WORDS: Alex Caslano
As part of our ongoing search for new music, it’s always exciting when you stumble across someone with obvious talent, someone with a sound which instantly engages you. Naturally you just want to shout about them, and that’s exactly how we felt when we heard 21 year-old Glaswegian producer, Bessa. Having caught our ear previously as part of Handpicked’s ‘Suite Beats’ compilation at the start of the year, it’s only recently that we’ve truly locked into his groove, discovering a wealth of chrome-cut instrumentals and edits which gleam effortlessly in the winter sun. Slick, crisp and downright funky, they’re the type of beats you could hear someone like Common rapping over – sample heavy and bathed in soul.
“I always love listening to old funk and soul records and I think it probably has a big influence on me” suggets the producer. Listen through his soundcloud and you’ll hear the likes of Change, Anita Baker and Michael Jackson in the mix, tastefully stretched, chopped and screwed into something entirely fresh. It indicates a healthy appreciation for the past, but it’s not just samples and edits which give him flavour – futuristic cuts like ‘PLaCE’ roll straight into 2014, creating an exciting prospect for the new year and yet another name to keep a close eye on…
Check out some of Bessa's beats below, as well as a quick interview with the man himself:
SG: If we begin with a bit of background about who you are and how you got into producing, who would you describe as your main influences and what inspired you to start making beats?
Bessa: My name is Sam Bessa Reader, I’m 21 years old from Glasgow, and I’ve been producing for 3 years. I always love listening to old funk and soul records and I think it probably has a big influence on me. I'm from a musical family so I’ve always loved music, but I think when I started to go see artists that I liked perform, it made me want to start producing music myself. It was around that time that I found Soundcloud as well, which helped easily find great music that really inspired me. From then I was always listening to new producers and making new music. I've been enjoying making beats as a hobby ever since.
SG: We only really discovered your music properly a few weeks ago and what attracted us is how fresh and crisp it is, do you recognise a certain style in your sound and how do you usually approach a track?
Bessa: Well, I think recently I’ve started feeling comfortable taking the same steps to make a track in different beats because I’m happy with the sound I’m getting out of it. It is hard for me to tell if I’ve got a certain style, but when I’m sampling I think I do chop the samples similarly most of the time. Usually when I want to make a track, I'll start by finding a sample and listening to it for a good bit before actually using it. Once I’ve got something from the sample, I would search for drums and sounds that are similar to the sample, then usually have fun playing about with the sounds until I’ve made something I'm happy with.
SG: We’re just listening through your Soundcloud now, and while a lot of your music leans towards more futuristic vibes, there are a few pitched down edits of older tracks too, have you got a particular sound that you gravitate to when listening to other people’s music?
Bessa: There are definitely sounds that I'm always hyped to hear. There's a record label called 'Soulection' and 'HW&W' whose music I’ve really enjoyed listening to recently. Producers such as Lakim, ESTA, Kaytranada and more are always releasing amazing music. A lot of producers from Glasgow are killing it right now as well and that’s always good to hear.
SG: You’ve had a couple releases via Handpicked as well as few DJ dates around Glasgow, have you got anything coming up that we should be looking out for and how is 2014 shaping up for you?
Bessa: Yeah, there’s actually a few cool things happening before Christmas. I'm playing tunes at a new night that’s going to be on the 19th of December in Stereo called ‘Too Nice' - really looking forward to that. I've also heard rumours of Handpicked running another all day party at the Arlington bar that I’ll be playing some live music at. The last party went really well and i'm definitely hyped for another one. For 2014 there should be a few Handpicked releases coming, of course the regular free soundcloud tracks from me and hopefully an album at some point too.
Keep an eye on Bessa’s Facebook for updates and download free music via his Soundcloud.