Darren Williams' life as polymath producer Star Slinger is a series of genre-defying leaps and bounds. One day, he's working on a track for Stunnaman and Lil B, the next he's producing R&B, and somehow, before night falls, he manages to churn out a collaboration with Bay Area club rap weirdo (we know, there are a lot of them) Chippy Nonstop. Growing up in Manchester, artistic inspirations for this UK beatsmith include grimy Golden Age rap, Three 6 Mafia and The Beach Boys. Interested yet? You should be, because Star Slinger's profile is becoming stronger by the day and his debut album is just a few months away from the finish line.
This weekend, Star Slinger brings his style-shifting take on music to Orange County when he hits the stage at The Do Lab's Lightning in a Bottle festival in Silverado. Just a few days before his performance at this year's LiB festivities, we caught up with the British producer to discuss his methods, influences and more.
OC Weekly: Recently you've produced for a wide range of artists, from Juicy J and Lil B to indie rock acts like Deerhunter and Mount Kimbie. Where does this eclecticism come from?
Star Slinger: I used to own a top Virgin 1000 album book, which got me into digging out old releases and different genres. I have never really been content with listening to one genre. It's melody that drives my love for any type of music. Star Slinger: I used to own a top Virgin 1000 album book, which got me into digging out old releases and different genres. I have never really been content with listening to one genre. It's melody that drives my love for any type of music.
How does your creative process differ when you're collaborating with a rapper or vocalist as opposed to something like your own EP, Teams vs Star Slinger?
When I'm working with a rapper or vocalist I usually have that artist in mind when creating that track, but when working with another producer [on my own tracks] its more "skeletal." More bouncing parts and ideas off of each other.
Since you're somebody whose sound is so deeply rooted in hip-hop and electronic music production, what is one collaboration between an electronic artist and rapper that would you would like to see happen?
I was just thinking today about how it would have been Notorious B.I.G's 40th birthday, and was wondering what he would be creating if he was still alive. I would have loved to see him rap on a track by Lex Luger.
You're out to play Lightning in a Bottle, which is one of the biggest and highest regarded festivals in Southern California. Do you feel more comfortable at larger scale events like this or more intimate venues?
I prefer the intimacy of a smaller venue and knowing that those fans are there to see me (a certain artist), and I also like having sound check.
As of late you have been working with several different hip-hop artists. What producers do you feel have had the biggest impact on the sound of your hip-hop work?
Early Juicy J, early Kanye West and some house music producers who sampled, like Armand Van Helden and Kenny Dope.
A lot of the sounds in your tracks carry a futuristic, experimental R&B feel and you've expressed an affinity for that genre through collaborations with singer Reggie B. What is it that draws you to R&B?
R&B is always melodically driven, and it also has a great tempo range that is easy to experiment with.
How did the collaboration with Lil B and Stunnaman on "Bad Bitches" come about? I would imagine working with those two would be an incredibly fun opportunity.
Stunnaman had hit me up, asking to do a track with him. So, I sent him a beat, then he did the vocal track, then sent back the acapella. In that process he had asked Lil B to hop on the track, which was a very pleasant surprise.
You recently you said this about the type of album you want to make: "Not something million miles away from my hip-hop shit, but things with big ass choruses and something that has musical integrity." How is the development of the new album coming along and how closely are you sticking to those ideas and concepts?
It's about 3-4 months from completion, just need to finish the last few tracks. I'm really excited to be done with touring for a minute, so I can get back to focusing on finishing these tracks. I believe that I have hit the marks with the concepts that I wanted to portray on this upcoming album.