Friday 6 December 2013

MTV IGGY: Breach: Breaking The Rules Of Dance Music Since Forever

By Joseph 'JP' Patterson

"I’ve been in my apartment in Amsterdam doing interviews all day," says Hertfordshire-born, Bristol-raised Breach, when asked what he’d been up to before our conversation. "I love it, though," he adds, and so he should. With Breach’s jump-in-the-air, bass-heavy house productions having such a wide reach this year, in both the underground and the mainstream, it comes as no surprise that all the top-tier music publications want a piece of him for their one-to-watch columns. But this 32-year-old is certainly no newcomer.

Breach had been operating under his real name, Ben Westbeech, in the electronic music field as a singer for quite a number of years before becoming known as the super-producer he is today. Yes, Jack may have been his first big mainstream hit, deservedly snatching the No. 9 spot on the UK singles chart this past summer, but the classically-trained vocalist, cellist, and pianist has actively released music since 2006; dropping two vocal-led LPs in the form of 2007’s These Are The Best Years Of Your Life (Brownswood Recordings) and 2011’s There’s More To Life Than This (Strictly Rhythm), as well as doing a whole host of songwriting, feature, and remix work.

Currently based in Amsterdam, Westbeech now has his sights set on conquering the techno arena using the Breach alias. But before he sets off to mark the next spot, there’s a new soulful, ‘90s house-inspired cut (Everything You Never Had) and 16-track DJ-Kicks compilation that the world needs to hear. The musician lets MTV IGGY into his world.

In the beginning, there was Gilles Peterson: "Gilles Peterson heard a record of mine, So Good Today, in the back of a SAAB 900 at a festival one year. Initially, I gave the CD to my friend, who said he had a mate he could play it to. I didn’t ever think it was going to be Gilles Peterson! [Laughs] I got a phone call the next day saying he wanted to sign the single and get me down to London to talk about an album. Gilles is someone I really looked up to. He’s made so many records come into the light, and definitely helped shape the music scene in England, so, to be signed by him was like, 'Fuck me! This could be a great look.'"

Bristol helped shape his musical identity: "Bristol was the big one. I don’t think it ever leaves you once you’ve made music there; it just kinda follows you around [laughs]. Bristol is where I cut my teeth on production, and listening to the soundsystem of The Wild Bunch and Portishead had a big impact on me as a producer. Dubstep was big in Bristol, too. Still is, to some degree, but I never made any – it just never caught my ear that much. I’m good friends with all the dubstep crew, though. I used to go to FWD>> and listen dubstep and it was amazing to hear but I never got into it as a producer because, at that point, I was making house music. I loved all the DMZ stuff, too, before it got a bit noisy."

The creative process: "I’ll probably start with the beat, get some synths going, and just see what works. Anything can spark it off, be it a vocal, synth line, melody, a riff – anything! You just have to go in there and work it, basically."

Jack: "To have Jack peak at No. 9 in the UK singles chart was incredible. I never thought it would be as big as this. I made it as a B-Side and thought it would just be some underground dance tune, but it got licensed by Atlantic and here we are at this position now. It’s been an insane year."

2013’s house music explosion. A blessing or a curse? "I’m making more techno music now, myself. I’m going in the deeper, darker direction. It’s a dangerous period for house because since Jack got licensed, I’ve seen a lot of re-licensing. I hear of things getting re-licensed and think, 'Fuck me!' Storm Queen’s Look Right Through, which is like a three-year-old tune, had it more recently. With tracks going A-List or whatever now, all the major labels are scrapping around for them. It’s cool but it’s sad as well, cos it’s maybe the beginning of the end. I guess we’ll just have to see how things pan out."

Everything You Never Had x Andreya Triana: "It’s like a breaking dawn record on the groove, like a '90s house record I heard when I was 14 years old. That, to me, was raving and I wanted to recreate something like that – that feeling of just losing it on the dancefloor – with Everything You Never Had. If some kids get that feeling now, my job’s done. If it influences someone, that’s wicked too. The whole tune actually started as a remix for one of Andreya’s tunes, but there was a lot of heat on the record all of a sudden and Atlantic licensed it. We had to get her over to the UK to record the vocals again, and then we just played around with it a bit and made a new song. It’s been an interesting and cool way of making music."

The future of Naked Naked, the label: "I’ve just signed this new kid, Lorca, to my Naked Naked record label. He’s from Brighton and he’s super dope! I’m moving the label in a more melodic route now. It’s what I’m calling 'emo house.' It’s still deep and dark, but with more of an emotional movement. For me, it’s about moving people with music."

Next >>>: "My DJ-Kicks compilation is out right now, and I’m currently working on an EP for Aus Music, as well as a couple of remixes before the year’s out. I’m doing a load of gigs in December, too, with a lot of the dates being in Australia. I’m super ready for 2014!"

This also appeared over at MTV IGGY: H E R E