Get To Know: Westend
From: New York City, NY
For Fans Of: Shiba San, Steve Darko, Dustycloud
Three Tunes: ‘Excuses’, ‘Party Time’, Louis The Child ‘Breaking News (Westend Remix)’
Westend released his ‘CLUBBLE’ EP in early 2019 as a serious statement of intent, and it’s safe to assume there will be some solid momentum behind this native New Yorker in the months to come. In weaving his quirky, bold personality into rollicking tech-house grooves, he's working on a sonic signature of his own. “What people describe as quirkiness is just the product of lots of experimentation in the studio,” Westend says, “trying to incorporate new sounds into a genre or building energy in a novel manner. There are no rules that can’t be broken when I go to write a track.” He also sees the high-energy sound of ‘CLUBBLE’ as a blueprint of things to come - with releases on US house labels Dirtybird, Audiophile XXL, Club Sweat and Country Club Disco already in the bag - and there's even a nod to the ’00s electro scene in his developing sound, drawing from Justice and MSTRKRFT as much as from Claude VonStroke.
“Those guys wrote the bangers of their era [and] they still make amazing music,” he says. “The biggest takeaways for me are their ability to create tension and energy, and the timelessness of the music. Those are the things that I look to the most when trying to make a record.” It was the ’00s bloghouse movement that lit the fire inside Westend, and his studies in electronic music composition fanned the flames. After graduating from his studies at Duke University in North Carolina, he returned to NYC and dove headfirst into DJing.
“I worked at a tech company for two years, producing at night and playing shows on the weekend. This is when I started the Westend name and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he remembers. “NYC brings in so many amazing artists of all genres to a wide variety of spaces. Brooklyn has become such a capital of underground electronic music over the last five years. It’s hard not to get inspired while living here.”
As far as his relation to the more commercial side of the North American house scene at the moment, Westend feels deeply connected to it; while at the same time not wanting to be defined by it. “I think these labels provide a very accessible entry point into house and techno. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and you don’t have to know anything about it to have a great time listening and dancing to it,” he says. I think my music plays a similar role. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as an artist to any one genre, fanbase or history.”
There are plenty of new Westend productions on the horizon. “I’ve got a VIP of ‘Party Time’ that I’ll be releasing soon that I’ve gotten a lot of questions about, and my remix for Lauv and Troye Sivan is set to come out soon, so stay tuned for that.”
WORDS: ANGUS THOMAS PATERSON
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