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Ben Westbeech You could hear the whistles and the horns and the screaming

Mooie Jongen Studio in Amsterdam’s canal district is easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But that’s where we brought Ben Westbeech and DJ Kon for this episode of WeTalkMusic.

Ben and Kon have been friends and collaborators for a long time and their easy rapport with each other and host Thris Tian led to an entertaining and wide-ranging discussion, which covered everything from Bobby Brown to the UK outdoor rave scene.

WeTalkMusic explores artists' different sides through some unexpected musical selections. Explore the whole series here.

Dubbed “the Boston Disco don”, DJ Kon is revered for both his dedication to crate digging and his versatile skillset as a DJ, producer, writer and b-boy. The purity of his passion for finding and sharing great rare music – exemplified in his and Amir’s On Track and Off Track series for BBE Records – has been lauded by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Soul Clap, and he manages to marry an in-depth knowledge of various genres’ history with a forward-looking creative sensibility.

Ben Westbeech (aka Breach) is a British DJ, producer, vocalist and musician who now lives and works in Amsterdam. A classically trained cellist and pianist, he became hooked on knock-off rave tapes as a teenager and bought his first decks when he was only 12. Ben developed a wide-ranging obsession with various styles and his work takes in hip hop, house and drum and bass. He has worked with an extraordinary array of talent, from DJ Marky and Redlight to Kelis and Gilles Peterson, and combines his collaborative instincts with making his own stuff and running his own record label.

Here are a few key quotes from our guests gleaned from the fourth episode…

Kon on his mother’s musical tastes…

I got into hip hop quite early. My mother was the one who turned me onto Grandmaster Flash. She went to see Flash in 81 when The Message came out and that was her jam. She had a huge musical influence on me as a child.

Kon on Run–D.M.C….

Sucker MC’s and Run–D.M.C. pretty much changed my life. They broke the rules…There is no baseline, there is no hook, when you really think about it, it’s just so raw. It’s just lyrics over a beat…and I memorized those lyrics – the delivery,the cadence the flow, everything about those lyrics said cool to me.

Kon on how what his peers have moved onto…

It’s funny, I notice that a lot of guys like myself who were very much into sample-based hip hop music when it was really still good, where did we end up? Making house/disco. It’s sample-based still and I feel like that’s where you can get away with a lot of things… and not have to worry about a rapper or an image.

Ben on how he picks his holidays…

I just usually choose San Francisco, partly because of Groove Merchant, that record store… It’s super, super well-curated…so I just go to Toronado and get a few beers, and then go to the record store and go back… I end up spending more and more money the more drunk I get.

Ben on making sure records sound good anywhere…

When I was working with DJ Die in Bristol, all those years ago, we used to do car tests. We used to mix a tune down and take it for a ride. It would be like 8 in the morning; we’d been working all night and Die would be like, “We gotta do a car test.” So we’d get in his Volkswagen…

Ben on his first rave tapes…

You could hear the whistles and the horns and the screaming and it was like this mysterious world. I was too young to know what was going on. I was mesmerized by it.

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