MASSIVE QUESTIONS to JEREMY HEALY

This week's MASSIVE QUESTIONS were answered by an absolute giant of dance. For all sane people who are into dance music, the name Jeremy Healy only conjurers up happy memories. Memories of a time when clubs were super, when DJs were super and when £4000 bottles of champagne, bad behaviour, cocaine and blow jobs were putain de du jour for the average mid-90s DJ. These days our so-called superstar DJs only play in east London warehouses to 300 wankers. Jeremy Healy, I'm guessing, never played to less than 7000 punters per gig between the year 1993 and 1998. Now who's the winner?

Last weekend I followed Jeremy to Heathrow's Terminal 5. I then barked questions at him over a cubicle door whilst he was having a shit. He was kind enough to answer them all, bar one.

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Q) Jeremy Healy is a name that EVERYONE interested in dance music should be aware of. For readers of this blog who don’t know the details, could you let them know how long you’ve been in the industry and what kind of things you’ve achieved.
A) I have been dancin' since I was 12, and that's a mighty long time. I have had an amazing life; spreading joy and happiness through music all over our beautiful planet for nearly 30 years now.

Q) Who were your influences when you first started out?
A) Fred Flintstone, tee hee. Music in the 70s then it had to be Bowie.



Q) Which, if any, of the new generation of DJs/producers are you listening to?
A) I am feelin' Gucci Vump right now.





Q) Is there much that surprises you about dance music/club culture anymore?
A) No, but I just got back from a great club in Bali called Cocoon. Its my new fave.

Q) Would you consider jumping on the band reunion bandwagon and getting Haysi Fantayzee back together?
A) Nope.


Q) Slow and circular insertions or fast and hard, piston-like thrusts?
A)               

Q) Is there a dance music compilation that you will never tire of? Mine is the Jacque Lu Cont FabricLive CD – I just KNOW that it’ll still be listenable when I’m in my 70s.
A) I don't listen to any but I like Jacque Le Stuart so I am gonna check out your recommendation. 


Q) Without talking professionally, what are you plans for 2012? Do you have any nice holidays coming up, any gadgets you have you’re eyes on, fancy cars? Fun stuff.
A) I am really busy, and have just come back from Asian tour so no more hols right now. I am a car perv, so if it all works out well this year I may well swap my 911 for something tastier.

Q) Do you have any advice for the young readers of this blog who are looking to break into dance music?
A) Read Q by Quincy Jones. Its my favourite music autobiography.



Q) Clap or snare?
Take care.

Q) What aspect or highlight of your career are you most proud of – singing, DJing, promoting, producing, remixing, musical directing for fashion houses? If there is anything I’ve missed, please fill me in.
A) Its the next challenge the excites me the most.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Sober right now.


Q) What are you plans for 2012 in a professional sense?
A) To make all the shows; Dior, Galliano, Lamb, Pucci and Victoria Secret the best yet. The new club I am involved in to be a smash hit and enjoy DJing this years great parties.

Q) Curate your fantasy night. Whats it called, what’s the line-up, what’s the venue and is there a dress code?
A) I haven't the time to answer that properly but its a good question.

Q) Anne Diamond?
Frank Bofff.





Q) Does Ibiza still have a magical hold over your soul? I’ve never been, so which Ibizan nightspot would you recommend I hit SHOULD I save enough money to go this year?
A) No it doesn't, and hasn't for quite a few years though I still enjoy my visits. I don't like any of the big clubs anymore, but if you aint been you have to go!!!!!

Q) In its 90s heyday, was Miss Moneypennys as glamorous and debauched as I imagined it to be? As a sixteen year old I was never allowed in DESPITE wearing Farah trousers, a crisp white Soviet shirt and my dad’s shoes. Do you have a favourite Miss Moneypennys anecdote?
A) It was probably as glamorous as Birmingham gets, nice boys, nice scene but nothing's forever.




Q) I want to make enough money from this so that I can stop working in an office with people I don’t like. Could you pull some strings with anybody at Mixmag or DJ Magazine and get me regular paid writing work? Alternatively, I could write for you. I’m on £22,000 per year at the moment so they/you would need to match or better that for me to consider.
A) Now the begging?


Q) Do you have any upcoming gigs or releases? If so, where can readers of this blog buy tickets/copies?
A) Workin' on a track next week with an Indonesian pop star called Rossa, which if it works out shall be released ………


What a nice man and what sensational chat! That was definitely NOT a dreadful interview. That cannot be said by anyone. It was not awful or lazy AT ALL. Jeremy Healy is not only a superstar DJ, he is also a gentleman. Please join me in wishing him all the very best for the future, and support him by only buying Dior and Galliano threads from NOW ON.

I'll be back next week with either WRDM12 or an interview with Gavin Herlihy; he's dragging his fucking feet if truth be told. I'm also approaching lots more people in the industry for interviews so keep your lids peeled.

Follow me on Twitter here: @tonkawrdm

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter by ringing this number: @jeremy_healy


MASSIVE QUESTIONS to BEN WESTBEECH

Ben Westbeech is a singer/songwriter. Ben Westbeech is a DJ. Ben Westbeech is a producer. Ben Westbeech is Lean and he is BrEaCh. Ben Westbeech used to live in Bristol.

He has a snazzy website here: BEN'S WEBSITE

You can follow him on Twitter there: @benwestbeech

I have always been a big fan of Ben Westbeech. I was there from day one, right after hearing his voice in the middle of the W+L v SC DJ Kicks CD. So, I was overcome with JOY when, over the weekend, Ben was kind enough to have me flown over to the recording studio of his Brick Lane mansion for a sit down and a few halves of lager. We sat and chatted for what seemed like hours in the company of his many microphones, mixing desks, flowers and body guards.



THIS is the transcript of our recorded conversation in full:

Q) For readers of this blog who may be unfamiliar with the name Ben Westbeech, what does the name (Ben Westbeech) signify?
A) It's my real name and also my artist name for me as a singer, producer and DJ, but I also produce and DJ under the Breach moniker too.

Q) I tried to describe you to my mate, Draper, the other day and I LITERALLY couldn't. You ended up sounding like a mad jukebox. Do you consciously vary your output so that people like me can't pigeon-hole you?

A) HA... No it's not intentional at all, I just make a lot of different music and styles and always will. I like the fact that you can't pigeonhole me though. That feels nice. It's a place where I feel comfortable.

Q) In The Park by SECT featuring you was my favourite electronic record of 2011, and I’m not just saying that. It really was. When you provided the vocals did you actually get to meet Tanner Ross? If so, what was he like and did you get his autograph?
A) Hahahahaha. I recorded those vocals in my studio in Brick lane. Soul Clap and Wolf and Lamb had been over doing a show and Ghadi and Zev used my studio for a day, and then Charlie and Eli popped by and heard my voice and dropped the track off. It was sitting on my hard drive for a couple of months and then I found it and recorded it in about an hour. It was just a demo in my eyes but they just went with it and that was that! I didn't meet Tanner so I don't have any stories about him sorry. I've heard he's a great engineer though and mixes a lot of people's music.




Q) Was establishing yourself as a professional artist a tiresome uphill struggle or surprisingly easy?
A) Well it was a struggle for five years for sure and still is! I was on the dole in Bristol and trying to break through somehow. And then my break came through my friend Becky playing Peterson a song of mine in a Saab 900 at a festival in 2005, I think. And then from there it was a start! But it is and always has been hard work. Increasingly so in these times for musicians and producers. Even back then it seemed easier! It's all about pushing forward and keeping on top of all aspects of your career and building and growing as an individual. 

Q) What is more fulfilling to you, in a spiritual sense; singing, DJing or producing?
A) I guess singing and producing together is where it's at for me. There is nothing more fulfilling than making a record that just makes the hairs stand up on end. I am constantly dancing round my studio and get super excited about music. But I also LOVE hearing other peoples tunes and have the same reaction and excitement about playing them out. I love all aspects of it really.

Q) Is that DJ Cra$y story true?
A) Yes. Totally. My heart goes out to him and his family.




Q) Live drums or drumming machines?
A) I like both, but in studio I guess I like drum machines. 808's are my FAVE but on stage it's got to be live. My drummer uses drum triggers on his drums though so we kind of get a mix of both...although I don't actually use actual drum machines, I use a lot of samples from them. I'm more into synths I guess.

Q) My mate, Robbo, can listen to music at work provided he only uses one headphone. Which is the best headphone for listening to your songs – left or right?
A) Hahahahhaa. That is classic. What kind of a company says that? Erm, I'd say left as my listening ear is my left.

Q) Cilla Black?
A) She's white...




Q) Do you have any advice for any young people looking to break into the music industry?
A) Yes. Be yourself and don't take no shit from no one. YOU HAVE THE POWER!!!!!!

Q) Rimming or rimmed?
A) Fisted.

Q) Have you ever had the opportunity to perform at Oceana in Bristol? If so, do you have any anecdotes?
A) Fuckin' hell. No. I never even went in there when I lived in Bristol. It's full of the sort of peeps that i try and stay away from on a night out. Saying that though, I know a few people who went there. There was a whole heap of fighting going on down that strip; we used to nickname Napa! My friends used to run E-Shed on that strip. That was our spot for years.

Q) Can you offer any explanation or theory on why Wolf and Lamb from Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap are crying on the cover of their DJ Kicks compilation?
A) They are not actual tears. It's make up...




Q) What are your plans for 2012?
A) I am writing a next Ben Westbeech album and producing as Breach. Also performing and gigging a lot. I am looking forward to this year A LOT...

Q) Is Claude VonStroke as jolly as he looks?
A) Yep. He's definitely one of the good guys. I just went to San Fransisco to work with the db crew and the night I got there we got to see Dave Chappelle do a stand up show. I couldn't believe it. There was a lot of jolliness and smiling going on in there.




Q) There's More To Life Than This was one of the few CDs I actually paid for last year (PROOF). How did it feel to be making a record for Strictly Rhythm - one of the few remaining legendary labels - and was having so many different producers working on it something you felt comfortable with? For the record, I think 'TMTLTT' is surprisingly coherent; it is one of the rare instances where too many cooks/producers most certainly did not spoil the broth/album.
A) Ah, thank you so much. That's really nice to hear. It was great to make a record on a label that a lot of classic music has come out on, and I was honoured to have the opportunity. It was quite hard making the record coherent and I spent a lot of time mixing down all of the tunes with Tony Economides, so that the album sounded like that. It was a bit all over the shop to start with. That was definitely the biggest challenge of the record.




I have also just done a 'Strictly' classics mix for those that don't know the history of the label. That will be available on my Facebook fan page really soon...


Q) What is your favourite American sitcom of the last 20 years?
A) I love Arrested Development, I think David Cross is a great writer, but of the last 20 years?! Man...probably The Flintstones.

Q) Who do you tip for great things in 2012?
A) Redlight, Midland, Koreless, Mickey the Pearce, TEED and Disclosure are all exciting me at the mo.



Q) When and where will you next be performing, and where can readers of this blog buy tickets?
A) See my website for all that info...

THIS IS ANOTHER LINK TO BEN'S WEBSITE

What a very nice man. Please join me in supporting Ben through all of his future endeavours.

Forthcoming is a RED HOT interview with Gavin Herlihy and WRDM12. In WRDM12 I’ll be examining things in dance music, looking at other aspects of it whilst raising your awareness on stuff you may not have any knowledge of at all.

In the mean time look at my Tweets on Twitter by ringing this number: @tonkawrdm or email me some sex talk/hard core sex pics on THIS address: tonkawrdm@gmail.com.

If you have any dance floor fantasies you want to talk about get in touch. Email me with a full role-play scenario on any of the following subjects: sex with DJs behind the decks, sex with someone you just met on the dance floor, sex with the promoter in the club’s office or sex orgies back at your flat when you’re all fucked up on K-Hole crystals.

See you next week, piglets.

WRDM11 part two

How about this new font? Isn't it just divine?

Welcome to this week's weekly installment of the Weekly Review of Dance Music. This week in this week's post I'll be carrying on the bang-on predictions for 2012. In part one I successfully anticipated the rise and rise of Minimal Hard House. As the figurehead of this movement I'll be following up the Minimal Hard House staple, Ecstasy World (Where I Wanna Be) with its response track Just Poppin' (Dropped 4 On The Floor).

I've laid down the beats for that wax already. I'm just working on creating an atmosphere around them. Know what I mean? The bass line is both bouncy AND melancholic. The hi-hats are both sparse AND frenetic. And the vocal is gonna take your brain to another dimension. Seriously, lads, I haven't even half finished it yet and its a classic.

If anyone else who reads this blog can both read AND produce music I urge you to get involved. How? By reading this blog first and then stepping into the lab/bedroom to jump on the Minimal Hard House bandwagon (that I'm the driver of). Send me your 'Minimal Hard House' tagged Soundcloud links and I'll showcase the best ones on WRDM.

Remember, NOTHING under 136bpm works.



RIGHT

NOW

My prediction for recreational activities is this: People are going to slooooooooooow dooooooooooown.

Back in the day I was the hardest of the hardcore. Now that I'm a husband/dad I can't drink 900 pints in one session like I used to. I can't smoke spliff fags with the lit end on my tongue any more (my mates used to call me 'Opposite Smoker'! It was a play on the name 'Optimus Prime'). I can't even quad-drop Ecstasy E tablets on my lunch hour without getting that mid-afternoon slump. Honestly, last time I necked four at work I fell asleep at my desk! It was fucking embarrassing. These days the only place I can do hard drugs like a man is on the famous Fabric room 1 dance floor and down the boozer with my Auntie Louise.




No, 2012 is the year to take stock, relax, build your body muscles and mind matter up in preparation for 2013 - The Damaging. That's when Tonka comes out of hibernation and gets back into the 3 Ms: magic mushrooms, meow meow and MDMA (Mad Drugs Made Amazingly - LOL ;-) ).

So, with that in mind, DJs in the year 2012 will cater for people like me and only play Minimal Hard House or Industrial Ambient. 100% guaranteed.

What clubs are we dancing around in then, eh? Well, in the year 2012 I strongly predict that Club Fabric in London will go from strength to strength. The Weekly Review of Dance Music has championed this nightclub since it's opening opened in 2004 and WRDM will CONTINUE to support Club Fabric and Friday night's Fabric Clive throughout the year 2012. That's a WRDM promise, guys!

Club Fabric is in London and is the same equivalent of Berlin Nightclub in Berghain, the East German 24 hour dance hole, except for the fact that Club Fabric is only open for 14 out of the existing 24 in a day on Saturday nights with 12 being taken on Friday's night for Fabric Clive. My wish is for Club Fabric to operate all year round in 2012, and its my New Year resolution to attend as many Saturday nights there as I have hot dinners. I'll be blogging my progress HERE on the Weekly Review of Dance Music!



A D D I T I O N A L S

I have touched topless DJs previously. I mean I have touched on the subject of topless DJs previously. Is it sexist or just prudent of me to suggest that nightclubs would get a lot more punters through the door in 2012 if they insisted that prospective female DJs play topless? If female DJs want a fair crack at the whip when it comes to 'playing out' then they have to 'play the game'. If I were the promoter of say, Club Fabric or Live at Robert Johnson in Frankfurt, I would be like "if you wanna play out, love, you better play the game. Come on. Off."

I've said before that the set up at Club Fabric is all geared up for this kind of leap forward. Put the DJ on the stage and have caged podium dancers where the current DJ box is. Easy.

Topless DJs is not so much a prediction, but a mere suggestion to promoters on how to make more money. Take it or leave it, guys. No skin off my face.

Q. Which female DJs would YOU like to see play topless?

Answer in the comments section below, email me on tonkawrdm@gmail.com or Tweeter me on this number here: @tonkawrdm

That's my prediction round up for the year 2012 completed. Hope you found it informative and NOT long-winded.

I'll be back with WRDM12 next week and I'm still composing questions for two DJs I have lined up. Watch this space. I tried to get an interview with Soul Clap but their management company told me that I don't get enough internet hits. Who said Rock N Roll was dead?



WRDM11 part one

Happy New 2012 to everyone who reads this blog. Not EVERYONE reads this blog though, so to those who don't, I say nothing.




2011 was an eventful time for me. I became a father to a son for the first time, I got into Neil Young, my parents split up, I started this blog as therapy and after a tasty tax rebate I now drive a blue-door hatchback saloon. However, going back to the therapy bit, the Weekly Review of Dance Music does nothing to ease the pain of being me. To be Tonka is to be consumed by an unparalleled urge to speak nothing but the truth (even when I can't handle it) in a world of dance music bullshit, label/production/party collective lap-dog pandering, superstar DJ double-jive and back-stabbing blogger jealousy. I see myself as a modern day Axl Rose, and if he were alive today I know he would see me as himself too.




So, what to expect from 2012? I predict that there will be 12 months of unadulterated dance music in EVERY nightclub, more exclusive interviews on THIS blog and for Wolf and Lamb from 'Wolf + Lamb' to finally reveal their true identities.

I also see where dance music is heading, musically:

Minimal Hard House

At the beginning of 2013 Minimal Hard House is the genre everyone will say defined the year 2012 in the UK underground. At the beginning of 2014 Minimal Hard House is the genre Radio 1 will say defined Ibiza 2013. At the beginning of 2015 Lady Ga Ga will provide vocals to a Minimal Hard House backing track by David Guetta, have a number one smash and kill the genre in one FOUL swoop.




For the record, I created this genre with the release of my debut track, Ecstasy World (Where I Wanna Be). This now ground-breaking track was both minimal and hard house in one FELL swoop. If you listen carefully there is hardly any fucking melody in it (minimal), the bass line can hardly give a fuck about itself (minimal) and there is a "Come On" vocal every 4 beats (hard house). I can't believe nobody had thought to put these two genres together before. They say the best ideas are discovered accidentally but Ecstasy World (Where I Wanna Be) was no mistake. I sat down with a copy of the Discogs website and went through all the merged dance music genres; funky house, tech house, minimal techno, industrial tribal, industrial vocal handbag, minimal funk, acid jazz and drums and bass. Once I'd been through all the genres I watched some Sherlock Holmes and deduced that the only two dance music genres that hadn't yet been put together were minimal and hard house. Sometimes you just can't see the fog for the trees. Know what I mean?




I'm not saying I'm a musical genius, I just saw a gap in the market and pounced. I'm not kidding myself that 'Ecstasy' (as clubbers have started calling it) will change the world either. It's just a piece of very well put together dance music. In 20 years time I don't want Bill Brewster pouring over the complexity of it and trying to find hidden meanings to the lyrics because there are none. It's just a track to take loads of drugs to and have a bit of a boogie with. Seriously, like every track from every genre, its JUST dance music. Music to dance to. No more to it. Wannabes who write poetic reviews about dance music have it ALL wrong. Its all just muzak for people like you and me to get fucking terminated to in basements.

But I did invent the minimal hard house genre. Me. Tonka.

O T H E R   N E W S

I was reading The Sun the other day and they were banging on about an awards ceremony they were setting up for our brave troops in Iraq. I thought, "Nice one. I love watching the Brits and I love watching Rambo. I'm DEFINITELY up for watching The Sun Military Awards." If anyone has taped it to watch later, it was a fucking let down so feel free to tape over it. I sat through 2 hours waiting to see who won 'Most Confirmed Kills'. There was no such award. It was all about honour, bravery and SAVING lives. Boring stuff that NOBODY is fucking interested in. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought war is all about sending foreigners to Heaven. It seems The Sun have other ideas :-/



That's part one of WRDM11 out of the way then. I'll be back with part two next week where I'll be predicting WHAT ELSE 2012 has in store for us. I'll be pointing you in the direction of the places to dance and showing you pictures of the DJs you'll be dancing to.

I should have an interview with a couple of very well known DJs racked up too. Watch this space (I've given a clue away by sticking italics in that last sentence...).

Once again, Happy New Year and follow me on Tweeter by ringing THIS number: @tonkawrdm

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