Chicago artist Willie Main takes center stage on his new EP Y.
Y is a tropical bedroom in a brightly colored apartment.
Y is a bleached hotel room by the beach.
Y is a torn Hawaiian shirt two sizes too large.
Y is a scatterbrain melting pot of a dozen styles and influences caressed into one thought provoking and bittersweet sound.
It's guitar-driven, it's drowsy, it's electrified. Expanding and progressing from his prior EP Hiatus, the artist formerly known as Swill soars to the sky for his self-produced project. I spoke with Willie Main about his process, about what's next, and about sampling rainforests.
What was the process like making this album?
Generally, when it comes to songwriting I start with melody. I usually hum garbled melodies into my iPhone over some very minimal production. Once I have a good melody, I work more on the instrumentation. Then once the beat has a little more flavor I go for the words.
For ‘Y, ’the overall process was slow. I was rewriting constantly. It feels like I’m still learning how to make an actual song. I want my songs to have parts, outside of vocal parts. Different chords for the verses, the chorus, the bridge. The whole thing. Ableton has my mind running in these 8 bar loops and sometimes I have trouble making a cohesive song. I have a bad attention span too. For my next project I plan to write fully on guitar or piano.
How does it differ from your Hiatus EP?
I don’t think I sampled on this album besides some rainforests and Super Smash Brawl stages. Way bigger production for sure. A lot of criticism I got from Hiatus was that no one could understand me so I tried to be less lazy / stoned and enunciate more when I record.
Pooky helps with production on all but one song. Was this album made together or did he add on later?
Most of the songs he was just an add on. Bang is pretty much solely produced by him though. We live together so sometimes he comes into my room and just slays my lil Microkorg. Any time you hear a trippy arpeggiated synth that’s all him. He is so talented, but he worked very hard and continues to. He is about to graduate school for composition at Columbia and is in like 5 bands (Lovejoy, SunCop to name a few). He’s an inspiration for sure. We’re also working on a bunch of music together. He does most of the audio stuff (synths, guitar, bass) and I handle most of the computer/midi stuff (synth leads, drums, mixing). I think we make a pretty damn good team.
How would you describe this project to a stranger on the street?
Messy, unfulfilling, relatable.
Now that the project is out, what are you plans going into 2018?
More music. I’m going to stop being a home studio rat boy in 2018. Work with new people and meet new people. Hopefully find some good inspiration. Do lots of shows and continue to try and make music people haven’t thought to have heard yet.