Charles Webster (musician)
Charles Webster is a British electronic music producer and DJ who specialises in producing house music, amongst several other genres, including downtempo and jazz. Highly regarded as a true pioneer of UK deep house music, Charles is a globally sought after talent for his trademark sound. As well as releasing music under his own name, Webster has also worked under various monikers, including Furry Phreaks, Presence, DJ Profile and Symetrics.
Webster ran the now defunct record labels Remote and Love From San Francisco, but currently owns and operates his Miso Records label.
Born in Derbyshire, UK, Charles Webster got his first instruments at age 13 (guitar, synthesizer and drum machine) and began playing in electronic bands around Nottingham and Sheffield - and, eventually, London. Years passed and Charles made a fateful move to Nottingham and started working in a restaurant - the owner of which also just happened to own the city’s Garage Club, definitely the first house music club in Nottingham (and arguably in England). Upon attending the grand opening of the Garage Club and witnessing the likes of Graeme Park, Larry Heard and DJ Pierre on the turntables, Charles suddenly became aware that the genre-defying music he had been creating himself had happened across a scene which could take his sound to new ears and hearts.
From here on it’s a blurred tale of late nights in studios and clubs, collaborators aplenty, all pieces fitting together and helping to shape the renowned Webster sound. Earning his dance music spurs as an engineer for the likes of Blur and Juan Atkins at Nottingham's seminal Square Dance Studios, Charles truly came of age as a producer in his own right with 1991’s Sine and 1992’s Megatonk, Symetrics and Yukon projects. A brave move to San Francisco in 1993 enabled his production career to go into overdrive as the prime mover behind the acclaimed Love From San Francisco label. This, in turn, lead to his music being released on other acclaimed US labels such as Emotive, Nitebeat, Rey-d and Happy Traxx. Charles launched the prodigious talent that is Terra Deva, then 16, into the dance music world via Furry Phreaks’ seminal "Soothe" and "(Want Me) Like Water."
Back in the UK in 1996, Charles started the Remote label for his increasingly in-demand output, and began to get serious recognition as a world class DJ. "Getting Lifted," produced under his Presence moniker, led to Pagan Records offering to release a full length Presence album. The hugely successful All Systems Gone album took the often staid world of so-called deep house into new stratospheres, scored 3 top 75 singles, won album-of-the-month plaudits in nearly every publication that reviewed it worldwide (even scoring an unprecedented, and never repeated, 11 out of 10 in one magazine) - and gave the world the classic singles, "Sense of Danger," featuring Shara Nelson, "Future love" and "Better Day." Keynote remixes for the likes of Dr. Rockit (Charles’s remix of "Café de Flore" by this Matthew Herbert pseudonym was heavily licensed to numerous DJ mixes and compilations and went on to being used in the movie of the same name) and Groove Armada ("At The River") saw Charles conquer the ever-growing chill-out market much as he had with the deep house one, and helped pave the way for his first album under his own name.
Born On The 24th of July (Peacefrog Records) released in 2002 to universal acclaim. Perhaps the closest thing yet to a full depiction of Charles’s musical vision, it is a deep yet uplifting, soulful, diverse collection – and makes for a truly coherent album, rather than a patchwork of club tracks and fillers. A remixed version of Born On The 24th of July, featuring such leftfield luminaries as Herbert, Theo Parrish, UFO and Pepe Bradock was released to similar acclaim in late 2003, providing groundbreaking interpretations of many of the album's classic tracks. After 5 years of relentless touring and production, 2008 saw the release of a definitive and long-overdue Webster compilation project on the world's largest dance music label, Defected Records, swiftly followed by a Coast 2 Coast compilation for NRK Records and Strictly Rhythms Vol. 4 for legendary New York house label, Strictly Rhythm. The album's cover art was painted by Jon Burgerman.
2013 saw the release of two major albums for Charles - One, a retrospective compilation on Defected Records called House Masters: Charles Webster, and the other, a groundbreaking album project for Charles, as he teamed up with UK musician and composer, Peter Wraight as the Webster Wraight Ensemble to create the modern big band jazz album, No Lucky Days. No Lucky Days was Webster's first fully developed jazz album and featured a full big band featuring revered UK players including saxophonist, Dave O'Higgins and classical harpist, Brian Wilson.
Charles has produced for notable artists such as Tracy Thorn (Everything But The Girl/Massive Attack), Cathy Batistessa, Vanessa Daou, Wendy & Lisa and Robert Owens. His global DJ schedule continues, as he has performed at clubs, venues and festivals the world over, including Ministry of Sound, Fabric, The End, Yellow, Liquid Room, Air, Loop, Haomann 17, The Rex, Weekend, Panorama Bar, Moxa, Watergate, Robert Johnson, Aquabooty, Stereolab, Deep, Cielo, Pacha, El Divino, Big Chill, Independence Festival, Flow Festival, Pink Pop and Movement Festival (DEMF). Additionally, there are his internationally syndicated radio shows, his remixes for the likes of Salif Keita, MiCasa, Bucie, Martina Topley-Bird, Michel Clies, Black Coffee, Dennis Ferrer and Laidback, to mention but a few of the hundreds of artists and labels he has remixed for and the number of quality labels still clambering to feature his work (old & new).
Charles Webster's music has been featured in television programs and films including Six Feet Under, CSI Miami, Secret Circle, House of Lies and Cafe De Flore.
A true pioneer and innovator in the electronic music scene, Charles Webster is one of the few producers that can call himself a legend.
- 1999 All Systems Gone as Presence
- 2002 Born on the 24th of July as Charles Webster
- 2003 Remixed on the 24th of July as Charles Webster
- 2013 No Lucky Days (with Peter Wraight) as Webster Wraight Ensemble
- 2005 "What's Phat Pussy Cat 4" on CCP Record Company
- 2008 "Defected Presents Charles Webster" on Defected Records
- 2008 "Coast 2 Coast" on NRK Records
- 2010 "Strictly Rhythms Vol. 4" on Strictly Rhythm
- 2010 "Pioneers of House: Charles Webster" on Soul Candi
- 2011 "Studio Soul" on Do It Now Recordings
- 2013 "House Masters Charles Webster" on Defected Records
- Charles Webster
- 1996 "Random House Vol. 1" (with Paul K. Joyce)
- 2000 "Your Life" (with Mark Sheridan and Sara Jay)
- 2001 "I Understand You" (with Delroy St. Joseph)
- 2002 "It's Not What It Was"
- 2002 "Ready" (with Terra Deva)
- 2011 "I Am The Sun" (with Cathy Battistessa)
- 2011 "Fight For Freedom" (with Thandi Draai)
- 2012 "Be Yourself" (with Diviniti)
- 2012 "Lonely" (with Diviniti)
- 2012 "Learning to Love Me" (with Diviniti)
- 2012 "Give Me More" (with Shana Halligan)
- 2012 "Our Jewel" (with January Tuesday)
- 1995 "My Baby"
- 1996 "The Spectrum EP"
- 1996 "The Strength"
- 1996 "Unreleased Stuff Vol. 1/2"
- 1997 "Better Day" (with Steve Edwards)
- 1997 "Remixes"
- 1998 "White Powder EP"
- 1998 "Sense of Danger" (with Shara Nelson)
- 1999 "Future Love" (with Steve Edwards)
- Furry Phreaks
- 1994 "Gonna Find a Way"
- 1995 "Want Me Like Water" (with Terra Deva)
- 1996 "Soothe" (with Terra Deva)
- 1997 "Remixes"
- 2001 "Want Me Like Water 2001" (with Terra Deva)
- 2005 "Mixed Messages EP"
- 2007 "All Over the World" (with Terra Deva)
- DJ Profile
- 1997 "The EP"
- 1998 "Prove It"
- 1998 "Unreleased Stuff Vol. 3/4"
- 2000 "Simpletone EP"
- Hot Lizard
- All with Gary Marsden and Paul Wain
- 1995 "The Theme"
- 1996 "Big Air"
- 1996 "165... Drop"
- 1998 "Tokyo Traffic"
- All with Andrew Hulme and Roger Horberry
- 1993 "Anyway"
- 1993 "Drop EP"
- 1996 "EP 01"
- 1997 "Life Goes On"
- Other aliases
- 1992 "Belgium", as Megatonk
- 1992 "Disco Heave", as Smooch
- 1992 "Demonise", as Yukon
- 1993 "We Can Work It Out", as Good Together
- 1993 "Don't Stop", as Unique
- 1994 "I'll Hear Your Body", as Positive
- 1994 "Keep to the Beat", as The Boy
- 1994 "Keep Rockin", as Love From San Francisco
- 1994 "Switch", as Natural
- 1994 "Happy Trax EP", as Together Trax
- 1995 "Sidetracked", as Mendocino
- 1996 "The Florida Fantasy EP", as Love From San Francisco
- 1996 "You Make Me Feel", as City of Angels
- 1997 "Instant Coco", as Taster's Choice (with Ron Trent)
- 1997 "SubKingdom", as Jorge Felucca
- 1998 "Pussyclap/Groodies", as Jorge Felucca
- 1998 "Boxed", as Starpeace
- 1999 "For the Music", as Colourful Karma (with Terra Deva)
- 1999 "Kinda Kickin'", as DJ Boom (with Matthew Herbert)
- 2002 "21st Century Blues", as lo:rise (with Mark Sheridan and Sara Jay)
- 2003 "For the Music (Remixes)", as Colourful Karma (with Terra Deva)
- 2005 "Life Goes On", as lo:rise (with Sara Jay)
- 2008 "The Brighter Side", as Version (with Martin Iveson)