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Ben Westbeech interview

We catch up with DJ/singer/producer at Red Bull Music Academy Revolution in Sounds

The recent Red Bull Music Academy Revolution in Sounds event on the London Eye was a real spectacle to behold as 30 performers played in the 30 pods to a handful of delighted party goers. Ben Westbeech was one of those who performed so we asked him what it was like to play high up in the skies…

How was that for you?

“The RBMA Revolution in Sound party was such an amazing show and it was amazing to be a part of. I played a solo live show in there. I sang and played tunes and bought the party to the pod! It's such a unique experience to be able to play in the London eye. It's so intimate and the people in my pod were all lovely. I'm still buzzing from it! The pod was vibing!”

How did you get involved with Red Bull Music Academy?

“Red Bull have been really helpful over the last year and I have been rehearsing my band at the studios. They provide so much great support for musicians. They are an inspiring company to work with and get help from.”

How would you describe yourself, a DJ? Producer? Artist? Singer?

“I am all of them! I sing as Ben Westbeech and produce under the name Breach. I have just released my second album as a singer entitled ‘There's More to Life Than This' on Strictly Rhythm. I produce myself and for other people too and also collaborate with lots of other producers and singers. I am playing a lot of shows at the moment, DJing as Ben Westbeech, playing with the live band and doing solo live gigs. I'm also doing a bit more DJing as Breach too which is really great. This summer was amazing and I am really looking forward to next year.”

What is your set up for you live shows/gigs?

“I have a solo live show in which I use Ableton and an APC and play a lot of my own songs and other peoples music, it is a more club based show. I have been doing this for about a year now. I also perform with a five piece band which comprises of bass, drums, keys, samples and me. We don't use a backing track to play which is rare these days! It is a lot of fun playing with the band and the time and energy we put into rehearsing is starting to pay off. As a DJ I play deep jacking house, with an emphasis on bass too. I love DJing and have been DJing since I was 12. It is and will always be a massive part of what I do. I was a DJ before I was a singer.”

What do you prefer to do then, DJ or play live?

“I get asked that one a lot and I never know the answer. I think I like it all equally. It’s funny. As a DJ you kind of have something to hide behind which is nice sometimes but as a singer it feels like a lot more weight on your shoulders. There is not much between you and the crowd. I get a buzz out of any performing though, whether it's DJing or singing with the band.”

You’ve just released your new album, what were your influences when putting it together?

“I worked with a lot of different house producers on the record including Motor city Drum Ensemble, Henrik Schwartz, George Levin, Soul Clap, Rasmus Faber, Chocolate Puma and Midland. It started out as a house album then turned into something more house inspired than straight up house. It took a year to make and I travelled the world to make the record. I made quite a bit of it in Berlin, which was nice as I love that city and the vibe there. I went to Bar 25 with Soul Clap and Gadi Mizari before recording with George Levin. That probably wasn't the best idea at the time but hey, we had a blinder! Sweden was nice with Rasmus Faber, although a bit cold, and obviously Amsterdam was amazing with Chocolate Puma. I really enjoyed working with a lot of different producers although it was a hard record to make sound cohesive. I will be producing my next record myself I think.”

What is Breach all about?

“I have been making music as Breach for about a year and a half now. It is house music with a lot of energy and edge. My DJ shows as Breach takes people on a journey. I get deep but keep the energy up. I released ‘Fatherless’ on PTN and have future releases coming out on Pets Recordings next year. I am really excited about this project and the future of this guise. I am working with Eats Everything and I am setting up a label with him to release our own tunes as well as our friend’s music. That is something I am really excited about. I feel like together we have a sound to go somewhere with and it was great to meet someone who understands me musically. We are also releasing on the same labels so it made a lot of sense.”

So next year will be another busy year for Ben Westbeech?

“Yes I am working with so many producers on lots of different projects. With peeps like Catz ‘N Dogz, Eats Everything, Redlight, Lee Foss, Justin Martin and Riva Starr. There’s lots of music being made at the moment and next year looking like its going to be amazing!"

Listen to Ben's show from Red Bull Music Academy Revolution in Sounds here.

Words: Mick Wilson