IT'S all about the life aquatic for Charles Webster. The deeper-than-deep house producer, known for classic albums 'Born on the 24th of July' and 'All Systems Gone' (as Presence), has been a constant source of dancefloor bombs and chilled epics alike.
Originally from Sheffield, Webster is revered by both house originators and young upstarts, and with his new three-CD mix compilation 'Defected Presents Charles Webster' - out now - he's embarked on a voyage into what makes him tick, from house to folk, through jazz and electronica.
We caught him in our web to talk singers, disco and his new comp...
You get props from a lot of house originators like Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes and Kenny Dixon Junior. Why do they gravitate to your music?
"It's not particularly fashionable, but it's honest music. It's from the heart; the definition of soul music is that it has your soul in it. I only make music because I want to and people can hear that."
You've worked successfully with vocalists many times, from Shara Nelson to Tracey Thorn and Robert Owens. Why are your productions so well suited to vocal tracks?
"I'm very sympathetic to vocals, they're my favourite instrument. It may sound pretentious to say that, but there's no instrument that's been made or can be made that can compare to its expressive qualities. I just love it. The music is secondary to the voice."
If you could work with any vocalist, living or dead, who would it be?
"Everyone always says Marvin Gaye, but definitely him and Michael Jackson. Having said that, I do tend to favour female vocalists, I love the female voice, but there are so many great singers."
What kind of vibe did you want to create with your new compilation?
"It's all fairly subtle and mellow. The first CD is still clubby, but if you're a techno fan then it would be chillout. It's a musical, emotional journey. CD two is a more back-to-mine style disc, it's a load of my favourite records. It's just a nice mood."
Disco is getting a lot of mainstream press now, is it a style you'd like to explore more?
"As a little kid I used to go out dancing with my big sister to disco. It's a major part of my musical interests. It's amazing that a few years ago it was a dirty word and now it's the coolest thing on earth, but that's just the way things go. I've always done disco but it doesn't directly sound like it."
What else have you got coming up?
"Loads of remixes and some stuff on my label, Miso Records. I do a project called Version, which is me and Martin from Atjazz, and we've got our first single coming up called 'Brighter Side'. I'm also working on some new stuff with Shara Nelson."