MASSIVE QUESTIONS to BEN WESTBEECH

Ben Westbeech is a singer/songwriter. Ben Westbeech is a DJ. Ben Westbeech is a producer. Ben Westbeech is Lean and he is BrEaCh. Ben Westbeech used to live in Bristol.

He has a snazzy website here: BEN'S WEBSITE

You can follow him on Twitter there: @benwestbeech

I have always been a big fan of Ben Westbeech. I was there from day one, right after hearing his voice in the middle of the W+L v SC DJ Kicks CD. So, I was overcome with JOY when, over the weekend, Ben was kind enough to have me flown over to the recording studio of his Brick Lane mansion for a sit down and a few halves of lager. We sat and chatted for what seemed like hours in the company of his many microphones, mixing desks, flowers and body guards.



THIS is the transcript of our recorded conversation in full:

Q) For readers of this blog who may be unfamiliar with the name Ben Westbeech, what does the name (Ben Westbeech) signify?
A) It's my real name and also my artist name for me as a singer, producer and DJ, but I also produce and DJ under the Breach moniker too.

Q) I tried to describe you to my mate, Draper, the other day and I LITERALLY couldn't. You ended up sounding like a mad jukebox. Do you consciously vary your output so that people like me can't pigeon-hole you?

A) HA... No it's not intentional at all, I just make a lot of different music and styles and always will. I like the fact that you can't pigeonhole me though. That feels nice. It's a place where I feel comfortable.

Q) In The Park by SECT featuring you was my favourite electronic record of 2011, and I’m not just saying that. It really was. When you provided the vocals did you actually get to meet Tanner Ross? If so, what was he like and did you get his autograph?
A) Hahahahaha. I recorded those vocals in my studio in Brick lane. Soul Clap and Wolf and Lamb had been over doing a show and Ghadi and Zev used my studio for a day, and then Charlie and Eli popped by and heard my voice and dropped the track off. It was sitting on my hard drive for a couple of months and then I found it and recorded it in about an hour. It was just a demo in my eyes but they just went with it and that was that! I didn't meet Tanner so I don't have any stories about him sorry. I've heard he's a great engineer though and mixes a lot of people's music.




Q) Was establishing yourself as a professional artist a tiresome uphill struggle or surprisingly easy?
A) Well it was a struggle for five years for sure and still is! I was on the dole in Bristol and trying to break through somehow. And then my break came through my friend Becky playing Peterson a song of mine in a Saab 900 at a festival in 2005, I think. And then from there it was a start! But it is and always has been hard work. Increasingly so in these times for musicians and producers. Even back then it seemed easier! It's all about pushing forward and keeping on top of all aspects of your career and building and growing as an individual. 

Q) What is more fulfilling to you, in a spiritual sense; singing, DJing or producing?
A) I guess singing and producing together is where it's at for me. There is nothing more fulfilling than making a record that just makes the hairs stand up on end. I am constantly dancing round my studio and get super excited about music. But I also LOVE hearing other peoples tunes and have the same reaction and excitement about playing them out. I love all aspects of it really.

Q) Is that DJ Cra$y story true?
A) Yes. Totally. My heart goes out to him and his family.




Q) Live drums or drumming machines?
A) I like both, but in studio I guess I like drum machines. 808's are my FAVE but on stage it's got to be live. My drummer uses drum triggers on his drums though so we kind of get a mix of both...although I don't actually use actual drum machines, I use a lot of samples from them. I'm more into synths I guess.

Q) My mate, Robbo, can listen to music at work provided he only uses one headphone. Which is the best headphone for listening to your songs – left or right?
A) Hahahahhaa. That is classic. What kind of a company says that? Erm, I'd say left as my listening ear is my left.

Q) Cilla Black?
A) She's white...




Q) Do you have any advice for any young people looking to break into the music industry?
A) Yes. Be yourself and don't take no shit from no one. YOU HAVE THE POWER!!!!!!

Q) Rimming or rimmed?
A) Fisted.

Q) Have you ever had the opportunity to perform at Oceana in Bristol? If so, do you have any anecdotes?
A) Fuckin' hell. No. I never even went in there when I lived in Bristol. It's full of the sort of peeps that i try and stay away from on a night out. Saying that though, I know a few people who went there. There was a whole heap of fighting going on down that strip; we used to nickname Napa! My friends used to run E-Shed on that strip. That was our spot for years.

Q) Can you offer any explanation or theory on why Wolf and Lamb from Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap are crying on the cover of their DJ Kicks compilation?
A) They are not actual tears. It's make up...




Q) What are your plans for 2012?
A) I am writing a next Ben Westbeech album and producing as Breach. Also performing and gigging a lot. I am looking forward to this year A LOT...

Q) Is Claude VonStroke as jolly as he looks?
A) Yep. He's definitely one of the good guys. I just went to San Fransisco to work with the db crew and the night I got there we got to see Dave Chappelle do a stand up show. I couldn't believe it. There was a lot of jolliness and smiling going on in there.




Q) There's More To Life Than This was one of the few CDs I actually paid for last year (PROOF). How did it feel to be making a record for Strictly Rhythm - one of the few remaining legendary labels - and was having so many different producers working on it something you felt comfortable with? For the record, I think 'TMTLTT' is surprisingly coherent; it is one of the rare instances where too many cooks/producers most certainly did not spoil the broth/album.
A) Ah, thank you so much. That's really nice to hear. It was great to make a record on a label that a lot of classic music has come out on, and I was honoured to have the opportunity. It was quite hard making the record coherent and I spent a lot of time mixing down all of the tunes with Tony Economides, so that the album sounded like that. It was a bit all over the shop to start with. That was definitely the biggest challenge of the record.




I have also just done a 'Strictly' classics mix for those that don't know the history of the label. That will be available on my Facebook fan page really soon...


Q) What is your favourite American sitcom of the last 20 years?
A) I love Arrested Development, I think David Cross is a great writer, but of the last 20 years?! Man...probably The Flintstones.

Q) Who do you tip for great things in 2012?
A) Redlight, Midland, Koreless, Mickey the Pearce, TEED and Disclosure are all exciting me at the mo.



Q) When and where will you next be performing, and where can readers of this blog buy tickets?
A) See my website for all that info...

THIS IS ANOTHER LINK TO BEN'S WEBSITE

What a very nice man. Please join me in supporting Ben through all of his future endeavours.

Forthcoming is a RED HOT interview with Gavin Herlihy and WRDM12. In WRDM12 I’ll be examining things in dance music, looking at other aspects of it whilst raising your awareness on stuff you may not have any knowledge of at all.

In the mean time look at my Tweets on Twitter by ringing this number: @tonkawrdm or email me some sex talk/hard core sex pics on THIS address: tonkawrdm@gmail.com.

If you have any dance floor fantasies you want to talk about get in touch. Email me with a full role-play scenario on any of the following subjects: sex with DJs behind the decks, sex with someone you just met on the dance floor, sex with the promoter in the club’s office or sex orgies back at your flat when you’re all fucked up on K-Hole crystals.

See you next week, piglets.