Inspiration from the Converse ERX
London-based DJ OK Williams heads to the Boston archive to explore the Converse ERX’s relentless attitude.
OK Williams doesn’t compromise. “When I play music, I’m always myself – completely and totally. This is what I like, this is what I do, you can take it or leave it,” says the 25-year-old DJ on her creative process. A demeanour that she channels into hard-hitting, glitchy techno sets on her NTS radio show and at her Corsica club residency.
This hard-line, unyielding disposition is epitomised by the relentless attitude of the Converse ERX shoe. First released in 1988, the bulky sneaker became an instant classic after the Detroit “bad boys” quickly snapped it up – the legendary basketball team who made a name for themselves both on and off-court thanks to their hard-as-nails attitude.
“They were a very bold shoe and they were a very bold team,” explains the London-based selector, “a lot of the team wore the ERX because they agreed with the uncompromising ethos around the shoe.”
As well as this shared unyielding demeanour, the squad was drawn to the trainer thanks to its revolutionary energy wave technology that inspired the iconic Energy Return Multiplier (ERX) moniker. A factor that the creative learned about on her trip to Boston, finding inspiration from Converse’s, “high-tech and functional design yet cultural relevance in fashion and music,” as documented by the expansive archive.
This technology-driven, forward-looking mindset is integral to OK William’s craft. “The music I listen to and play is from Detroit,” the DJ continues. “It originated with lots of young black children that started making music with machines that were very new and advanced for the time. Making something that hadn’t been done before because they embraced technology.” Detroit’s techno scene went on to become a global cultural cornerstone just like the ERX, with both sharing an affinity for their ability to seamlessly blend technology and style.
“The trip to the Boston archive really confirmed both my artistic style and attitude towards DJing,” explains the creative. “‘Learning about the Pistons’ captain Isiah Thomas and his charming yet ruthless approach to his sport really resonated with me and will inspire my future pursuits in music.”
Watch the video below to learn more about OK William’s creative ethos and to see her convey this spirit while DJing against the London skyline.
Director Hector Aponysus D.O.P. Jack Exton