We had the good fortune of connecting with William Lambert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi William, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
To me, the opportunities that have attained me the most success are the collaborations I’ve done with other artists – whom are adjacent but uniquely complimentary in genre – as well as trusted labels and similar small collectives that have their own growing foothold in aesthetic impact.
I’m regarded as a huge proponent of independent music and will always advocate that Spotify and other platforms should pay more to their artists. However, still at this current time, the unique platform that online music stores confer upon their artists and their collaborators allows for connection with their audience at any time. With this audience proximity, music between collaborators can increase the attention paid to all creators and labels. So I’ve done this myself as WEI, and shot around a lot of labels primarily in the ‘Lofi’ and ‘Future Beats’ genres, including Chillhop Music as well as collaborated with artists like Stan Forbee, and the result was mutually beneficial success. All parties stand to benefit from good vibes.
Music appears to be an ecosystem, and we depend on each other for influence, support and love, so I do think collaboration is beneficial in countless ways for the aspiring musician. In addition to understanding other people, new genres, collaboration gives tools to manage concurrent projects as well as handle contracts or other functions of releasing music. In my experience these processes have helped me understand more of how most actors operate in releasing and promoting music. It’s undoubtedly important for all musicians to know what compromises they might be agreeing to as labels have always exploited fine print.
Let me also mention that independent music has not just less barriers of entry now, but that an artist maintaining full ownership royalties of their songs is key to establishing monetary success with music. I discuss Spotify here but artists should know their cuts are useful for all types of royalties, as the publishing world is another cornerstone of music earnings. The platforms like Spotify as mentioned above have their flaws in operation, but a single-artist track is very helpful in showing their audience who they are, and fixing places on the algorithm to boot. In this streaming world, the middlemen of labels or record stores aren’t the same role as distribution as they once were. To me, this reflects a generally positive change as labels can focus on the aesthetic potential of their community, with less potential constrictions on their artists. It also presents the serious challenge of oversight and accountability on such consolidated platforms as music communities need to advocate for their continued democratization and emancipation by addressing their positions loudly.
My journey as WEI lead me to successes through a blend of constant collaboration and promoting my voice as an artist independently. This balance allowed me to maintain status of my royalties as well as to get in touch with new communities that could act upon them and earn me and my collaborators our cold hard cash. I’m hopeful with the dynamic nature of this industry and the savviness of artists and young folk writ large, the music world will continue to improve how they serve the artists and their audiences.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make electronic music with sounds that I design as well as play from a variety of instruments. As WEI, I reflect my upbringing and development, from moving across the world with a focus in Asia as well as a deep imagination and respect for the fantasies that eventually become reality over the years. My start as a musician precedes my first release on Spotify in 2016, playing guitar had long fascinated me and taught me the theory behind music. Through video games and the internet I managed to find a variety of electronic, synth based music that paved a different style of composition from traditional radio pop. One where chords, melodies, rhythms and sounds seemed to explore new places than the seemingly rigid mechanisms of some of the music I was listening to at the time.
Through my school Berklee, which I’ve been very fortunate to have been paid for by my parents, I was given the resources, push and connections to meet students and teachers whom I work with to this day.
Music doesn’t have to be a complicated affair – although it definitely can always be looked into deeply – but much of the experience really is as simple as hanging out with others and enjoying a piece of art that just feels good. The inherent selflessness and countless benefits of music does empower me to look for ways where I can advocate for others, as well as to warn against the manipulation and gatekeeping that some especially labels and Store executives espouse. I think that incentivizing people to hope in things better is a timeless good. That’s why my music in particular has a dream-like, nuanced and fantastical aura to it, as our optimism really will push our futures.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh, wow, where to begin? NYC has too many fire nooks and crannies to count. As far as food, I really enjoy Thursday Kitchen in the LES area and The Butcher’s Daughter in Williamsburg. Bars that pop are The Back Room & Cellar Dog (Manhattan), Royal Palms (BK)
Live music is a must in the city and so I could throw Rockwood Music Hall at Delancey, Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, and The Blue Note never gets old.
Hm… I’ve taken friends to the turquoise cranes at Domino Park in Williamsburg – there’s a great taco and margaritas spot there and a spectacular view near the East River.
Finally I’d recommend people visit the Cooper Hewitt Museum, The Guggenheim as well as the MET Cloister especially in Summer as knowledge is power and these places are gorgeous.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to shoutout tonnes of people at any time of any day, but at this time I’ll highlight the collaborators on my third album NEVERLAND.
My amazing friends Annie Lux (@iamannielux), Elijah Nang (@elijahnang), Alvaro Cabrera (@alvagrams) and Alex Martian (@alex.martian) are all featured in this project. They continue to inspire me as people and musicians, and I trust their opinions closely. The additions each of them made sound like them and accent my tracks perfectly. Please consider checking them all out, and shoutout to Elijah’s new album ‘Gaijin 3000’.
Neverland was mastered by Trevor at Case Mastering (@casemastering), and the cover of the album was performed by Mohit Achanta (@itsmojiiito). Thank you to them all for helping me realize this work.
Photo taken by Alex Brown, (@alexskbrown on Instagram)