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Ben Westbeech Interview

When Ben Westbeech first bust onto the scene with his album 'Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life' through Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings in 2006, we were little prepared for his soul-soaked, golden larynx and predilection for tough drum & bass beats.

But fast forward to 2008, and he's a permanent fixture on our soundsystems.

Nominated for DJmag's Best of British Album of the Year in 2007, he's just performed a star turn on Kraak and Smaak's killer cut 'Squeeze Me', and is currently preparing a new record with a host of star producers.

Westbeech will also guest at the Bulleit Bourbon Originals event @ The Arches, Glasgow on Friday 7th November. The live event, which also features Jazzie B of Soul II Soul and pioneering soul legend Martha High, will track the inspirational journey of soul and funk and demonstrate how much of the music we listen to today is inspired by original pioneering musical genres. We snagged the young soul sensation Westbeech to learn more…

What's new in the world of Ben Westbeech?

"At the moment I'm DJing a lot the world over, I just got back from a really good gig in Poland, and I'm off to Istanbul tonight to play for the Worldwide Festival. I'm also working on a new album at the moment, which is going really well. Just done a few new collaborations, including one with Jazzanova, and that's been chosen as the main single off their album. I shot the video with them in Berlin last week, and the next tune I'm doing is called 'I Can See'."

Your album 'Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life' was a well-received mix of soul, hip hop and drum & bass, are you working on a follow up?

"The new one is sounding a bit more electronic, it's soul, punk, house, well, there's not a huge amount of house on there. There's more live stuff. Not much jungle at the moment. I don't know how to describe it! It's going to be an eclectic one like the first but a bit harder, so we can play it live and get more of a reaction, so it's gonna be more centred around that."

You mentioned some more housey flavours on there – this makes sense, as Wahoo's remix of your track 'Hang Around' worked incredibly well...

"There's definitely a couple of house bits on there, I've been working with a few people recently."

You collaborated with (Dutch funk trio) Kraak and Smaak for 'Squeeze Me' – how did that come about?

"It was just a matter of them getting in touch with my management and asking if I'd do a tune with them, and I was into the beat so I said I'd do it."

What other collaborations have you got on the horizon?

"I've done something for Marky's new album, which should be quite interesting, I've done stuff with Benga and Rusko. "I've always been into dubstep, I've always thought it was an interesting style of music, and I think Benga is going to do some quite soulful stuff, and then I'm going to do some more leery stuff with Rusko. He's involved in producing a bit of my album as well, he's doing a few tracks. There's Clipse under his new alias Red Light, but it's not jungle. Also a guy called Poet Name Life. There's a few more people I'm working with too, I'm choosing my beats at the moment but those are the ones that are dead set. "

If there was anyone out there you could work with, and time and money were no object, who would it be?

"I think the Neptunes, Pharrell, the music they make is amazing, those guys would be the ones, y'know."