We met up with Wingtip, aka Nick Perloff-Giles ,ahead of his set at Lollapalooza. The producer, who has been featured on Spotify’s “Young & Free” playlist and just signed to Republic Records, played his first Lollapalooza set last Saturday. Listen below to learn more about Wingtip, his tips for standing out, and who he was excited to see at Lolla:
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Morgan: Alright, I’m Morgan and I’m here with Nick of Wingtip.
Nick: Yes, yes you are.
M: Well, Nick who is Wingtip.
N: The one member!
M: So to start off with a basic question that I’m sure you get asked every time: How did you start making music?
N: I’ve been playing guitar since I was five or six. I did that for years and years and years. Then I started getting into bands when I was in high school and played guitar and sang in some random bands and did that for awhile. And then in 2011/2012 electronic music was blowing up and I was really excited by it and downloaded a bootleg copy of Ableton and just started making beats and stuff and basically just kept at it. I had some background in it because of guitar, so it was easier, but I basically just did it for years and years until it clicked.
M: So who inspired you in those early days to develop your sound?
N: I grew up listening to a lot of the second British Invasion stuff. Obviously they’re not British, but The Strokes and that sound like Razorlight, The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and all of those bands were really influential early on just in writing and in sound. When I started going to electronic stuff a lot of the early electronic acts like Justice and Skrillex even, like their earlier stuff, and that harder sound was also super influential. When I was growing up that’s sort of what I listened to.
M: I read that you went to Columbia and played a lot of campus parties… How’s that?
N: When you’re a DJ in college it’s the thing you do. You can kind of go party to party because everyone is looking for a DJ and everyone is looking to have someone play records, so I just started doing that. I actually really early on started touring different colleges and playing different colleges in the Northeast just because there’s a lot of demand for it and you can kind of do it in a really freeform way. There are limitations to it, obviously. It’s hard to present your own music as easily in that environment, but it’s good to get your feet wet with that type of audience because a lot of early gigs you’ll be playing will be with crowds that don’t necessarily know who you are or aren’t necessarily that excited to see you, so you’ve got to kind of win them over. It was good. I’m glad I’m not doing them anymore, but I don’t regret doing them.
M: Your name kind of got out there after you released your single with Sophie Strauss, how did the collaboration between the two of you come about?
N: We met via mutual friends in New York and she was a singer-songwriter at the time… still is. (Strauss) had a really interesting voice and kind of timber. Honestly, I was working with a friend of mine who had a custom fashion brand and he was trying to promote artist and musicians that he knew so he paid to interview me in this studio, because I was usually working out of my video. He was like “I really want to interview you out of the studio”, so I was like “okay”. He interviewed me in the studio and paid for 2 or 3 hours of free time there. I called Sophie the week before that happened and said I had free studio time coming up and we should just do something and so we had like 48 hours to put something together and just wrote it. It sat in my hard drive for awhile and we slowly re-tooled it, but most of it just came together then, so it was really instant. I think that helped it feel kind of organic and sort of effortless, because I think we weren’t thinking about writing the perfect song and nailing everything. She’s actually a little flat in the chorus, which I think you can kind of hear, and I think that adds to some of the appeal of the record.
M: Yeah, totally. You mentioned that you were starting to listen to EDM in the 2010 era when it started becoming a bigger thing and less of a niche market, what did you do to make yourself stand out? I feel like sometimes, especially at colleges, it can be a little saturated, with a lot of DJs and stuff, so what do you do to make yourself stand out?
N: I think the most important thing in any genre, but EDM is no different, is fundamentally songwriting has to be a really big part of it. I think a lot of people rely on production and cool sounds and features and stuff like that to mask not very interesting or good songwriting. I think the reason that “Rewind” did as well as it did, and people have been connecting with the songs that came after it, is that there is a lot of attention paid to songwriting and connecting to lyrics and the way that it’s written. I think to anybody (a producer that’s coming up) I’d say to focus on that as much as you can while buffing up your production skills, because I think ultimately what people latch onto is songwriting.
M: So what can we expect to see from your set this evening?
N: A lot of new stuff that I’m excited about, it’s going to be pretty high energy, a lot of new things from friends of mine, cool lights, and a good time, so you should all come out!
M: Have you done anything fun at Lolla yet?
N: I saw a lot of acts yesterday, which I think counts as fun.
M: That is fun. Anybody that you really, really loved?
N: Yeah. I loved Whitney, I’ve seen them a bunch of times, but I saw them yesterday. They brought out Joey Purpp which is really, really cool. They’re amazing. I love them. Seeing Blink was also fantastic. I had a good time. Otherwise, I did a set earlier today just for the Toyota Den, just a smaller thing. That was a lot of fun because I got to play a lot of different records that I would never play on a main stage or big stage setting, but people really seemed to connect with it. It’s been an awesome time.
M: We’ll wrap it up with the question I ask everyone. Who are you currently listening to?
N: Currently listening to a lot of Whitney, like I said, a lot of Bon Iver, the new Amine album is really solid, and then also Hundred Waters is sick so go check all of those out.