Coming to SA: UK DJ Charles Webster on not playing bad music
Legendary UK producer/musician/DJ Charles Webster (50) is headlining Churn mini-festival at the Tweefontein Melkery, Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.
On stage at the two-day festival, which starts on Saturday at noon, will be Californian beatsmith, Daedelus, and local acts like Christian Tiger School, Card On Spokes, Rudeboyz and Kid Fonque. Webster, who has been performing and recording regularly in South Africa for nearly two decades, released his debut solo album Born on the 24th July, in 2002. And his latest album will be released on House Africa/Sony SA next year.
Most of the vocalists on the album are young South African singers and musicians. It also features a track featuring Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse on vocals.
Charles Leonard: Were you born on July 24?
Charles Webster: Yes… I sure was!
CL: When did you know you’re going
to be a musician/DJ/producer?
CW: It’s all I dreamed of doing and being since I was a child.
I never really had a proper job out of music in my life. I had my first synth and drum machine when I was 13.
CL: How did your relationship with
South Africa start?
CW: I first came here in 1997. One of my tracks Better Day was a big hit on the radio and in the clubs so I just had to come and see what all the fuss was about – been coming back ever since.
CL: What is it that makes it special
to work here and with our musicians?
CW: There is such a lot of raw talent here and coming from different cultures and backgrounds makes it a very potent mix of influences and style, which I really enjoy.
CL: Tell me about your latest album
you’re working on.
CW: My new album is my first ever full house album. My other albums always included downtempo music. It is a very deep blend of soulful house and moody electronics, a really rich tapestry of influences. I am really excited for this new project.
C: You’re also involved in music
development and training here in South Africa – please tell us more.
CW: I am involved in an initiative called African Dance music and Technology sessions. It aims to mentor and teach young people all about production, writing, video making, the business side of music, deejaying etc. We use very hands-on and interactive sessions; in short all the stuff they would need to build a successful career in music.
We have hosted several events already and are aiming to host many more around the country. We are currently looking for sponsors in SA and further afield to enable us to develop and grow the sessions.
CL: What music have you packed for
CW: I have prepared a full live show for Churn 2015. I will be showcasing music from my forthcoming album as well as playing a few of my older tracks. I am performing with a vocalist, Sio Blackwidow, and a percussionist, Bonging Sessionist – it’s gonna be a beautiful chill and deep set; sunset time in Kempton Park.
CL: With which song are you going to
open your set?
CW: A new deep electronic journey called ‘Let it last a while’.
CL: Is it a straight forward DJ set
– vinyl, laptop?
CW: All live with laptop, synths, vocals, percussion, etc.
CL: What won’t you play in your sets
CW: Bad music.
CL: What’s the most exciting music
you’ve heard recently?
CW: Hard to pin down one track. There is always amazing music if you dig a little deeper under the commercial surface.