With the development of Guerilla Studios which he founded in 1979 as a (rare for the time) small independent 24 track studio in Little Venice, Orbit had his first experience of producing other artists. This is where he trained himself as a producer, and Orbit’s increasing skills quickly gained popularity, and along with his friend, in-house producer Rico Conning, many artists of the early 80s were recorded there. The Cocteau Twins, Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, Etienne Daho, Howard Devoto, Tik & Tok, Erasure, The Fall, The Frank Chickens, Ricky Gervais, Martin Gore, Laibach, Lords of the New Church, Daniel Miller, S’Express, Gary Numan, Renegade Soundwave, Les Rita Mitsuko, Sting, Swans, 23 Skidoo, Jah Wobble.
He co-wrote and recorded a project there with comedians Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson called ‘Loadsamoney’ under the pseudonym Billy Beat.
By the end of the 80s, Guerilla Studios was in the full service of William’s burgeoning recording and production career, but still rented out on occasion. The studio moved premises several times over the years and for a while was located by Hampstead Heath in an English Heritage listed building that had been the home of the painter John Constable. It was a dilapidated house that had a pronounced tilt to one side, a labyrinthine layout, with an extensive basement suitable for music making. This is where William worked with Malcom MacLaren, Willie Ninja and Mark Moore on ‘Deep in Vogue’. Simon Fisher Turner was a client at Guerilla at this time, where he composed and recorded soundtracks for Derek Jarman.
He also shared a second studio in St John’s Wood with the group Cocteau Twins, and worked at a studio he had built in Hermosa Beach, California.
Orbit took time off to travel extensively by motorbike in South East Asia, Northern Thailand, Malaya, Vietnam, Laos and having acquired one of the initial batch of entry visas to Cambodia after the civil war and spent time at Siem Reap studying the temples of Angkor Wat, and Angkor Thom at a time when tourists had yet to visit and United Nations personnel were still present.
In Phnom Penh Penh he commissioned those members of the Cambodian Royal Ballet who had survived the Khmer Rouge genocide – amongst the groups specifically targeted for execution had been artists and musicians – for the first full ballet production since the war, with full classic set design and costumes and the traditional orchestra, based on the Khmer pentatonic musical scale and gamelan instrumentation that had previously influenced his own music.
Guerilla Studio moved again to Crouch End in North London. This is where William’s new band, Bassomatic was formed, his first experience of having his own music in the national Top Ten with the single Fascinating Rhythm..
At Guerilla Crouch End, William did remixes and productions for Madonna, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Peter Gabriel and many others. Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk was a visitor, where the two of them worked on a remix version of their song ‘Radio-Activity.’
Goldie (Metalheadz) worked in a room upstairs where he developed his Drum-n-Bass style.
Orbit recorded most of his Strange Cargo series at the Crouch End studio, and the album ‘Pieces in a Modern Style’, and he also recorded another Torch Song album which had added Rico Conning to the line-up.
The Strange Cargo albums featured a number of guest artists, Beth Orton, Laurie Mayer, actor/writer Joe Frank and others.
During this time he began a relationship with singer-songwriter Beth Orton. He collaborated with her on one of his most successful tracks, ‘Water from a Vineleaf’, and also produced and co-wrote her first album Superpinkymandy, which contained an early version of the song ‘She Cries Your Name’.