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wilsonlikethevolleyball: The Inter-Dimensional Explorer

wilsonlikethevolleyball at Sound Off! 2019

Sound Off! is just weeks away, and we’re spending our days getting to know the incredible artists in this year’s lineup. Today, we’d like you to meet wilsonlikethevolleyball.

The best thing about wilsonlikethevolleyball is the unexpected quality that comes with each track. Clearly not satisfied with the status quo, Wilson’s style of electronic incorporates hip-hop, prog, pop, and a certain early 2000’s earnestness that makes his work surprising and exciting.

In his bio, Wilson calls himself an inter-dimensional explorer, and I think he might be on to something. Simultaneously cheerful and dark, Wilson’s beats and beeps pulse with the energy of an alien with unlimited access to millennial MTV. But don’t be intimidated, these infinitely danceable tracks will sweep up even the least inclined to move their feet.

Check out wilsonlikethevolleyball at Sound Off! Semifinals #1 on February 9.

What does being part of Sound Off! mean to you?

Being part of Sound Off! means so much to me. I lived most of my life in Spokane and . . . there was a battle of the bands that happened there, and I was applying for it when I was like 10. Then I found out about [Sound Off!], I was about 12. I ended up playing the Spokane one at that time and I was like, “I want to do the big city battle of the bands.”

Seattle musician wilsonlikethevolleyball

I don’t know what happened, life I guess, but I kinda realized I’m turning 21 this year, and I was like, “I have to do Sound Off! before I can’t do Sound Off!” So, it means everything to me to be able to get this opportunity. It’s kind of like saying “What’s up?” to my 12-year-old self and being like, “Yo, I did it.”

What artists are currently inspiring the music you create?

I listen to a lot of Fytch. I listen to a lot of Culprate. Those are like the electronic influences that I listen to. Djent Metal is kind of my favorite music to listen to. I listen to a lot of Periphery, Animals as Leaders, TesseracT. Who else is not cringy? I don’t know. I listen to a lot of cringy music. Linkin Park was influential in my life. I don’t really listen to them that much anymore but [they were a favorite for] a good four years during high school.

Sound Off! participant Wilson Rahn in a candid moment

What are some of the cringy bands you listen to?

I mean like any of the pop punk stuff where it’s objectively cringy, but you just love it. I don’t know, like white people thinking they have problems. Like Blink 182, like Green Day, Sum 41, all that stuff is really great. Avril Lavigne is dope, not cringy at all. Paramore, same thing, not cringy at all. Hailey Williams for life.

wilsonlikethevolleyball showing how he feels like making electronic music

Why do you make music? How does it make you feel?

I have kind of a depressing answer that I just pull out of the back pocket. I like making music because it’s when I feel emptiest in the best possible way.

I feel like sometimes there’s this great — no great is such a boring word. There’s this quote that everyone’s heard, “This too shall pass.” Happiness is a great emotion to feel. I don’t feel it a whole lot. I’m in college, I’m 20, [I’ve] got a lot of the other side going on . . . like depression, sadness, negative emotion. I think it’s really fun to just be hyper focused and not care about anything.

Like, [to] have almost no emotion towards what you’re doing [and just] making decisions musically. Then you step back from it and you go, “Wow, I poured a lot of emotion into that.” But I think when you’re actually making it you have this kind of beautiful separation. [Music] is one of the only [places] I’ve ever experienced that in my life. Maybe skateboarding, but I get frustrated at that because I’m awful at it.

wilsonlikethevolleyball dancing to electronic music

What do you hope to achieve through your music?

I really loved what someone said a little while ago. I think it was yesterday’s orientation, someone said that they were inspired by a bass solo to [learn to] play the bass, and they really want to inspire some other eight-year-old kid to learn how to play the bass.

I think electronic music is super DJ locked, so not a lot of people do it. Not a lot of people perform electronic music with like midi controllers and stuff, and the people that do are generally doing a side of electronic music that’s, I would say, less aggressive or less “EDM-y.” I just think that it would be really cool to make that not a thing.

We have all the tools and it’s just your creativity that unbounds you to do whatever you want with it. We have the tools; we have more tools than anyone has ever had before. Inspire the kid to go do all that. I don’t know if that was full circle or not.

Electronic artist wilsonlikethevolleyball

If your music were a fruit or vegetable, what would it be and why?

You know my initial thought was grape. I don’t know why. Probably because purple is a little dark. It’s very full. If you bite into it — it kind of bursts all over the place.

If you leave it out in the sun a little while, it turns into like this horrible, horrible disgusting raisin. So, don’t leave my music out in the sun. Listen to it on your phone. Don’t leave it in the sun, it’s horrible. Raisins are awful. Raisins are terrible. I hate raisins.

See wilsonlikethevolleyball at Sound Off! Semifinals #1 on February 9. Get your tickets right here.

Photos by Nate Watters.

Sound Off!, Music

About the author

Adrienne is a writer and editor from Seattle and is MoPOP's Content Wizard (patent pending).