By Catalina Briceno
CALGARY – British DJ and producer Ben Westbeech, who goes by the moniker Breach, is much more than his 2013 sexually charged (and insanely hairy) chart topping hit, “Jack.” In addition to being an electronic musician, he’s a classically trained jazz singer and cellist; he also owns the label Naked Naked.
Reminiscing on what sparked his interest to pursue DJing at such a young age, Westbeech attributes record shops for expanding his musical horizon.
“I was not the kind of kid that went to the candy shop to buy sweets, but rather collect records,” he says.
“I started to DJ when I was 12-years-old and that world always meant a lot to me, it was a kind of natural progression for me.”
Westbeech studied music in his formative years, later deciding to drop out during university. Despite leaving school, he continued performing as a singer and at the young age of 24-years-old, he was granted the opportunity to perform alongside former Beatle and musical legend Paul McCartney and Icelandic icon Björk on BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland.
“I was super early into my career. I was pretty nervous, he says, laughing about the experience which a decade ago.
“It was like a surreal 24 hours of your life, where you’re just never going to be ready for [it]. It was cool; Paul said he really liked the structure of my songs,” he says.
Evidently British songstress Adele performed on the show that same night.
“Obviously I haven’t been quite as successful as Adele, but it was pretty dope,” Westbeech says, laughing.
After relentless touring for his debut album, Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life, Westbeech decided to shift his attention, instead pursuing and producing electronic music under the alias Breach. The project signifies “the breach of two styles.” His first track “Fatherless” was unveiled in 2010, and is heavy on bass-driven sounds, meshing techno and dub-step beats.
Three years after “Fatherless,” Westbeech approached DIRTYBIRD, a label spearheaded by Claude VonStroke with the track “Let’s Get Hot.” The track fit seamlessly with Dirtybird’s signature provocative undertones, leading straight into the release of “Jack.” The latter became an instantaneous anthem, soaring to number nine on the UK singles charts, and catapulting him to commercial success.
Although “Jack” helped Breach attain household status, it also presented challenges.
“People only wanted to hear two or three records of me. You have people shouting tunes, people can get quite aggressive.”
Westbeech adds, “Those records didn’t come out of that place, I’ve never made music to make money, [if] it’s not from the heart and I can’t do that.”
He explains, “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed, it’s taken me a while to get out of that box.”
“Musically I’m in a different place, I’m making slightly different Breach records at the moment, but I would not rule out working with Dirtybird again.”
Originating from London, Westbeech has since relocated to Amsterdam, gathering inspiration for his art.
“I’m surrounded by people who I think are at the top of their game. We’ve got a really amazing record stores here like Red Light Records, Rush Hour, and Waxwell. I live within walking distance to three really amazing record shops. So, I’m listening to a wider variety of stuff.”
Disinterested in standing still for long, Westbeech does live shows for Red Light Radio, which can be streamed on his Facebook page. He also works on the program The Wrong Planet, where he plays strictly psychedelic style records and rock. Also watch for new releases from Naked Naked soon, including the next Breach track.
Breach performs at Bass Coast Music and Arts Festival, which runs from July 7 to July 10 (British Columbia). He also performs July 8 at the Hifi Club (Calgary).Bass Coast Music and Arts Festival, Breach, HIFI Club, You Don’t Know “Jack”