TDM Interviews: Benga...

Benga is a name that rings out among the thousands of producers of dubstep, today. Whether his collaborative efforts with longtime friend Skream, his contribution to Magnetic Man or his own previous solo work, Benga has made his place in dubstep with songs such as “Smack Your Bitch Up” which he is solidifying with his new album, Chapter 2 being released on Columbia Records. We got to catch up with Benga at Parklife 2012, an Australian festival, thanks to, our TDM representative, Missy (who also did our recent Chromeo one, too!) Scheinberg!

TDM: Could you tell us a bit on what to expect from your upcoming album ‘Chapter 2’?

Benga: I was writing for over the course of about a year. …The album tracks…seventeen, it’s
called “You Know”, it’s kind of a bit funk, it’s weird, it’s mental. Great, big stuff. Then it goes
quite a bit vocal and I’ve got seven vocal tracks on there, one of them… off the album, but things
change every week. I dunno, it’s the evolution of me trying to conquer a world that I haven’t yet
conquered.

TDM: How does it feel to be releasing it under a major record label (Columbia Records)?

Benga: Really good, I mean, I know that they’re gonna do really well by me. I mean, they did
pretty well by Magnetic Man, so they should do fine by me. I guess, the key thing for this album
is they’re gonna reach an audience that I probably wouldn’t have reached, or at least not as
quickly, do you know what I mean? It’ll give me a jump or a push, which I kind of need.

TDM: Going back to Magnetic Man, now that it has been two years since the album
release, will we hear more from you guys soon?

Benga: A hundred percent! We started writing a new album, so I was thinking we could finish it
by the end of the year and have it out at the beginning of next year.

TDM: We’re obviously excited for your set at Parklife where you’re billed as “Benga Live”
– what is a Benga Live set compared to a Benga DJ set? Is there anyone you’re hoping to
catch at Parklife?

Benga: Ok cool, my live show consists of… I’m gonna break it down really quickly: …songs via
stems, which gives me a lot of control… the bass line, the top line… I can make two different
top lines… you know when you DJ you don’t have control of the track. Here I have control of
each and every bit of the song…

TDM: There has been a lot of talk about most current DJ’s just “pressing play”. We’re
sure you have heard about the comments made by Deamau5 on Rolling Stone, or A-Trak’s
retort to the matter on the Huffington post. We just want to know how you feel about this
idea that as the DJ is becoming more and more of a pop culture figure now, there seems
to be pressure to play more popular tunes & rely on extravagant light shows instead of
crafting intelligent sets and expose people to new music. Do you feel that Deadmau5 was
wrong to say that all DJs just press play at some point in their careers?

Benga: Well, he’s actually not wrong: a lot of DJs nowadays don’t do anything, which – I dunno,
it’s not to say every DJ is doing this, but I’m not mad, because a lot of people do do that. I mean
I don’t see… saying that… if you actually watch A-Trak and guys like that, they are exceptional.
I’ve never ever done a set prepackaged, where I just press play: I go up and I actually vibe off
the crowd and play tunes that I think will work.

TDM: Have you heard the Justin Bieber dubstep song ‘As Long As You Love Me’?
What are your thoughts on the heavy mainstream attention that the dubstep genre is now
receiving? And similarly, how do you feel about the constant Brostep vs. Dubstep debate?

Benga: Yeah, I produced it, I love it!

TDM: You love it?

Benga: I produced it.

TDM: You did?

Benga: Hahahaha no, I’m joking. When it comes to this kind of thing, everyone does what’s
popular – especially those popular artists… But in terms of the whole brostep vs. dubstep thing,
I didn’t even know that was still going on: I thought people would just learn to accept. I think
that’s a big problem in this world today: people who don’t learn how to accept things, because if
people just accepted things, things would move on a lot quicker. That’s my two cents. I also want
my two cents back after this phone call.

TDM: Hahaha. Who are some up and coming producers that we should look out for?

Benga: A hundred percent. My big tip of 2013 will have to be Disclosure: they’re my favorite at
the moment.

TDM: Could you explain the vision behind your latest music video, Pour Your Love?

Benga: I think that if there’s anything that I’m gonna do around this album, is give everyone pure
honesty and tell everyone how I felt. I actually had a different vision for that video for Pour Your
Love. I liked a bit that the director did previously, he came up with the idea, and we just knew
that we were kind of running out of time and couldn’t try and put together the idea that I had,
because that wouldn’t have started shooting until now. You kind of end up going against your
direction. I mean, I like it, but it’s not originally what I wanted.

TDM: What are your thoughts on this new emerging sub-genre of EDM, Trap? Most of
the time, it looks like it’s around 140 bpm. Are you into it?

Benga: Yeah, I like it. I like a lot of it, but I mean, I also don’t like a lot of it, it’s like anything
these days. Thing is you get good and bad music from every genre. I dunno, but I like some of
it. I like Baauer, and I like a couple of hits… some album produced… I’m trying to think of a
track…

TDM: Well Benga, we don’t want to take much more of your time, or your 2 cents, so we
really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us here at The Drop Media and are
extremely excited for your future productions and upcoming album!

Benga: Thanks guys!

No, thank you Benga!

- TDM

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