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Raw Hedroom is the musical alias of Gareth Williams. Having immersed himself in electronic music and culture for more than ten years, Gareth has worn several hats in the electronic music industry. Right now, he produces techno for Cologne’s Trapez label, builds custom performance systems for Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman Live tour and steers the ship at Liine – with such a thirst for challenges, something as mundane as time won’t hold him back.
Following a childhood revolving around music, things really started to kick off in the early 2000s when he moved to Nottingham, UK. Here, he met many like-minded people and became a familiar face on the scene, involved in several of the city’s club nights. It was at this time that several musical partnerships were born, including that with occasional collaborator (and then housemate) Max Cooper. In 2005, Nottingham was set to become the testing ground for his new Raw Hedroom project, a solo excursion focusing on contrasts such as light and dark, space and claustrophobia. The very first set under this pseudonym was delivered to a hot, sweating, underground room at the legendary, but now defunct, Bomb nightclub.
Decamping to Eastern Europe in late-2006 allowed Gareth to widen his influences, away from his familiar stomping ground and peers. Here, hours per week spent producing music turned into days – this was a critical point in his musical development. He was seduced by the European party spirit. Performing early in the morning to the Girls and Mathematics party crew at an old lakeside communist villa near Budapest whilst a policeman played along on bongos before falling peacefully asleep amongst the dancers was only a taster of what was to come.
In 2008, Gareth starting working with Cologne techno label, Trapez. His first EP with this techno powerhouse was released soon after. These tracks highlighted his fascination with more unusual sounds, delivered with an almost tongue in cheek sense of humour. This first bomb received props across the board, grabbing the attention of Anja Schneider, Laurent Garnier, Mihalis Safras, Hot Chip’s Felix Martin, Len Faki, Alexi Delano and Philip Sherbourne amongst others.
Later that same year, Gareth moved to Berlin to be closer to what many consider to be the current, beating heart of electronic music. He was thrown headlong into the 24/7 day and night Berlin scene which would come to be a big influence on his musical personality. Legendary clubs like the hedonistic Berghain/Panorama Bar, parties in damp, dark bomb-shelters and the open-air sessions by the river with no start or finish all left their mark. Living in a building full of musicians was also a hugely positive experience – with producers like Martin Dawson (King Roc/Two Armadillos), Jay Shepheard and Mark Henning all making music within throwing distance. In 2009, Raw Hedroom was featured on a compilation celebrating Trapez’ 100th release, the first track to really showcase these Berlin influences. To celebrate it’s release he was asked to record a mix for Kompakt’s website.
Gareth has also forged himself a reputation as a music technology expert. He has been invited to give performance and production seminars at events all over Europe and America, including the hugely influential Amsterdam Dance Music event and Boston’s Berklee College of Music. This also led him to cross paths with Richie Hawtin, initially working together on a custom Lemur touchscreen setup for Minus’ Contakt events of 2008/2009. In early 2010, Richie invited Gareth to be involved in his upcoming Plastikman Live show. Alongside Nick Bugayev, Gareth helped build an advanced audio performance system which is a key part of the all-encompassing sensory experience which Richie is currently taking around the world.
It was this time spent together working on cutting-edge performance technology that provided a seed for the formation of Liine, a company founded in 2010 by Gareth, Richie Hawtin, John Acquaviva, Nick Bugayev and Etienne Noreau-Hebert. A group of like-minded music/technology innovators, Liine produces products which aim to change and redefine the way people interact with sound. The first product from this stable, Griid, is an Ableton Live controller for Apple’s iPad device, which brings people even closer to the music and Ableton Live itself than ever before.
Artistically, Gareth is fascinated by the interface between music art and technology. In fact, he sees no real distinction. Music drives technology, which in turn drives the music itself. Being part of a team building their own technology really allows him to explore this intersection closer than most. The resulting sound is innovative, but always in touch with the dancefloor. His preferred process of jamming live during the production process captures the human error, groove and happy accidents which are all too often missing from much of today’s electronic music.