The X-Press 2 member gives us the word before the final Stylus
Ashley Beedle is the multi-talented DJ, producer and remixer behind 15 years worth of deep British house music that has fused influences as wide ranging as disco, jazz, soul and techno and he was one of the leading lights of the legendary Junior Boys Own label’s release schedule. Along with Rocky and Diesel, he is a member of X-Press 2 whose disco-techno cuts pioneered a fresh sound that was years ahead of its time and he has also produced with more collaborators under the names Black Science Orchestra and Ballistic Brothers. Ashley talked with MAD before his guest appearance for Stylus at One Central Street
Ashley’s most recent promo single in March was 'Dance and Shake Your Tambourine/Party Line', a track put out under his own name, rather than one of his many pseudonyms such as The London Heavy Disco Revue. So does this increased use of his own name represent a break away from being a part of a production team? “I love working within a team but will continue putting out solo stuff under my own name, if there is still a music industry when I get round to it, ha ha!” So with that in mind, what’s on the horizon? It looks as though he’s so busy with group projects that his solo work is having to wait its turn. “There is a new X-Press 2 single we have just finished with Afrika Bambaata on vocals. I also have a Ralph and Beedle (Krautrock/Disco project) single and mini LP in the pipeline. There is a special project called Mavis that I have written and produced with my musical partner Darren Morris that I can only describe as baroque soul! Further music will be coming from my Warbox project that has a reggae slant.”
The conversation turns to the many artists that have benefitted from a touch of the Beedle magic. Ashley has remixed a broad range of artists from the Rolling Stones to Quentin Harris and from Blaze to Just Jack, but is there a story behind how he came to remix James Blunt's '1973'? It doesn't seem to be the most obvious of artists to be offered to him or the most obvious of choices for him to make. Not quite as underground as most of his discography? Seems it was purely because it was “a challenge and I liked the melody. Serious.”
As MAD readers will be aware, Ashley’s the guest at the final Stylus event and it's one of a few nights in Manchester that have recently announced their closure and share a deep and/or soulful style. Could this be a sign as to changing musical trends or are we just unlucky in Manchester? Since Ashley is London-based, he has his own perspective that there is no central deep or soulful scene, just pockets of resistance. London just seems to do its own thing. I must say I have had some of the best times in Manchester over the years.”
Being asked to play at a clubnight's final event, especially for a guest DJ’s first ever visit, is an unusual situation, and the gig will be both a joyous celebration of the club’s history and yet a tragic occasion as we witness its last moments. Not that the Stylus crowd want to put pressure on Ashley, but it's fair to say that they’re hoping that their last shindig will be explosive. We’re hoping that he can throw in a few surprises and can help make the last Stylus a truly memorable one. “I feel under pressure now! Let's just say some hardcore disco classics will be thrown down that night as well as the house music. As it's the last night I feel honoured to be asked to play. I will do my best!”
Ashley Beedle plays at Stylus @ One Central Street on Friday 18th April.
Words: Justin Richards
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