California based musician, Vo Williams calls his music Epic Hip Hop, and that is the perfect way to describe it. His tracks are claustrophobic, anxiety driven. The sort of sound that makes you move a little faster, speak a little louder, hit a little harder. It's action movie music.
That is perfect because you can hear Vo Williams' tracks on some of the most action-heavy shows currently on television. His music fuels the backdrop of the powerful, socially forward Empire, the ambitious and musically intense Atlanta. And most appropriately the action-packed Lethal Weapon series.
Vo Williams is himself ambitious, with powerful opinions of his own. After making a move from Sarasota, Fl to Los Angeles, Ca, Williams found a rebirth in his creative energy and subsequently hit his first big break with his music being featured in the international trailer for "Big Game."
Williams took the time to speak to TV Fanatic about his decision to move to California, how he defines Epic Hip Hop and his thoughts about this revolutionary time in American history.
You describe your music as Epic Hip Hop, how would you define that type of music? Is there anyone else you can think of that falls in that category?
It's Hip Hop music with but with massive size and scale and with a richer emotional gravity. As the sound becomes more and more successful in this space, more musicians are working to try and experiment with Epic Hip Hop. I cannot name anyone in particular however besides myself since the approach is still very fresh. But trust they are coming.
How do you think your music adds to the shows on which it is featured? Can you think of a particular scene that you felt was sort of perfectly matched with one of your songs?
I think my music is sought after because it's Hip Hop, but with a clear emotional tone that helps to lift the picture. I have to say Season one, Episode one of Lethal Weapon during the car chase scene. They used my song 'Payback' (produced by Dj Ricky Luna), and it drives that scene so well, its as if I made it for that scene.
You said your song process is visually influenced. Can you tell us about the images that you had in your head during the creation of one of your songs?
For my song "I am the one" I saw a young woman fighting to raise a child on her own while studying for a degree. I saw her dealing with difficult challenges and motivating herself to push forward to win for her family.
You are self-taught. Do you think that fact has had any bearing on the direction you have taken your music? It is a very unique sound.
Thank you, yes I definitely think my being self-taught has an influence on my approach to music. I believe your education in the arts can really affect your process and therefore the possibilities you see before you.
Thinking more freely and without much limitation from any rules or laws, I believe gives me an advantage. Not that I am against formal musical training. Perhaps I am just choosing the more empowering perspective on my own journey.
You train in martial arts; I couldn’t help thinking about how you said you want your music to make people feel “Powerful and unstoppable,” what music do you listen to when you are practicing martial arts, does it have the same effect for you of making you feel powerful?
I train Capoeira, so the music I train to is very specific to that art form. Capoeira music is an essential element to training and playing the game of Capoeira. However, sometimes I may train basic kicks and dodges repetitively without using the full flow of the art form. In those times I definitely listen to Kanye, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar and Vo Williams. A lot of Vo Williams.
I read something about how you moved to LA after a period of hardship, can you tell us more about the influence behind your decision to relocate?
While I was living in Florida, I felt stuck. My friends convinced me to take the trip out west, and it. Changed my life. I had experienced some success before, and I had always lived with my head high and created with passion.
So my community definitely took notice when I was going through tough times. My friends knew my wavelength, and they knew if that breaking away from that environment would help me get back on track. They were right, and it saved me. Shout out to Markus Urban, Matt Vega, and Katie Eiseman
Is there anything you are working on right now that you want people to know about?
I'm about to drop an EP in collaboration with Robin Loxley that I am really excited about! And I'm headed to London soon to cook up even more music. So look out for that!
We have been going through a very revolutionary time in society, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think people are finally starting to take a stand against oppression, why or why not?
We really are witnessing a wave right now. This is History happening before our eyes. I think a lot of the ugliness about our History is rising to eye level, and people are having to face it and deal with it for the first time in a long time.
I wish I could say that having our problems fully exposed, is all we need as moral and just people. But as we all can see, even when facing these issue, there are people who have found room for debate. We have a long way to go, but I think we are moving forward, very slowly.
Amanda Lang was a staff writer for TV Fanatic through December 2018.