Will Clarke’s Five Favorite Opening and Closing Tracks

To celebrate the release of his brand new label, All We Have Is Now, and its debut single, “U Take Me Higher,” Bristol’s chart-topping DJ, producer, and tastemaker Will Clarke tell us about the tracks he uses to open and close his sets. 

For me, being an artist is about having full control of every aspect of my career. Over the years, I’ve definitely let certain parts of that go and never truly grasped
where I wanted to sit as an artist. 2019 was a year of realigning myself and finding my creative direction again. It allowed me to write some fantastic music, and also gave me lots of goals I’m hoping to achieve in the coming months. One of the goals was to start a record label, which again, is me taking back my creative control as an artist. On January 24th, I launch my new imprint called All We Have Is Now.

Recently, I was finding that I’d often be booked for shows and only play 1-2 hour sets. At every show, I couldn’t help but feel I could give much more to the crowd if I could play for longer. This is where the concept of my new Open-to-Close Tour came from, which will hit multiple cities throughout the US between January and March of 2020. I’m hoping it allows me to work the dance floor properly and give people an insight into all the genres of music I like to play. Below I’ve selected ten records that I open with and close with during my open-to-close sets.

Opening tracks

Bonobo – 7th Sevens [Ninja Tune]

This record is special, it’s super melodic. When opening a club, I believe it’s the most important set of the night, since you are giving the customers a chance to build up to the headliner, and records like this really do a great job at setting that vibe.

Burial – Archangel [Hyperdub]

Does this really need a write up? It’s an iconic record with a beautiful vocal sample, amazing strings, and a moody beat. Perfect for an opening record. Burial is also one of my favorite artists. Back when I was a resident in Ibiza, I would play the sunsets on a daily basis which was right around the release of his first album. His music was perfect for those sets as well.

Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo [Hotflush Recordings]

When I’m playing long sets, I like to bring out some of my old favs, this is one of them. Pretty much whatever Joy Orbison touches is like a rare diamond in the rough. Pure genius. Again, it’s a melodic record, which I love to play on the more melodic tip when opening.

Charles Murdoch – SSSS [Future Classic]

I was introduced to Charles’ music from a friend of mine not so long ago and from that day I’ve not stopped listening. There is something about his melodies and lo-fi beats that really bring a vibe to a club in the opening stages. I’ve spent many of nights driving round Detroit listening to this record on repeat. I love it.

Julian Hival – Electrify [Traum]

Honestly, I’ve only recently came across Julian, but from what I hear, I really like his music. This is a great record to get the dance floor moving after I’ve played pretty deep. With this one, I can start moving the dance floor a little faster but without having to bang it out. Beautiful record.

Closing tracks

Will Clarke – U Take Me Higher [All We Have Is Now]

I made this record for that “wow” moment in the club when everyone feels just right and throws their hands up in the air. It’s an excellent peak time record, but I also like to close with it. It’s a special single for me since it’s my first release on the label, so I took my time while producing it to make sure all the fine details are perfect for my ears.

Maceo Plex – Conjure Sex [Minus]

I don’t think this really needs much of an explanation. This record bangs hard in all of the right places. Maceo is definitely one of my favorite producers out there at the moment. His productions stand out from the rest; he’s in his own lane but can cross
along with anyone else and fits right in.

Locked Groove – Eb and Flow [Hotflush Recordings]

Old school vibes, but this track really rolls and sounds great in a club. It’s a killer, feel-good record with peaks and troughs that allow the crowd to get involved fully. I like how its produced; the raw bassline perfectly compliments the melodic keys and strings.

Madben – Haze [Ellum]

Anything that comes out on Maceo Plex’s Ellum Audio imprint is a certified club beast. This one is 100% just that with its super rolling bassline, glitchy melody, and raw snappy drums. I wouldn’t say this is a friendly record, but it’s bloody brilliant.

Marlena Shaw – Touch Me In The Morning [Columbia/Legacy]

For me, I’m always unsure whether to play a disco record during my sets, I don’t want to be that bandwagon DJ that’s playing disco because it’s the “in” thing to do. However, if you have the right disco record, it can make a dance floor explode. Marlena Shaw’s “Touch Me In The Morning” is one of those records.

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