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X Press 2's Ashley Beedle on Aging Gracefully, So Solid and Dealing With Dead Babies

Author: Jonty Adderley
Sunday, February 10, 2002
"I always remember the smell. We used to go up to the wards and collect the amputated limbs and take them down to the incinerator. They'd be in bags and you'd take them down and throw them in."

Like Human League singer Phil Oakey, X Press 2's Ashley Beedle started his working life as a lowly hospital porter, tossing flesh onto fires for three long years. Chuckling as he tucks into an overcooked and oversized jumbo sausage, he's a happy and shining example of the life transforming energy that house music still brings, 15 years after he first started raving. Nowadays recognised as one of London's greatest and most knowledgeable producers, he's not only one third of X Press 2, but also works closely with Strut Recordings, on an ongoing project of re-editing classic dance records. Friendly, charming and packed with positivity, he took Skrufff's Jonty Adderley for a sausage sandwich in a Soho pub.

Skrufff: You'red involved in this ongoing red-edit series with Strut, what actually is a 're-edit'-

Ashley Beedle: "Re-edits have always been a tool where a DJ has taken a particular section of a record he or she really likes and expanded it, perhaps removing crap bits. In the old days remixes and re-edits were the same thing since the original re-editors worked within the structure of the song. Remixers now often add pieces to the songs, they're about making your own record really, just using the original as a template. I enjoy re-editing more because I can take a great record and still staying within that record's boundaries, be able to make it sound better. There's different schools of thought, some people think the re-edit era is over now, whereas the way I see it, there are new generations of kids coming along now who need to know the roots of today's culture."

Skrufff: how healthy is today's music and club scene in your view-

Ashley Beedle: "I don't really know. Anything that is good is now being co-opted by the majors (record labels). Fair enough, but before there used to be scenes that came along that you could be a part of and that side seems to be dead now. Something's got to happen soon but I don't know what."

Skrufff: You said recently that you find today's dance industry "sickening" why-

Ashley Beedle: "I'm not unique in saying that, it is sickening, it's the machine that you can get sucked in to. Even with Skint, I love them dearly but they're a record label and you take money off them to perform a job, involving touring, doing interviews whatever, which is stuff you don't always want to do. Eventualy, I want to be in a position where we're stuck in our own studio, just making music to please ourselves."

Skrufff: James Lavelle recently appeared in 7 magazine and sounded quite sad when he described his experiences of working with majors . . .

Ashley Beedle: "Yeah, I read that, it was quite sad, there's a kid who's an amazing guy to have done so much so young, but reading that article it sounds like he's been fucked over. It's the same old story, your ideas get taken away from you, they get co-opted and expanded then they're no longer yours."

Skrufff: I guess you're DJing most weekends, do you still dance-

Ashley Beedle: "I dance when I DJ and if I do go out clubbing then I do dance. I was trying to convince a girl a while ago that I was a really good jazz dancer back in the day and she wasn't 'having none of it' (didn't believe him). It's true, I am a dancer but the whole original London culture was about dancing. I could do knee drops, the lot."

Skrufff: I don't often see your name linked with Ibiza, unlike Rocky (from X Press 2-

Ashley Beedle: "I don't go there very often, I went there to work last year and had an enjoyable time but it doesn't really attract me, I'd rather go on holiday somewhere else. Rocky goes there all the time, though. You can have a great time in Ibiza but once again it's hard work there sometimes, you're almost forced to party. I don't want to do that all the