ART:CAST & INTERVIEW West & Hill

Maastricht based DJ and producer West & Hill, whose moniker derives from his last name Westenberg, delivers Torture the Artist’s latest art:cast. With a release on Belgian Label DEPTH and another EP on JEUDI the artist has built up quite a reputation for himself over the past month with more music to be released as a new remix for Offering Recordings is already in the making. West & Hill’s style can be described as rather deep and Afro House influenced as you can hear on his latest art:cast. Despite the musical differences West & Hill comes up with a harmonic mix that represents the artist’s approach to electronic music in the most sensitive way.

Torture the Artist: Your art:cast is the latest installment in our series. What was your musical approach to this podcast?

West & Hill: I always try to approach a podcast differently than I would a regular mixtape or live recording. Podcasts are an opportunity for me to play tracks I can’t play in a club, as this format opens up a lot of different genres and tempos.

Torture the Artist: Where is the aforementioned musical approach rooted in your life?

West & Hill: For as long as I can remember, I was always busy with music. As a kid growing up in the 90’s I listened a lot to music on the radio, cassette and later cd’s. When I was in my teenage years I started producing hardhouse music which later turned to minimal / techno. Aside from that I also started collecting and playing vinyl at home and later in clubs.

Sometimes I get my inspiration in strange places, like under the shower or on the toilet.

Torture the Artist: As your day-job as a video editor is a creative one, do you find it difficult to also be creative in your down-time when producing music?

West & Hill: I think those two jobs stimulate each other. Sometimes when I am working on a video I get a new idea for a track, then I write the idea down on my notes or make a voice recording on my iPhone. Sometimes I get my inspiration in strange places, like under the shower or on the toilet. I think because those are places that are perfect to clear your mind and think out of the box.

Torture the Artist: What movie would you like to produce the soundtrack for? And if you were a movie producer, who would you like to create the music for it?

West & Hill: For a movie of myself, Hans Zimmer. No doubt about that one. This guy is so brilliant! I’ve been following him for a while now, and he always goes above my expectations with his music. In his latest masterwork, Dunkirk, the music fits so perfect that it sounds like it is one long single track. In terms of composing the soundtrack for a movie I would love to try my hands on one of my favorite series called ‘Fargo’. This series is so amazing because of the incredible cinematic, the strong actors and the unreal settings. Composing music for such a masterpiece would be a real honour.

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Torture the Artist: So far you have released an EP on Jeudi and DEPTH, while for your newest release you are remixing a track for Belgium based label Offering. What made you decide to remix this track?

West & Hill: The original track had a really amazing oriental groove because of the synths and the dope vocals. These were the main elements I liked the most and formed the basis for my remix. I prefer to remix tracks from a slightly different genre then my own tracks, because this gives me some different elements to work with. It also gives me more inspiration then I would get from working on a standard house track.

Torture the Artist: Which track of yours would you like to be remixed, and by whom?

West & Hill: Since the beginning of their existence, I really like the vibe of the Keinemusik family. They have their own signature sound, which I adore a lot. It is pretty funny because when they first started their label back in 2009 I got a message from Adam Port asking if I could send my latest release because he wanted to play it out so badly.

Torture the Artist: Imagine you had a drone. Whose artist studio would you like to see from a bird’s- eye-view and what would you secretly record?

West & Hill: I would love to have a peak in the studios of Bonobo and Bicep. I would record how they compose and arrange a track and which software and hardware they use.

I am going for a beach house in the Maldives for this one.

Torture the Artist: Name a place, for example, a country, region, forest, beach, building etc., where you would like to produce a track.

West & Hill: I can think of a million places right now, but I am going for a beach house in the Maldives for this one.

On a musically level we were not on the same level, but I manage to teach her some things in the past years.

Torture the Artist: Living in Maastricht, the Netherlands, where did you go for your ‘dates’ with your Miss Electronic Music and how many did it take until the two of you ‘clicked’?

West & Hill: There aren’t many decent places in Maastricht to go to if you want to hear quality house music, but a few years ago it was even worse. Fortunately, we now have a new club called Complex, which hosts good parties on a weekly basis. That’s why I did not meet my girlfriend in the club but elsewhere. On a musically level we were not on the same level, but I manage to teach her some things in the past years. <winks>

Torture the Artist: Name a track that accompanied you through the process of dating back then.

West & Hill: Hard question. I would go for anything from HNNY back then. I am a big fan of his heavy based sampling production style. Glad he is back with a new EP.

Torture the Artist: What type of gigs would you turn down, and why?

West & Hill: Sharing the stage with artists that don’t fit my musical style at all. That would be a no-go for sure.

Torture the Artist: What offer would you not refuse?

West & Hill: A gig in a tropical paradise. I recently visited Sri Lanka and I managed to get two gigs there. The local beach, combined with amazing people was unreal. That’s why I cannot refuse a future offer like that.

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Torture the Artist: Imagine your music could be played at any time and event in history. What era in history and event would you choose, whom would you like to dance to it and which dance moves would you teach the people?

West & Hill: I think I would go for the 80s. This period left such a mark in musical history. Since a child I’ve been collecting music from the 80’s. Nowadays the music from that era still give me a lot of inspiration to create my own tracks. As for a place, I would choose the legendary Boccacio Life club in Belgium. I heard some many things about this club but unfortunately this was way before my time.

Torture the Artist: Speaking of history, but now modern electronic music history, what artist or track has left an impression on you lately and how would you compliment him/her for his music?

West & Hill: An album that has left a mark on me lately is the latest album from the Turkish producer Ali Kuru. His album ‘Egzotik’ is a real exotic, unique and extraordinary album that gives a new dimension to the modern day house music. You can hear his roots really clear in all of the tracks. That’s why I had put a track from this album in my art:cast.

Torture the Artist: How many times have you thought you could change the world after you had drunk a bottle of vodka?

West & Hill: Many times I guess. Especially after playing a peaktime set in combination with a lot of booze.