Manchester’s finest Willow aka Sophie Wilson is the purveyor of a style defined from a bubbling melting pot of dubby textures, minimal patterns and stripped back influences. With an output spanning the realms of classic hip-hop, stripped back broken beat and sparse elements of leftfield house and ambient techno; Willow has developed a sound that’s unusually distinctive, yet hard to define. Her introduction came in 2014 when veteran DJ Move D included her first production ‘Feel Me’ in his Fabric 74 mix. Having pricked ears when he played the track out for the first time, Move D passed ‘Feel Me’ on to his friend Lowtec – who decided to give it a full release in a compilation on his Workshop imprint the following year.
The sub-heavy house tune with an earworm R&B vocal was a highlight on the LP, and then became No.6 in Resident Advisor’s tracks of 2015. Willow made her return to Workshop in 2016 with a full EP; bringing together warm, twisting melodies with delicate vocal flecks and heavy low-end stabs over lingering dimensions of beat-less bars.
“It’s in my heart man. When I first started going out clubbing I kind of lived in Sankeys. I was in there Friday night, Saturday night, from the beginning till the end. I remember thinking: ‘how do they make you feel like this with music? I want to do that’ ”Willow
The finer points of Willow’s sound continue to stir intrigue from the mysterious variety of her productions to date. Her dynamic DJ style has been honed from years of record collecting in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and the start of an on-going residency in Nottingham as one of the key drivers of party series 808, which led her to play alongside the likes of Optimo, Beatrice Dillon, Tama Sumo and of course, Move D. Evident in her much discussed mixes for the likes of Boiler Room, Resident Advisor and now an NTS residency – her sets are a heady weaving together of the elemental foundations of house, techno and the intricate sounds that fall in between.
Now based in London, Willow has become a name in demand at some of the best clubs and festivals around the world playing alongside names like Daphni, Ben UFO, Four Tet, DJ Koze, Omar S, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound and Workshop regular Kassem Mosse at clubs like Live at Robert Johnson Offenbach, De School Amsterdam, Panorama Bar Berlin, Printworks London, Concrete Paris, Blitz Munich, DC10 Ibiza etc. 2018 has seen Willow’s reach rise even further with a residency at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, Australia, India and South East Asia tours and gigs at Motion Bristol, Robert Johnson, Lux Lisbon, Waking Life Festival, Houghton, Field Day, Farr Festival and Gottwood Festival in the UK, Boiler Room sets at both AVA Festival Ireland and DC10 and much, much more.
Fuelled by a love of visiting new places, meeting new people and listening to good music – Willow is a producer and DJ who’s on a boundless upward rise.