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Fresh Kicks 177: Leisureware

DJ Leisureware standing in an alley looking at the sky, wearing a raincoat and alien print tshirt

Leisureware “puts the lairy in Balearic” in his blissed-out, two-hour Fresh Kicks mix, and chats to Eoin Murray about “low intervention” DJing and The Occasional Feel-Good party and Soho Radio show

“Much like makers of trendy natural wine, I’ve adopted the ‘low intervention’ principle,” says William Smith, more appropriately known as the London-based DJ Leisureware. “While DJing, I let tracks play in full and overlap at the edges, allowing for strange combinations and happy accidents.”

As Leisureware, Smith has spent the past decade or so spinning sets of easy-going electronic music, touching on everything from balmy dub and ambient house to blissed-out kosmische and breakbeats that patter like sunshowers on pavement. His Fresh Kicks mix “puts the lairy in Balearic,” he says, capturing his laid back DJ technique “like a holiday snap”. Over two hours of dreamy sounds from the likes of Jay Glass Dubs, The KLF, Space Ghost and many more, Smith stirs a potent cocktail of music made for beachside sunsets and hazy backyard barbecues. All it’s missing is a little umbrella. 

“Brian Eno talks about the balance between control and surrender,” he says, expanding on his approach. “He uses the analogy of a surfer bobbing around in the ocean. They exert control in selecting a wave, then surrender themselves and go with the flow. Essentially, I’m a surfing winemaker playing weird music. Another advantage of low intervention DJing is that it frees you up to chat, drink, dance and nip to the loo.”

Alongside his monthly slot on Noods Radio, Smith hosts a semi-regular party and Soho Radio show, The Occasional Feel-Good, with his friend Daniel Ghazvinie. Originating as a club night under a railway arch in Herne Hill, the party has since moved to The Social in Soho. The next edition will take place on 10th June, and promises to be an “all-night trip through luxury dub, mystical groove and moments of aural euphoria”. “It’s also my birthday,” says Smith. “So come and buy me a pint.”

The Occasional Feel-Good’s monthly Soho Radio show is as chilled-out as you might expect; its hosts balance their musical selections with relaxed segues of chat. While online radio has increasingly adopted a less-is-more policy when it comes to audience interaction — a track ID here, a shout out there — The Occasional Feel-Good veers easily into its banterous flow. “Daniel and I approach [the show] as close pals and gobby misanthropes,” says Smith. “We tease and bicker but always make up by the end. In an age of information overload, honesty and personality are all you need.”

Recent guests on the show have included the likes of Make A Dance, aaraoneight, James Massiah, Esqueezy, Douglas Dare and System Olympia, who’ve each brought their own flavour to the Feel-Good space. The enjoyment Smith gets from hosting both shows, and throwing parties, is undeniable, and he makes a point of shouting out the teams at Soho Radio, The Social and Noods Radio who help his breezy vision come to life. 

Nevertheless, for Smith, the mental readjustment to post-lockdown life has been as unsteady as it has been for most people. “This year’s been a wacky one,” he says, stoically. “It feels like a transitional phase, full of uncertainty.” He’s found joy in lots of little things, from eating oysters and copping an original pressing of ‘Chill Out’ by The KLF, to dancing to a Daniele Baldelli DJ set and spotting Zoë Kravitz and Channing Tatum in town: “They’re much smaller than you might imagine...” 

Then there’s all the music he’s been enjoying. His 2022 favourites have included Jack J’s ‘Opening The Door’ on Mood Hut — “a deeply dreamy album” — and the ‘Sky Dust Drifter’ compilation on Forager Records — “an impeccable compilation of psychedelic soft rock”. He’s also been digging back into The Zenmenn’s ‘Enter The Zenmenn’ on Music From Memory and ‘Plant Age’ by Terekke on L.I.E.S. And then, of course, there’s Andrew Weatherall’s perennial psychedelic disco remix of Saint Etienne’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’, a track that “perfectly embodies what I dig right now,” Smith says. 

It’s a blissful, stomping vibe that’s also captured in Leisureware’s two-hour Fresh Kicks mix, which you can hear below: “Stick it on your headphones,” he suggests. “Walk purposefully away from your computer and never look back...”


Jean Binta Breeze ‘Dubwise’
CORBEN ‘An Eye, For I’
Tapes ‘Sauna Research’
Jay Glass Dubs ‘The Sweetest Dub’
Lucky Mereki ‘Lovely Sight’
Marengo ‘Puente De Esperanza’
Paprika Soul ‘Come With Me (The Chill)’
Les 36'15 ‘Zoulous! (Remix)’
Græns ‘Universal Dub (Encounter With Fanon)’
Apiento ‘Things You Do For Love (Mad Professor Crazy Dubclubbing Remix)’
Bassline feat. Lorraine Chambers ‘Back To Bass-Ics’
Jesse Futerman feat. Beverly Glenn-Copeland ‘Luckey’
John Martyn ‘Sunshine's Better’
Innocence ‘Natural Thing’
Bibbi feat. SUN ‘You Don't Mind’
Ashaye ‘What's This World Coming To’
Perishing Thirst ‘Morning Light’
Space Ghost ‘Emotional Healer (Back Room Mix)’
Futurereality ‘Jump2This’
Tokyo Offshore Project ‘Magic Melody’
The KLF ‘Madrugada Eterna (Club Mix)’
Marina Van-Rooy ‘Sly One’
The Beloved ‘The Sun Rising (Intensità)’
Persian ‘Morning Sun’
Nutcase & Papachubba ‘Floating Inside’
Hugh B ‘Soul Running’
Roy Of The Ravers ‘Emotinium (Ambient Dub)’
The Williams Fairey Brass Band ‘Pacific 202’