TOP PRODUCER + GRIME’S NORWICH BASED HEAVYWEIGHT: AN INTERVIEW W/ WESTY

In 2017 there is a new generation not just of MCs to feed our insatiable appetite for the most raw uncut bars and liquid smooth flows but producers as well crafting the soundscapes that help to push Grime to new hights of excellence in what many people have called its second chapter. One such producer is Westy. Real name Kieran Westlake, Westy who lives in Norwich has released multiple EPs, worked with many notable artists, runs his own label ‘Everyday Grime’ and his beats are a mainstay in all of the toppa top DJs riddim selections.

I had a chat with him recently to see where it all started, who he’s listening to and what goes into making a tumpin’ Grime riddim. Enjoy!

What was your earliest encounter with Grime music? Your earliest Grime memory?

Although I begun actually producing quite late on in my life I remember hearing it now and again when I was much younger from my brother and his friends. These were the days of Dizzee Rascal and Boy In The Corner. Thats the first album of Grime i’d properly heard of without even really knowing what grime was or knowing much about the scene but I remember my brother and his friends listening to it so I heard it but didn’t start following it until I was a lot older and picked up on it more.

Right, ok. So as you grew older and exposed yourself to more of the music what was it that drew you to Grime as a genrea nd made you want to start making beats?

I just enjoyed the wide variety of different artists there are and how there is a lot of versatility within a scene that evolved from a more gritty sound. I get a lot of enjoyment from listening to a gassed Grime MC shell a set but I also enjoy them ones where you can sit down and listen to some hard bars on a deep beat bringing storytelling vibes and I’ve always loved the sound of the instrumentals from gritty to chilled.

I feel the same way. Beyond the hype and swagger and energy of Grime its the sound that I love. One of the reasons Grime is so unique to me is because of the sounds. There are a lot of sounds in Grime that you don’t hear in other genres of music especially when you listen to the earlier productions.    

Exactly but I also liked the fact that something so simple could sound so so sick when vocalled and I wanted to learn more. Beats like Spookfest were the kind of beats that started drawing me more to actually wanting to produce beats not to make them like that but it gave me a feeling to make some of my own with my own style.

Cool cool. Now I know as one of the leading producers in the scene right now you must be listening to a lot of music. What grime artists have you got on rotation in the Ipod right now?

Right now I am listening to a lot of AJ Tracey, Splinta, Brotherhood, Maxsta, Skepta, Wiley, Izzie Gibbs, Kamakaze, and Prez T.

Solid little collection of artists right there and that leads me to my next question. Your beats are very popular amongst MCs when they do their freestyle videos. What is it about your beats that MCs find so appealing do you think? 

Im not entirely sure to be honest I just believe the beat writes the bars! Some beats just put mcs into a next zone which creates a vibes and it works but I couldn’t pin point what it is that draws MCs to my beats.

Mmm ok. Well what makes the perfect Grime riddim in your opinion then?

Something that is melodic with some on point smooth drums, deep bass and maybe a nice lil sample in it every so often whether thats vocal sample or instrument. There really is no perfect beat though as there are so many different vibes that can’t compare to others.

Being someone who has brought us many vibes during your time in the scene your head must be overflowing with new ideas and concepts but where do you get all your inspiration from to do what you do behind the computer?

I can gain inspiration in many ways from listening to music or just chatting with my people, I believe running Everyday Grime gives me a big inspiration boost at times because im always the first to hear new and exciting instrumentals from people which inspires me to make more.

One of your more popular riddims, daily bread which was used by JDZmedia for The Anthem featuring many midlands MCs last year. Explain to me a little bit about the making of that beat and how you linked up with JDZ for the tune and video.

I got shouted by JDZ when i’d had MANY credits on loads of freestyles on his channel so he asked me to make a 8bar riddim rally which I done one day. I then played it to him, he liked it and so we went up to Brum to film my part and we’d discussed some names online on who to get, he got the MC’s on the vocals when they were in his studio and it all came together nicely.

Who is the best grime producer of all time? – In your humber opinion…

I can’t specifically pick one at the moment because there are so many plus the fact that there are some who make deep beats and some that make maybe more energetic beats.

Fair enough. Who would you say make it into your personal top 5 then?

My top 5 at the moment in no order would be… Rude Kid, Preditah, Swifta Beater, Thomas Mellor, Zdot

Maxsta chose to vocal a beat of yours for his recent single Skrrr and also spat a freestyle for the YouTube channel P110 to your Did You See What Grime Done beat. Explain a bit about how you two linked up.

I’ve followed Maxsta for ages he’s been one of my favourite artists for a long time. We ended up connecting on twitter

Naturally…

Yeah, then I worked with Sian Anderson for the FLOOR SIX project and ended up working with Jammz through that and then Maxsta chose my instrumental to use for his track through their project too, he sent me the track and also said he used my J Hus remix in the P110 freestyle video. Soon after that we ended up talking some more and now we’re currently working on loads more new music together.

When listening to the riddims you make I notice that you tend not to refix any of the old skool riddims that much as apposed to fellow up and coming producers like Filthy Gears who does. Why don’t you refix much of the old stuff?

I’v remixed one or two old ones but not really too many only because I believe some beats have been refixed too much and I don’t really want to refix something that may be too overly bait thats not to say I wont in the future though as I believe some of them can be done very well like Filthys. Who knows I may do more soon.

How would you say the Grime sound has evolved from its earliest days up until now in terms of the productions that people are making?

I think its evolved a lot all in different ways because there is so many different types of producers now. I think its evolving very nicely and its not like people cant make old school beats the way they were because that can definitely be done if needed and already is being done by certain new style producers.

What are your 5 favourite grime riddims of all time?

Thats easy.

Footsie – Spookfest

Flukes – Wifey Riddim

Wifey Riddim is just a classic for me and I love the smooth chilled vibes it brings, real sick sample and the drums roll with the beat nicely. I love dirty Grime beats but I also love chilled ones where someone can spit some real stuff over it or at least make a vibe with it

Flukes – I have Nothing

Mr Snowman – Pink Elephant

I love this beat. So dirty. It would always be played whenever me and my friends where together chilling and someone wanted to spit bars so for me personally it will always be a banger.

Ruff Sqwad –  Together

Rounding up then; what’s next for Westy? any new projects, collaborations, mixes on the way?

I’ve got new EPs coming with multiple artists and more features on big artist’s eps and albums! Working on loads of free projects from myself too and also other bits that you will see soon.

POSTED BY: LUKE

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