William Phillips is a London, UK-based electronic music artist/producer and songwriter, best known in electronic music circles best known for his solo recording project Tourist — and as the cowriter of 2015 Grammy Award winner for “Song of the Year” for Sam Smith‘s mega-hit “Stay With Me.” Adding to a breakthrough 2015, which resulted in a rapidly growing international profile, Phillips played at Coachella and Pitchfork Festival Paris, toured throughout the European Union and North America, made mixes for BBC 1‘s Diplo and Friends and i-D Magazine, as well as seeing praise from a number of major media outlets including Pitchfork, FADER and several others.
After releasing a number of EPs, Phillips will be building upon his breakthrough 2015 with the long-awaited release of his full-length debut U, slated for a May 6 release. As Phillips explains in press notes: “This is an album that reflects on a relationship I had with someone. I called it U as the word ‘You’ looks a bit accusatory, and the tone of this album certainly isn’t bitter, ‘U’ is a shape that is balanced but also incomplete, I thought it was a nice visual metaphor for a failed relationship.
I wouldn’t describe this record as mournful or sorrow filled, merely a reflection on my first relationship. I’ve always recorded a lot of my life through my phone, whilst writing the album I found a huge number of recordings that I had made whilst being in that relationship, so my ex’s voice is all over this record. Also the sounds of the places we lived and visited together form prominent backdrops to the music.
I don’t know how to describe it sonically, it’s not really body music, it’s just a story told through different tempos and sounds. I’m not channelling any specific scene or sound, just my thoughts and feelings. I don’t really understand the term ‘electronic music’ but I suppose if pressed I’d call it that.
I have zero interest in beats and scenes, I’m much more interested in stories. I feel as though this is the biggest lesson I learnt whilst writing this album, that I don’t write music to express myself but to enrich myself. It wasn’t until finishing this album that I could truly feel at peace with that chapter in my life.”
U’s second and latest single “Run” is a slickly produced track consisting of a spectral and distorted looped vocal samples paired with layers of shimmering and cascading synths, swirling and undulating ambient electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats that sonically draws from house music while possessing a swooning wistfulness at its core — that kind of reminds me of Caribou‘s “Can’t Do Without You;” in fact, on some level, the song feels like a bittersweet sigh. There’s a clear sadness of a relationship ending or being irrevocably altered and yet at the same time, there’s the recognition and acknowledgement that at the very least you experienced a wonderful period of sweetness — and for that you should be grateful.
Produced by Ozzie Pullin, the recently released music video follows a couple as they’re running towards each other through a dense forest. Once they get to a clearing, they start taking their clothes off for a silent yet very powerful and emotional reunion — in some way the couple are stripping their barriers to get to their most vulnerable, most real selves together.
Phillips will be on tour throughout major festival season — and it’ll include a set at the inaugural Panorama Festival. Check out the tour dates below.
05.07 – Dublin, Ireland – Academy Green Room
05.09 – Glasgow, Scotland – King Tut’s
05.10 – Manchester, England – Deaf Institute
05.11 – London, England – XOYO
05.12 – Brighton, England – The Haunt
05.20-22 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Festival
05.25-30 – Lake San Antonio, CA – Lightning In A Bottle
06.11-12 – London, England – Field Day
06.17-20 – Dufur, OR @ What The Festival
07.02 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Pitch Festival
07.15-17 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07.14-16 – Scranton, PA @ Camp Bisco
07.22-24 – Oro-Medonte, ON @ WayHome Festival
07.22-24 – Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
07.24 – New York, NY – Panorama
08.06 – Oxfordshire, UK @ Wilderness Festival
09.10 – Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival