100 Creatives 2012: Roy Williams, DJ of Medieval Music
What He Does: When you think of a DJ, you think of someone finding the perfect dance mixes or maybe laying out the foundations for a brilliant emcee. You don't usually start picturing medieval music, but at least one local DJ does. Roy Williams focuses his set on an obscure and poorly represented genre, neo-folk. Most bands are European, though Dallas hosts an awesome one called Awen and Houston itself has Verdandi, as a side project of Paul Fredric.
Most of Williams's music is the handpicked best from the genre. Music from the medieval period is very open to interpretation as there was no accepted form of transcribing it at the time. Some bands may interpret the same song in radically different ways.
Williams's sets started as a side room at the Numbers goth night, Underworld, and now are featured in engagement nights. Though dancing does break out, the audiences generally get off on the atmosphere of the playlists. It's a nice break from the typical fare.
Why He Likes It: "The freedom. I have spun many genres, but with this sort of genre, the span of what you can evoke is really in your own hands. Moving from an interpretation of Hildegard Von Bingen to a rousing German militant march with accompanying bagpipes can truly span the sounds of the age and with the actual variety of instrumentation during the age, it is truly an aural buffet."
What Inspires Him: "Some of my favorites are Corvus Corax, a group that truly garners the fury of a punk equivalent. Ataraxia is another, especially Francesca's dark and low end vocals. I find it very appropriate and period as most who sang in the Middle Ages were nobles and were not chosen because they could actually sing, so a bit of an unrefined edge is appealing to me. Sopor Aeturnus and the Ensemble of Shadows still holds a certain charm, being so well established, and their choice of Baroque is certainly interesting."
If Not This, Then What: "I have a few, from maintaining Japanese-style aquariums to crafting with strange materials in traditional manners. I suppose any craft always appeals to me, but my artistic talents are not exactly productive; at least, no one has ever asked for more stick-people drawings."
If Not Here, Then Where: "I have spun around the area and it's quite a mixed bag. To be quite honest, I love Houston the best. Many spots I imagined would be ultra-cool were in fact weird and the crowd was not nearly as open to it. Houston has a lot to offer and everyone here has always been very supportive, even if it was not their particular bag of tricks."
What's Next: For the foreseeable future, Williams will continue searching for small, appropriate gigs to showcase his music. In particular, he enjoys seeking out art shows where the more subdued crowds tend to complement his style.
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer
Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor
Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer
Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts
Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright