going largely (and happily) unnoticed by the international music community. Since the release of “Footcrab,” Chicago’s juke and footwork dance scenes have captured the attention of the underground dance music community. Now innovative juke producers like DJ Rashad (a recent guest on Dubspot’s ‘Wireless’ interview series) tour the globe and release full-length records on revered UK labels, like their predecessors from the Chicago house music scene in decades past.
But while Addison Groove’s rise may be owed in part to his ingenious sonic references—however unwitting—his sound has proved to be significantly more mature, unique and lasting, while many others have more spuriously nabbed juke aesthetics for even the briefest shine. At the real heart of Addison Groove’s sound is his masterful use of the timeless TR-808 drum machine. On more recent tracks like “Work It,” from his 2011 EP of the same name, eerily seductive basslines weave in and out of bubbling 808 springs, toms and snares as a sample instructs the dancefloor to “work it in that thong.”