Ashley Beedle Q&A

ashleyHow’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 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) and further releases from Crazy Godz (me and Darren Morris) and a joint venture with Earl Zinger called ‘Ghostdancers’ !! In 2016, the current release, ‘Tell Me’ by Waterson, has taken off and all mixes are being hammered worldwide .  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…..

ashley2 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.



Tummy Touch Records

Gramme’s long overdue but most welcome debut album sounds more than exciting in 2013 than it could have done at any time in the past. Because just like everything else takes its cues from historical influences which in this case range from the genius of ESG to Liquid Liquid etc – i.e. Gramme live in inspired company! But moving beyond easy comparisons, and from their initial EP released way back in 1999, this collection of spiky Punk-Funk and interesting soundscapes is also an edgy blend of razor sharp vocals and hot danceable grooves. Try the heavy percussion of Rough News or indeed the punchy Acid of Laugh Out Loud for potential starters. However the Factory referencing rhythms exist far outside of Manchester’s winter grey and are broadcast via the colourful imagination of Tim “Love” Lee’s NYC record label Tummy Touch. Check the videos for the very excellent ‘Girls Talk’ & ‘Too High’ below and get animated.

release: February 18



BPMs Vol.1

Initially only released in 2011 through his website GFI Music this collection of smoky grooves now gets a full vinyl outing. Nail aka Neil “Nail” Tolliday is perhaps best known as one half of Bent, however this evocative blend of all and sundry feels just as delightfully imaginative as much as it does tough and raw-edged. Kicking off is the superb Bad Drainage with its stunning chords and liquid bassline proving that this is music to get lost in and/ or move too if you so desire. Never falling easily into any one category, which is certainly part of the enviable charm, this hints at funk on the closing Blueberry Pill while journeying through the gritty Dub of Fucked Off along the way. Beats Per Minute….

release: February 11


SDR025Junior Gee
Don’t Do That EP
Something Different Records

Keeping up the pressure from Something Different is Junior Gee’s latest title. Put simply Don’t Do That is devastating heavy-duty House music that again sees the label move in a more exciting direction. Powered by a hypnotic drum loop and insistent hi-hats this comprises of a peculiar amalgamation of sounds that sit somewhere between clocks and piano, but which result in this notably original production. Stop and Spin delivers yet more of those pounding grooves, leaving the more topical This Society to play out with jazzy snares, dark messages and strange notation. Excellent.

release: March 11


GD30E.pdfTom Budden & Forrest
Lady Is Trouble EP

It’s always refreshing to hear melody adding colour to music and with the first release of the new year from Audiojack’s Gruuv imprint that’s exactly what happens. Emotive, breathy vocals adorn the original version of this in style as bass punctuated rhythms succeed in giving it all a frisky edge. Remixes come from Chris James aka Coat Of Arms who treats the voice to a sizzling variety of pulsating electro beats and deep keys. Plus from X-Press 2 whose version applies tribal flavour to the drums backed up by weird and wonderful synths creating a defining edge. Next, is Tom Budden’s own production Falling which sees chiming basslines offset by funky handclaps that you just know are going to sound absolutely huge on the right sound system. OOFT! supply the remix with classic Chicago/ Detroit influences sounding every bit as big as that suggests.

release: March 4


Tony Barbato

Italian producer / DJ Tony Barbato sets the clock back to 1961 to relay his message about war and cash, which is no doubt a timely one from then to now. Although, perhaps the breezy combination of melody and music, albeit with a taught funky backing, lend themselves better to sunshine listening rather than such serious subject matter. Jazzanova/ Sonar Kollekitv stalwart Alex Barck then rearranges the sentiments to give the vocal more depth of feeling while adding a contemporary twist to the production via tense percussion and moody synths . Last but certainly not least is Patrick Podage’s excellent remix with its deliciously in-vogue bassline coupled with undulating electronics that award the edgy selection of treated words a heavy impact.

release: March 12




X-Press 2
‘The House Of Xpress 2’
Skint Records

If the title: The House Of… transports you back to New York in the early nineties then the music plays every bit for 2012. I like/ love this album in the same way I do the new Azari & III and for the very same reasons too – you can spot the influences and reference points yet relish in just how contemporary and fabulous it all is – and it certainly doesn’t sound like a revival.  From the big room beats of Opulence to Roland Clark featured on Million Miles Away the productions sizzle with ideas and moods with a series of collaborations that pull in the calibre of Timo Garcia to Tim Deluxe: who’s Lost the Feelin’ takes tension to an impressive extreme. Other highlights are undoubtedly the opening This Is War with Doll – not least of all because of the ecstasy inducing E2-E4 sequence – and the extra squelchy funk of Dark Matar. In ways this album could have been recorded at anytime over the past couple of decades but the fact that it feels this exciting says all that needs saying. 8

release: 23 Jan 2012

listen to album minimix


James Mile
‘Ease The Pain’
Kaluki Musik

More records like this one and someone will be suggesting the return of House Music’s golden era.  The strongest release on Kaluki so far – could be, if that is you like moody European electronics crossed with Chicago via Detroit (ish). What’s more Italian producer has added a totally succinct vocal refrain giving the track all the soul required against the backdrop of sinister synths and euro-beat references. The first remix is from Luca Bear and Romano Alfieri who add yet more haunting qualities coupled with a fierce bassline, the final from Marco Effe is simply outstanding as it deepens the mood and draws you into a life all of its own. 9

release: 17 Jan 2012


‘The Dogz Family EP’
Madhouse Records

Italy’s magical combination of Dj/ producers Giuseppe, Andrea and Vins deliver four equally dazzling cuts for Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse. Dogzmatic starts with a high octane sequence of hypnotic synth and piano rushing headlong into oblivion, or there abouts. The excellent Euphoria follows with one of those irresistiblly in-vogue organ led basslines played off crunchy handclaps and intense atmospherics. New Era gets moodier with yet more organ and drum machines invoking the past on this cool number, leaving the stunning Powerplant Powered feeling heavenly with its hands-in-air marimba vibes shouting sunshine all the way…
Release: 16 January 2012 on Beatport. General from 30 Jan.


‘I Really Do Believe’
(Jet Project Remix)
Extended Play

Initially released last October Chris Duckenfield’s effervescent combination of legend Etta James and an assortment of Disco beats and House attitude (see killer bassline) now gets the Jet Project treatment – not forgetting the heavy duty Chicago Damn version which accompanied the original of course. Their Believe In Dub version again hits the spot with carefully crafted bass notes and shuffling rhythms offset against delays’ galore and a smart arrangement of sounds set to stun. Head-nodding, soulful and to the point. 8

release: 16 Jan 2012 


Inspiration: Manuel Göttsching ‘E2-E4’ (1984)




X-Press 2 interview


Your new album: The House Of X-Press 2 features many collaborations. Who have you most enjoyed working with and why?

I don’t think it would be fair to favour any one person over the others. We’ve loved working with every single one of them for different reasons. Each one of our collaborators have been totally into their respective project and everyone has given 150%.

How do you approach production, any favourite pieces of equipment/ software?

To be honest we’ve never been trained in the tech side of things although Rocky is in the middle of an Ableton course as we speak (only 20 years late!!) We’ve always looked to our huge record collections for our inspiration over the years and continue to do so today. When we’re in the studio, pretty much everything we do now is worked on in Ableton, hence the reason for Rocky’s course.

Tell us about how your style of Dj’ing – what do you like to use to play on etc?

Nowadays we just use CDJs, playing only CDs although we have started using the newer CDJs which enable you to play via a USB stick. It’s certainly a long way away from lugging 2 heavy record boxes all over the gaff.

How would you say the Dance Music scene has evolved since you first started out – what do you see as the positives and negatives?

I think the whole access ability thing has changed it all so much over the years. When we started going out there were no dance music magazines or websites to tell you what was going on. You had to go out and find stuff for yourself. This could also be viewed as a positive I suppose but I still feel that nothing tell has a chance to grow organically any more. As soon as something happens, the whole world knows about it within seconds.

What are you listening to at home right now?

The BBC London News.

‘The House Of X-press-2’ is released: 23 Jan 2012