May 11, 2021
7 min read
For David Wheatcroft (AKA Wheats), electronic music and a passion for DJing was introduced to him in his early childhood. Despite growing up in Portsmouth, a city without a vibrant house and techno scene, David’s father helped show him the ways of the world of electronic music. “He was a huge fan of Carl Cox and Frankie Knuckles, he used to show me that kind of music as a child and it inspired me to take it up. I used to peer over the decks when i was 6 years old and watch my dad play… I decided to pursue it myself by the time I was about 13.”
A home education in house and techno, and close proximity to Southampton and Brighton gave David all the tools he needed to launch his career. That being said, the early days were not to be taken too seriously. “I was 14 and my dad snuck me into a nightclub called Sky bar in Portsmouth. I took my laptop and old CDJs in there, no one turned up whatsoever, I was just playing for my dad and his friends.” Despite humble beginnings, David has since built up a career that now seems him as one of the hottest names coming out of the UK with a distinct, hypnotic sound. Although he has found success, he remains driven to continue growing and achieve new goals with his career.
David’s inspiration comes from a variety of avenues. Although he has played some of the biggest stages in the world, there still remain untouched venues. “After watching Jamie Jones smash it [DC-10 in Ibiza] the last few years, it would be a dream to play there.” In line with this, David notes a strong preference for the type of performance he prefers. “In an intimate club, I feel you have more control over the crowd. At a festival, the crowd is a diverse spread of people. At the club, you can create connections and control the floor in a different way.”
The first official Wheats release came in 2014 with his “Knee Deep EP.” He followed this with a handful of releases over the next few years, waiting until 2017 to start releasing with regularity.
In the beginning, David was still finding his sound and working on his identity as an artist. “When I first started, I didn’t have a direction. Even up to 3 years ago I was still figuring it out. I felt a little bit lost, I hadn’t been out enough and explored enough music to understand where I wanted to go with it. Now I know I want to go down this path of hypnotic trippy sort of style. When I’m on the dancefloor [as a fan] I want to be hypnotized, so that’s how I want to play.”
Although he now knows his sonic direction, the progression was a slow roll. David’s Al Shrill EP (released in 2017) marked the first real development in his style. The EP came out on Amplified Records, a local brand for which David was a local resident with in Portsmouth. “They shined the light on me first and took me under their wing. That motivated me to have [someone else] sign off on my talent. It is a small brand but had great connections. It made me feel like I wanted to keep going forward and smashing out records.”
Around the same time as the 'Al Shrill' EP, David connected with Toolroom Records and proceeded to make the label his home for the near future. “I met Toolroom in Brighton and handed in a demo which won their demo of the week competition. Later in the year, their sub-company, Engine Rooms, asked to manage me.” The recognition of David’s talent continued soon after with a major sign-off from American house legend, Kerri Chandler. “I met Kerri at a festival in 2017 with my dad. My dad got chatting to him about some old vinyl records. Kerri asked me to hand him some music. That day he opened his set with one of my tracks and it blew my mind. He was the first major artist to play a song of mine. We’ve kept in touch and we even have the same booking agent now. It’s just crazy to me.”
After a few years on Toolroom, David honed in on crafting a true identity for himself sonically. 2019 saw him head into a deeper and darker realm of house music. The influences causing this had a wide range. “Whenever I’m in the car I always have a radio station playing called BBC Radio 2. They don’t play anything top 40, just a widespread of music from older eras or current stuff that’s not popular. You can generate ideas for your own records by having inspiration from the music you might not normally listen to.” David notes that listening to a broad spectrum of music is key to development, but he can also point to a specific moment that changed everything for him. “I went to We Are FSTVL with some friends, we watched Jamie Jones BTB Marco Carolo BTB The Martinez Brothers and it just blew my mind. It changed the direction I wanted to go in musically and it opened a door for me mentally.”
Jamie Jones has long been one of David’s biggest influences and idols. The two first met in April of 2017 and since then David has worked hard to foster the relationship to the point that he is now releasing music with Jamie Jones. “I got friendly with a club owner in Southampton. Ryan [the owner] invited me to the green room to meet Jamie. When I met him I handed him a USB. Ever since then I kept sending him music and in the last year or two he’s finally started asking me to sign music with him, as well as inviting me to play at his Paradise shows.” The first result was a hypnotizing slow roller EP called “In Your Head.”
Going forward, David has seen doors open and opportunities abound as his profile continues to grow. “Recently I was in the studio for about two weeks with Latmun, we wrote 5 or 6 tracks. We just started sending them out for feedback… Recently I’ve been working with quite a few vocalists, a young woman named Medusa who just helped me on my recent Hottrax EP [Jamie Jones’s label], she does awesome trippy vocals.” For David, the process of music production can vary greatly. Sometimes he hears a sample or sound and decides to build a record around that one sound, other times he simply sits down and in the studio and creates from scratch. “There are great samples from all over the place… recently I’ve been doing edits of old 80s tracks and turning them into modern house tracks.”
The future is bright for David and he plans to dream big when it comes to the next phase of his career. David is currently working on a project called Box Red where he is putting out edits on Bandcamp and doing limited edition vinyl releases. He hopes to build out the project into a real label as it grows. David is also focused on eventually entering a curation role, building out his own party brand to help push the sound he loves. There will be a handful of Wheats releases in the near future, as well as a USA tour in the fall in which he will be co-headlining with Latmun.