If you’ve ever been out dancing in Edmonton at places like The Bower or 99Ten, you likely already know Andrew Williams – you just might know him as NVS or Dunmore Park, his DJ monikers. Williams has been a DJ since 2004 and, while balancing various jobs during that time, has recently put the focus back on music as co-founder of Night Vision, a local collective of electronic music artists, and the Alberta Electronic Music Conference, an annual event which attracts artists from around the world. It’s this balance between corporate work – and a penchant for a nice suit – and music that has Williams describing his style as “one foot in the office and one foot on the stage.”
When and why did you become interested in fashion and conscious about what you were wearing?
I noticed that if you dressed to a certain standard or in a certain way, people would take you a little more seriously in professional contexts. I had a few mentors who showed me the value of a good suit and a good pair of shoes. I’ve been a DJ and music producer for over 10 years and there’s always been an element of showmanship, dressing to entertain and dressing to be noticed. Those two things have always been in the background of my mind when getting dressed.
Do you have any signature pieces?
I love suits. I would wear a suit to everything if I could. My favourite suit is from a tailor out of London called Mr. Start. It’s a classic wool, charcoal suit and I bought that when I was in a more corporate job, and it’s going to last me my whole life because it’s a well-tailored suit and it’s never going to go out of style.
I also like hats – I really like ones from Reigning Champ and this local brand Nowhere Fast. And Mandarin collars. I’m not a big person, so I tend to go for European or Japanese brands as they’re the ones that often have that tailoring.
Where do you like to shop locally?
I like Frank and Oak for a lot of staples like t-shirts and slacks. Club Monaco is a favourite for nice, well-fitting, well-priced clothing. For more fun stuff, there’s a bow tie company called Offal Goods. I didn’t like bow ties until I started seeing theirs. Their pocket square and bow tie combinations are always really nice. If I have a friend who’s launching a clothing brand or even just printing their designs on t-shirts, I’ll always support them.
What’s the strongest memory you have attached to a piece of clothing?
Pineapple-related clothing. I know a lot of silly pineapple facts. I just started sharing my zany pineapple facts at parties and people thought they were hilarious so I kept telling them, and my friends heard me talk about them enough times that I just became the guy who loves pineapples. Any time I have a birthday or special event, I am just given pineapple things. I have a pair of pineapple-patterned socks that were given to me that I wore on stage while I was doing a PechaKucha presentation on pineapples, and I just thought it was very funny; it was my life combining into one thing.
What are the different personalities for your DJ aliases Dunmore Park and NVS?
Dunmore Park has a specific style, a specific aesthetic, and a specific sound, which is very eclectic mixture of percussion from around the world mixed with modern electronic sounds. I started the project trying to emulate people like Bonobo [an English electronic music artist, now based in Los Angeles; Williams opened for him in Calgary and Edmonton in September 2017] , people who are down-tempo producers, not necessarily producers of club raging hits. It’s music to listen to at home, to fit into an atmosphere or ambiance, music you could see fitting into a scene of a movie. It’s a bit more specific, very moody and has a bit more of a visual side to it. NVS is a “get the party started” personality; he can play any situation. It’s been my name for the longest time and I’ve done so many different things with it. It’s a broad, general thing focused on fun, funky, house music.
Are there any dream venues you’d like to play?
Red Rocks in Colorado, the classic dream venue for any artist. I’d also love to play a venue in Berlin called Kater Blau. I visited in December 2016 and it was one of the most surreal and wonderful experiences in my nightlife-going life. It was a massive complex that was like a jaunty pirate ship inside with multiple tiers, amazingly designed and decorated with the best sound system and amazing people. It was a real, otherworldly experience. It’s also the home of one of my favourite record labels, Katermukke. A lot of my favourite artists have played there or been affiliated with it, it’s a very weird subculture, very visual, very cinematic. It takes you into another world.
How would you describe the music scene in Edmonton?
I came to Edmonton for work and stayed because of the people. When I wanted to create Night Vision with a small group of people, we wanted to re-create the nightlife experience we had seen in other cities around the world. We created a nice little community to be able to do what we love the most and put forward music we thought was good. It’s become a situation where we can do exactly what we want, and that’s why we love Edmonton. We were able to build this from scratch. Edmontonians and the community have allowed us to do that and have supported us. Alberta’s music scene is in our teenage years. We’ve got a few breakout acts, but we’ve got a lot of hobbyists and amateurs. We’re at a really critical moment where if we can get behind local artists and improve and develop them so they can perform nationally and internationally, we’ll start seeing a lot more Albertan artists on an international stage.
Do you have any fashion pet peeves?
I try not to be super judge-y about what people are wearing. One of the things I like about festival and artist culture is the complete, utter not-caring about the correct thing to wear. People are experimental and wearing what makes them feel good. And I really, really like that. I grew up partly in London, England and when I was a teen I loved the flea markets. Camden Market was my introduction to the fact that people can dress how they want, which was so fascinating to me.
Local restaurant – Uccellino for fancy sit-down, Tres Carnales for fast casual, Remedy for pre-show quick bites
Hangout – Red Star Pub
Musician – Bonobo
Brand – Reigning Champ and Mr. Start
Store – Simons and Foosh
Drink – Negroni
Book – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Magazine – Esquire or New Scientist
City to travel – New York City or Berlin
Local activity – Going to shows
App – Audible
Dance floor – The Bower or 99Ten
If you can get vaccinated before the end of summer, will you consider going on vacation?
19%In Alberta only
48%Rest of Canada
14%A far-flung adventure
10% Staying at home
This article appears in the February 2018 issue of Avenue Edmonton.