British DJ and producer Tourist, real name William Philips, can do no wrong. The London-based artist is currently riding a very big wave created by his recent full-length project called Inside Out — an album widely acclaimed to be one of the most captivating projects to come out of the UK this year. As an artist, Philips possesses an abundance of experience gained from his Grammy-award winning pop remixing and songwriting having rubbed shoulders alongside the likes of The Weeknd, Wolf Alice, Christine and the Queens and British favourite Sam Smith. But it’s his Tourist moniker that has been under the spotlight this month, returning to the soundsphere with his trademark melodies and euphoric notes which he has become so popular for.
Coming as his fourth studio album in a decade-spanning career, the London-based producer decided to house this particular record on his very own independent imprint known as Monday Records and let the rest, they say, be history. Showcasing ten breathtaking soundtracks, the project weaves in and out of classic Tourist sounds and more dance-orientated tracks, ranging from the likes of nostalgic lead single “A Dedication” to the lighter, catchier notes of “Your Love”. Even though the new record is packed with euphoric moments, it is written in response to the sudden loss of a close friend during the pandemic of 2020 with Tourist explaining, “It was never a record I had imagined I would write, nor one I would want to again – but the process of creating these tracks was my attempt to make music that comforted me and explored the gamut of emotions one experiences after losing someone. Being unable to see others in the aftermath meant that writing music was a healthy way to occupy myself, and as soon as I felt like the record was in tribute to this person – the album really just wrote itself.”
In fact, this particular record marks ten years of releasing music as Tourist and boy, haven’t we been lucky. From the early sounds Everyday and Wild, to the more recent tones of singles “Siren” and “Last”, the multi-faceted London talent continues to craft some of the most captivating music to date and, hopefully, has no plans on stopping. To find out more about his brand new release, we asked the Londoner to tell us five things that inspired the album.
My friend & My Daughter
My daughter was born in the middle of me writing the album, but I knew she was on her way as soon as I started the writing process. Incidentally it was the same month I found out my wife was pregnant when one of my best friends passed away. I think it was the feeling of life’s totality that really made me write from a perspective that is as existential as it is. The artwork was one of those images that really summed up that feeling. Having to look both backwards and forwards at the same time, acknowledging the incomprehensibly sad death of my friend as well as the most joyous event, my daughters birth.
Sampling was one of the most fundamental influences on the record. I approached all of Inside Out from the same starting point, that of re-contextualising sounds and samples from their original source as a means to subvert them. I wasn’t able to get to my studio due to the lockdowns so I was mainly writing from home. This meant that I had a rather limited studio set up. At first I thought it would be limiting, but it was the complete opposite — I felt liberated that I didn’t have to focus on getting caught up in gear. I simply would trawl Spotify or Youtube, plug my phone into my Mac and press record.
Inside Out is the first record where I truly embraced dance music. Looking back it was probably the unconscious result of not being able to be near other people due to Covid. I yearned for music that was about communion and joy. I think on previous albums my head was much more in the ‘downtempo’ space, but with this album it just didn’t feel appropriate to make music for the head. There is something about dancing and moving that feels as though it purges and acknowledges feelings – imagining people dancing together to “Your Love” was a really emotional thought for me.
With this record, as much as it’s a ‘dance’ album, it really directly embraces many of my influences. The Mamas & Papas, Ellie Goulding, The Durutti Column, Shakespears Sister, Julianna Barwick, Big Thief. On paper that’s a diverse set of artists to sample, but it felt like my job was to try to draw the lines between these people and make something new and unexpected from them.
It sounds like an odd topic for a dance album – but for me it is the perfect justification for the existence of dance music. Dance music is here to celebrate life, it’s here because we all know deep down that this is temporary. At its best, it helps you live in the now, it helps you embrace being present with others and in my eyes it should feel joyous and euphoric. Embracing death was fundamental in creating Inside Out.