I first became exposed to Westend through that very same Box of Cats Litterbox 03 compilation that I wrote about last week. From its groovy beat to its catchy lyrics Westend’s “Get This” was so enthralling and I was completely drawn into it.
For one reason or another, it wasn’t until months later that I really began looking into who Westend was. It was a day no different than today and I came across a track titled “Missing You” by Riffa. The track was an absolute banger and a part of a much larger collection, or compilation, of tracks cleverly named “Westend Selections” (Listen to the compilation below).
And there I was realizing that not only does this guy have a distinct groovy sound design, but he’s got a killer taste in music too. It’s a skill to be able to produce such unique music and also have the time to find music that can rival that. In that moment I knew I had to keep an eye on Westend and all the projects he was a part of. Since then, he’s gone on to release a number of EP’s and even played at NV’D Records famed ShipFam Island.
It’s a pleasure to be able to present to all of you the next artist in my featured artist series: Westend.
Overall, what does music mean to you? In other words, what does purpose does it serve for you and everyone else?
Music is essential for living a satisfying sensory life. Just like sharing meals with family, having discussions with friends, being able to kiss a loved one, music allows all of us to connect and share similar feelings with other humans. We interact with the world through our 5 senses and music is key to that interaction.
Let’s back track a bit. Where are you from anyway ? What were you doing prior to music?
I’m from New York City. I graduated from Duke University in 2016 and was working as a Platform Analyst at a tech company until very recently!
So, how long have you been DJ/Mixing and/or Producing?
7 years for both.
How did you find yourself on the path of DJ/Mixing?
As a kid, I never went out of my way to discover new music. Just listened to the CDs I was given or my family had. In high school, my friends introduced me to electronic music. Justices’s album “Cross” blew my mind and ignited a burning desire to create electronic music from scratch. Been hooked ever since!
DJ’ing was always part of the equation as I was DJ’ing parties in high school and college. It’s the best way to look for new music and build personal connections to tracks.
How’d you form your moniker?
Grew up on a street in New York called “Westend Ave”. Always like the way it sounded and looked. I used to be part of a duo called C&T and when that ended I needed to get a new moniker quickly so I became “Westend”!
What is one memory that sticks out to you on this journey?
Playing a three-hour set at Output in Brooklyn. That’s the club that got me hooked on more underground house music and I have been there countless times. Being able to have my parents out and all my friends for that set made it truly special.
What was it like playing ShipFam Island?
ShipFam Island was so magical. Kory and the NVD records team have built a truly special community and party. The best thing about it was the complete breaking down of any Artist vs Fan dichotomy. Everyone is hanging out with everyone and just having fun and enjoying the music. Complete escape from the stresses of real life!
S/O to the south side crew Go Freek, Ardalan, Walker & Royce, VNSSA, and Doorly for all the good laughs and memories.
This is question that I always like to ask anyone who does an interview with me. Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener?
This is a great question and phenomenon that I have thought about for a while. When you produce/DJ for long enough, you are able to breakdown a track to its core. Similar to how a chef can dissect all the elements and tastes of a dish.
It’s an experience I can turn on or off. When I want to just take away an emotion or get carried away by a track I can. If I want to see all the sounds of a song separated and in a grid I also can. I have developed a sort of synesthesia.
What is your Favorite Artist or Favorite Track at the moment?
Will Easton is a young artist from the UK that has his own sound and hasn’t put out a bad track this year. They always go off in the club.
“Too Damn Low” by Simon Kidzoo is a track that I have been playing in all my sets. Lots of energy and great crowd reactions. Came out on Club Sweat recently!
Alright so what’s the story behind that track that Justin Martin rinsed at AMF Festival?
Was going through IG stories and saw one of Justin Martin playing my track “Wiggle Party” at DB BBQ LA. It was the B-side to my Box Of Cats EP that came out over a year ago so I was wondering where he found it (turns out he just discovered it on Beatport).
Reached out to Justin on IG after I saw the video and sent him a bunch of my unreleased tracks. I think he played 4 in his set at AMF. Super surreal feeling as he’s in my top 5 favorite musicians.
Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know?
Steady Rock, John Summit, Adrian Hex, RIFFA, Emuh, Vouti. All homies that make killer tracks.
Any mixes/tracks of yours we should check out?
I just released my “You Know” EP on Country Club Disco that’s sitting at #3 on tech house releases. Trying to get this bad boy to #1!
Support Westend’s “You Know” EP by buying the EP here.
Do you have any cool shows or projects in the future?
I will be in Seattle/Portland this week and then Austin in Early November. Working on a lot of music in October and have a special festival announcement coming soon!
I’d like to thank Westend for taking the time to do this interview with me as well as all you readers!
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