LessThan3: What made you get into records and spinning in the first place?
Bill: I was dating a girl and she took me to a rave. I was into punk music at the time; I wasn’t really into dancing or anything. I thought it was stupid. So this girl took me to one in Queens, I did some drugs, and that was it! At the time I had been saving money to get a house on Fire Island with my friends for the summer and I had around $2,000, but decided to buy turntables; my friends were pissed. I bought decks and a mixer and speakers and started spinning and going out to raves in Queens or Brooklyn.
LessThan3: How long ago was this?
Bill: 1998, 15 years ago.
LessThan3: And your first residency was at Limelight, right?
Bill: Yeah it was Limelight, it was for Gatecrasher, which was weird because I was shopping at Satellite Records and one of the guys from Gatecrasher came in asking if they knew any local talent, and the guy at the store pointed me out. I told them that I don’t play Gatecrasher music, that I’d be more than happy to play, but I’m not gonna play trance or anything. But they were super cool, and I did a residency there for a short while, four months. Then 9/11 happened and they ended it, but yeah, it was a great residency.
LessThan3: Is this your first time at Melodies & Memories?
Bill: Seth [Troxler]
used to work here and he told me about it. The whole store, as you can see, is pretty impressive. It’s where a lot of DJs back in the day were coming and where he made his connections. There are actually a couple of funny pictures of him all skinny with super dreadlocks–he worked here for a while.
LessThan3: Did you work at any record stores?
Bill: I did for a while, in the Village, I forget the name of it. It was with Elon from Resolute. They sold mostly CDs, a couple vinyls.
LessThan3: Should young DJs keep using vinyl?
I don’t know if I have a defense for vinyl. It’s really hard actually, to play vinyl. I was just in Colombia and I couldn’t play one record even because everyone kept bumping into the booth, then in Mexico they didn’t even have turntables. I carry these f*cking things all over the world breaking my back and I can’t even play one. And if you can play one, the chances of it sounding good on a digital system is a whole other issue. Back in ’98 and early 2000s everything was analog and tuned to play vinyl, but now you’ve got all the gains maxed out and you play records and it sounds like sh*t.
I mean, I just can’t play on a computer, I think it’s terrible, but I do a USB. And I think people should definitely keep vinyl alive, but like I said, it’s not easy. I’m still able to find tracks on vinyl that I can’t find anywhere else, so that’s nice to have different music to play while everyone else is playing promos.
LessThan3: So even though you spin deep house and techno, you’re very well known for your Private Stock radio show, which is dedicated to everything great that’s not dance music.
Bill: Yeah, I’m more excited when people tell me they learned about a band from the show than someone saying “you played a good DJ set,” because that’s like, life music. House and techno is cool, I make a living off of it, but that music, you could score a movie to that sh*t. I close my eyes when I’m having depressed days and there’s a song that can be perfect for every mood. It’s important for people to listen to other genres, cause if you just listen to dance music that’s so f*cking boring. If you listen to only one thing–like hip hop or folk music–that’s boring.
LessThan3: Not many DJs branch out into that. What was the reason for making Private Stock?
I’m always searching for music like that, I listen to folk and downtempo and indie and stuff like that. Like I said, I was really into punk music when I was younger, so I have that in my blood, the bands and live performances. Over the years I’ve just started finding more of that music more interesting than dance music. I was sending it out to friends over e-mail and people on Skype, and was getting a great response.
I had a radio show in New York, Robot Radio, and it was all house and techno. But then I was like, if I’m gonna do a radio show, it’ll be more interesting when it’s non-dance music. And it’s fun because I have guests that are super excited to come and play music that they can’t play when they DJ. Stuff that they were inspired by, whether it’s Pink Floyd or Neil Young or Kurt Vile, to Grizzly Bear and Beach House, it’s interesting.
LessThan3: What advice would you give aspiring young DJs?
Some kid came up to me recently and was like, “I really wanna DJ a lot, and you’re the only one that hasn’t produced, so what advice can you give me?” And I was like, “produce.” Because it doesn’t happen anymore! It’s really hard, you know. I got lucky. I think I was just able to bullsh*t my way into getting gigs, but unfortunately now you do kinda have to produce.
It’s also important to get a crew. I always had a good crew, whether it was the 112 crew that I used to have in New York, or whether it was Seth and Ryan [Crosson] and the Visionquest guys.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Bill: Oh, I have a ton of songs to die to. There’s this Jon Hopkins song that’s amazing. He did it for the tsunami in Japan, they did this benefit compilation. Or probably a Philip Glass song.