The musical career of Phillip Western has been a long and varied exploration of many styles of music. To find the beginning of this journey, one has to go back to his teenage years, where, as a drummer and piano student, Phil honed his earliest musical chops. Playing in bands in and around Vancouver as a drummer, it became apparent fairly quickly that the ideas that were surfacing in Phillips imagination were not going to be realized by just playing drums in rock bands. (One interesting side note; one of Phillips early drumming gigs was with his friend Greg Monk, and the band recorded with Dave Ogilvie at Mushroom Studios. Greg also played guitar years earlier on the Skinny Puppy track K9, and was an old high school chum of SP's Kevin Crompton).
An early interest in electronic music by bands such as Severed Heads, Kraftwerk, and Skinny Puppy led Phillip to pursue a more synthesis based approach, which led him, at the age of 19, to start to build a modest studio setup. Around this time, he met up with long time collaborator and friend Tim Hill, and the two began making strange noises in Tim's home studio on 4 track. Extremely long nights of obsessive programming became a normal everyday occurrence for the young producer, as well as a keen interest in the records that were coming out at the end of the acid house era, and into the first techno renaissance of the early 1990's. Raves were starting to take off across the globe, and soon Phillip found himself buying records by all the early techno artists of that period. This led to his working in an independent record shop in Vancouver by the name of Odyssey Imports. Through working at this store, Phillip became acquainted with various pioneers within the local 'rave' scene, and soon found himself Djing more or less regularly, including at the first large indoor warehouse party - Crave '92 - that Vancouver had ever seen. Several more warehouse parties followed, as well as nights around town at various clubs. It was at this time that Phillip bought the store he had been working at - Odyssey Imports - and began making more friends locally in the music production scene, many of whom came regularly into the store for their music purchases. One of these people was Dwayne Goettel, also from Skinny Puppy. Dwayne and Phillip hit it off immediately, becoming close friends, and ultimately working together and finally becoming roommates. This friendship spawned a 12 inch single - Phillips first release - which came out on the pairs label Subconscious, in an extremely limited edition release of only 200 copies. Numerous jams were also recorded, but never released. Also through Odyssey, Phillip met another collaborator Dan Handrabur, who was to become a musical partner in crime for 3 years or so. The duo named themselves 'Floatpoint' and released a full length CD by the name of Beam Error in 1994. The label on which it was released was Sun Music out of Holland, and they included tracks by Dan and Phillip on a number of compilations as well. Dan also released a compilation locally by the name of OuterSanctum, which featured tracks by a number of local producers at the time, and was the first cd of its type to be released in Vancouver. Sales were brisk for that compilation as well, especially at Odyssey Imports where it received heavy rotation!!
Phillips' working at Odyssey also brought him into contact with Mike Kandel from the label Exist Dance, which was based in Los Angeles. Phillip called Mike on a whim one day, because he was such a big fan of the 12-inch releases that the independent label was putting out. He and Mike hit it off, and ultimately released a single together on the label, as well as Mike renaming the Floatpoint project "Off and Gone" and releasing a 12-inch of Dan and Phillips' as well. Numerous trips to Mikes' studio were to follow, and eventually Phillip was asked to play drums on Mikes acclaimed album 'Let the Freak Flag Fly'
Dan and Phillip continued writing together and soon had the interest of the electronic music label Harthouse, which agreed to release the full length album of Off and Gone which was called "Everest". A number of 12 inches were also released.
Meanwhile, back in Vancouver, Phillip was becoming more and more involved in the work with Dwayne Goettel via working on a pair of tracks from the final Skinny Puppy album, The Process, as well as a series of improvised jams that were happening at Skinny Puppy's studio which was located just across the street from Odyssey Imports. These jams brought Dwayne and Phillip together with the improvisational team of Kevin Crompton and Mark Spybey, and before everyone's eyes, a new project was born under the name of "Download". The timing was good, because it looked like things were finished for Skinny Puppy, and everyone was looking to stay active and creative, so a series of jams were arranged and then recorded. Soon, the collective were amassing a large assortment of tracks, as well as individual compositions from the various members, and eventually the album "Furnace" was completed. Tragically, the release of this album coincided with the extremely premature death of Dwayne Goettel, and the world lost a programming genius who remains to this day utterly unparalleled.
The relationship between Kevin and Phillip continued however. Phillip found himself in a difficult time after Dwayne's death, and he decided to sell Odyssey Imports, and travel to India for the first of many trips there. While in Asia, he decided to call Kevin, with whom he had not spoken for a few months. Kevin invited Phillip to join him on tour in Europe, where Download was scheduled to be in just a few weeks time. That tour as well as the subsequent US tour was back to back, and the shows proved to be epic events for those who attended. The tours also served the purpose of solidifying the relationship between Phillip and Kevin, and the pair became collaborators over the next several years.
After touring the US and Europe, Phillip and his old friend Tim Hill decided to get together and try to create an album that would celebrate the life of various people in their lives who had died but left an impression on them. It was conceptually designed to be a record about healing and the ways different people attempt to avoid their pain. The album was 6 months in the making, and became "The Escapist" which was released in 1997 to widespread critical acclaim. The record was a mixture of organic elements and techno rhythms and for most people, was a successful distillation of the numerous musical genres that had served as influences for Phillip and Tim up to that point in time.
Phillip and Kevin also continued releasing albums together, and created another alter ego project, Plateau. Download and Plateau released numerous albums and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the electronic and avant-garde music scenes.
Over the past few years, the releases have been plentiful, and Phillip has also worked on numerous projects outside of his own music as a programmer, arranger, producer, engineer, and mixer. His second solo release, Dark Features was released in 2001, and received glowing reviews. His work with Kevin sadly came to its conclusion in 2002, but neither of them are the type to say 'never' so who knows what the future holds? In the meantime, Phillip is about to release his third Record Company release, the eagerly anticipated double CD "Worlds End" which features 14 new songs on its 1st disc and a second disc of entirely ambient music. Fans of Phillips work are certain to love the new CD, which is somewhat of a return to form for the producer, featuring a number of purely electronic tunes. The Record Company is proud to release this cd, as well as launching a wonderful new website, designed by Omar Hashim.