WMC 2012: PillowTalk on Breakthrough Success and Destroying All Genres

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San Francisco's Samuel Doylestien, Ryan Williams, and Michael Tello are all accomplished DJ-producers. But as PillowTalk, they've been making even bigger waves.

This year alone has seen the threesome signed to some of the most hotly tipped labels in the international house and techno scene: Visionquest, Life and Death, and Wolf + Lamb.

Maybe it's the relentless eclecticism of their D.A.G. (Destroy All Genres) philosophy that's earning PillowTalk a broad cross-section of fans. Or maybe it's their endearing brand of blue-eyed electro-boogie that even the techno snobs can't resist.

Whatever the case, you'll get plenty of opportunities to find out why PillowTalk are greater than the sum of their hype when they throw down at a bunch of parties during Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week.

Crossfade: Who is PillowTalk?

PillowTalk: Sammy D, Ryan Williams, and Michael Tello. In 2010, Sammy met Michael. They were neighbors and hanging in the same music scene before meeting Ryan in 2007 through mutual friends.

We were DJing and throwing parties in SF. Sammy started making music with Justin Martin in the early 2000s for Dirtybird and Classic, and he's one of the guys behind the infamous Kontrol parties. Michael has been throwing undergrounds as well as a very successful weekly event called Housepitality for the past decade, with multiple releases under his belt as The X-Men project and for Om Records. Ryan has been been a close part of our crew for the past seven years, always tinkering with music and songwriting.

We all just came together and decided to put all our energy towards making music in 2011.

The San Francisco house music scene is well known. How did it shape you artistically? What makes it unique?

We have been influenced by so many types of music and have surrounded ourselves with very passionate musicians and DJs. We all influence each other in different ways. Also, the Sunset crew of Solar, Galen and J-Bird have been instrumental in influencing a generation of producers in SF.

A handful of others, like Nikola Baytala, Dave Aju, Adnan, Iz, Tasho, Justin Martin, Conor, Lance Desardi, M3 and Anthony Mansfield have been really inspiring DJs to be around and grow up with. As far as being unique, we feel there is a real spirit of freedom in SF. Maybe it's left over from the "Summer of Love" or the early Wicked parties. But it's definitely in the air.

What is the concept behind "Destroy All Genres" and how do you apply this philosophy to both your DJ style and production work?

I guess we should be more clear when we throw that term around. It's more the idea of genres and trying to categorize everything -- like musical segregation, so to speak -- or attempting to define and separate every single nuance in music and art, etc.

We really enjoy creative freedom. And to us, "genres" feel like rules we somehow universally have to follow -- or else. Clearly we are influenced by defined genres of music. But we want to take that influence in directions that are undefined and open for interpretation. No matter what you do, whether it's totally fresh and new, someone will name it something just as a reference point. So we never will really "Destroy All Genres." But certainly, we'll be aware of them and try to avoid them.

This past year saw you jump aboard some big labels. How does it feel getting such huge recognition after all these years? And what have been some of the highlights of your success so far?

It's been unbelievable! We are very fortunate to start off like we did. We have collectively been in the dance music culture for close to 50 years. So we have built great relationships over time and that was really key to us getting our stuff out with these labels.

We have so many highlights from last year. But I think one that will stick with us is our first live show It was Michael's birthday as we opened up for our good friends dOP  in our home town. It was a very special night for all of us.

PillowTalk's Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week Schedule

Nightdrive Three-Year Anniversary. With PillowTalk, Kim Ann Foxman, DJ T, Maxxi Soundsystem, Danny Daze, Laura of Miami, and Patrick Walsh. Wednesday, March 21. Chalk Ping Pong & Billiards Lounge, 1234 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at midnight and there's no cover. Call 305-532-8662 or visit chalkmiami.com.

The Marcy All Stars. With PillowTalk, Tanner Ross, Deniz Kurtel, Wuss + Lame, No Regular Play, and others. Thursday, March 22. Electric Pickle, 2826 N Miami Avenue, Miami. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.

Down & Out vs. Life and Death. With PillowTalk, Tale Of Us, Clockwork, Thugfucker, DJ Tennis, and others. Friday, March 23. Treehouse, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach. The party starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-674-7447 or visit treehousemiami.com.

Fixed. With Simian Mobile Disco, Tiger & Woods, Pillowtalk, and others. Friday, March 23. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th Street, Miami. Tickets $20 via wantickets.com. Call 305-379-0508 or visit thevagabondmiami.com.

OM: Miami 2012. With PillowTalk, Mark Farina, DJ Sneak, Crazy P, Deetron, and others. Saturday, March 24. Villa 221, 221 NE 17th St., Miami. The party starts at noon and tickets cost $20 via wantickets.com. Call 305-416-5280 or visit villa221.com.

Last Resort. With PillowTalk, Maya Jane Coles, Visionquest, Maceo Plex, Soul Clap, and others. Sunday, March 25. Villa 221, 221 NE 17th St., Miami. The party starts at noon and tickets cost $20 via wantickets.com. Call 305-416-5280 or visit villa221.com.

What else can fans expect from PillowTalk in 2012?

We have some really cool collaborations and remixes coming out in the spring with Deniz Kurtel, Kasper Bjørke, Tanner Ross, dOP, Soul Clap, Thugfucker, and a real special project with Tennis who's one of the guys behind the Life and Death label. Also, we have two EPs ready to drop on Bang the Box, and an edit project for Wolf + Lamb Black called "The Soul Edits," which we are completely in love with.

We are performing some new original material in our live shows in Miami, which will hopefully be added and coming out on a full-length album sometime this year. We will be touring all year and be based out of Berlin this summer. We're really excited for the upcoming year and look forward to performing for our fans!

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL

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