How’s life beside the sea in Ramsgate? What music provides the most apt soundtrack on a blue-sky day (or night)?
Life beside the sea is tranquil and fantastic. I’m surrounded by like minded musical types who are also enjoying the benefits of living by the sea. Neighbours include Adamski, Congo Natty, Adrian Sherwood, Taz, Bam from the Jungle Brothers, Clem Bushay to name but a few.
My soundtrack at the moment is all the music that I’m working on for my label, Back To The World https://soundcloud.com/back-to-the-world plus my every expanding reggae collection. My most recent purchase was Owen Gray’s ‘Free Up Jah Jah Children’
You started your own label: Back To The World Records in 2014. How did you find that process and how is the label going in 2016?
It was quite simple really – it all started in Adamski’s kitchen. My partner, Jo, chose the name (from a tattoo on my arm!) and Richard Epps created the label artwork from a wonky sketch. Things snowballed from there with the first release from Fleas on Skis (Adamski) https://soundcloud.com/back-to-the-world/fleas-on-skis-happyness-snippet-96kbps and further releases from Crazy Godz (me and Darren Morris) https://soundcloud.com/back-to-the-world/crazy-godz-dynamic and a joint venture with Earl Zinger called ‘Ghostdancers’ https://soundcloud.com/ashley-beedle/earl-zinger-x-ashley-beedle-ghostdancers-ashley-beedles-cock-happy-vocal-remix !! In 2016, the current release, ‘Tell Me’ by Waterson, has taken off and all mixes are being hammered worldwide https://soundcloud.com/back-to-the-world/waterson-tell-me-kda-club-vocal . Big tings are happening. Then I’m working on Waterson’s next EP and LP with some remixers including Black Science Orchestra (yes, we’ve reformed), the incredible ‘Boulevardd’ EP from Serbian DJ/producer Igor Jadranin plus my own album ‘Africanz on Marz’. This has been worked on in conjunction with Darren Morris, my musical partner, and Kurt Wagner from Lambchop and Cosmo from Classic Album Sundays on narration duties. So, busy and musically fruitful.
The latest release is the infectious ‘Tell Me’ by Waterson, which also features remixes by yourself. Can you talk us through how you approached the remix?
I wanted to achieve a classic Frankie Knuckles sound which I felt leant itself to Waterson’s vocal. I always start from the drums upwards when I do a mix and then Darren Morris adds the bass and keyboards. The process for this doesn’t take too long but it’s the fine tuning of the mix which is where we take the most care and apply the most love.
Do you have a favourite instrument and or piece of hardware that you like to use in production, and why?
I like to use ‘Maschine’ because for me, this is an update on the MPC drum program. Also, live ‘shakers’, handclaps and Darren’s extensive and beautiful keyboard skills. You can never have enough Rhodes…..
Do you think Dance Music is in a healthy place in 2016 in terms of clubs, festivals (overground/ underground) and the digital world?
Dance music is a very broad spectrum so I’ll narrow it down to House music. With producer/DJs like LayFar, Martin Atjazz, Disclosure, Claptone, Moon Boots, Kenny Dope, KDA, Detroit Swindle – it’s in a pretty healthy state. Festivals? Plenty of them that cater for all tastes seem to be springing up all over the place plus the established ones like Electric Elephant, Festival #6, Latitude etc. Night clubs/venues – globally, things seem to be on the up. At any of the venues that I’ve played, the crowd always seems informed and into the tunes – sometimes more ahead of the game than the DJs 😉
Historically, was House the last great youth movement that will happen in the UK – does it matter?
Every generation has their youth movement – Mods with Soul and Ska, hippies with Prog and Psyche, Northern Soul, Soulboy Tribes, Punk, New Romantics, Hip Hop…..House was massive and made a deep impact on our culture, not just here but worldwide. But, those callous youths have grown up and their grandchildren are listening to Grime and Trap – HUGE scene. Does it matter – not really – just listen to the music…..
What plans do you have for the label?
More collaborations with remixers, finding new DJ/producers as well as showcasing established artists. Licensing tracks for comps and synching music for films.
Where can people hear you DJ in the coming months?
Best thing to do is to follow me on Twitter @theashleybeedle. I update the account daily with any info on gigs and latest releases from Back To The World and anything that interests me.