Ashley Beedle - X-Press To Fatherhood
Ashley Beedle was one of the UK’s pioneering acid house DJs, but today he’s better known as the lynchpin of X-Press 2.
Alongside fellow DJs Rocky and Diesel, the Londoner cut the enduring Lazy, featuring Talking Heads’ David Byrne, and, more recently, the sinister Kill 100 with The Music’s Rob Harvey – both modern crossover classics.
Indeed, Harvey’s edgy collaboration with X-Press 2 rubbed off on The Music’s electronic Strength In Numbers of last year. “It was a joy working with Rob and I know we would love to work with him again,” Beedle says. “We loved the quality of his voice. The song comes from an old Chinese saying – ‘You kill one, then you have killed 100.’ Deep.”
Oddly, X-Press 2 formed a decade before Lazy, the trio first airing the ’90s club classic Muzik X-Press. Back then Beedle was managing London’s Black Market record store – and networking. The budding producer’s breakthrough hit was The Trammps-sampling Where Were You as Black Science Orchestra. X-Press 2 came next. But, after London X-Press, they lay dormant, Beedle focusing on the rare groove BSO. The three did regroup, but as The Ballistic Brothers, recording two albums. X-Press 2 was finally resurrected in 2000. They signed to Skint, dropping Muzikizum. Beedle touted their debut as “techno-meets-disco”, although X-Press 2 combined traditional deep house with Balearic flavours and an unexpected progressive influence.
In 2009 the chameleonic Beedle is looking to re-establish his own career – with some help. “I have just finished a project with Horace Andy which will be coming out in February. The album is coming out on Strut/!K7. It was an absolute joy to do – and a dream come true working with Horace, who is a legend. Musically, it straddles reggae, dancehall, jazz and even a bit of rock. I am also working on a special project called Mavis that I think will surprise a lot of people. It’s myself and a guy called Darren Morris, who is an extraordinary musician. We have roped in a host of singers from across the musical spectrum. [But] I don’t want to give away too much.”
However, Beedle isn’t abandoning X-Press 2, who lately issued the ‘best of’ Raise Your Hands. “We’re not recording another album at the moment, but we are releasing some singles this year strictly for the clubs. The last album [Makeshift Feelgood] took us a long time to make and we wanted to give ourselves a break. To be honest, we wanted to get back to our club roots. We are really inspired again by the quality of house music.”
And the father of three is nurturing the next generation of musos. “They are already showing signs,” he says with pride. “My eldest, Helen, is dabbling in music journalism. My two younger sons, Harry and Joe, seem to be getting into YouTube and Facebook in a big way and, judging by their Facebook conversations, they talk about music a lot. Joe plays guitar. They love a lot of the new bands like MGMT and Friendly Fires. They also get down to grime and hip hop. Joe loves beatboxing and Harry keeps pestering me to have a go on the decks!”
WHO: Ashley Beedle
WHAT: Plays Playground Weekender, Del Rio Resort / Plays Civic Underground
WHEN: Friday 7 February