As a pivotal member of one of the UK’s most exciting labels, Benton is an artist who by all accounts has come a long way both as a producer and DJ since dropping his first release a short five years ago. In that time the London producer’s gone from emerging out of the mold of unknown experimental producer who played out the odd night, to an integral part of a crop of producers set on showcasing their own unique sound that’s indefinable and knows no boundaries.
For those out of touch, that label is Swamp 81; Loefah’s innovative all conquering imprint born out of frustration with the direction of the Dubstep scene. It’s a platform that’s garnered huge support and strength since its inception predominantly for its vibrant sound that’s unrestricted by parameters in both it’s production and aesthetic output that fundamentally, knows how to put on the best parties.
One man who typifies these qualities is bourgeoning South Londoner Benton. As a fervent supporter of Jungle MC snippets, distinctive early 90’s drum patterns and the type of Jungle driven basslines more frequently associated with 1993, his sound epitomises the spirit of traditional warehouse rave music. That ethos translates seamlessly into his dj sets, which through the strength of uncompromising selection pack some of the weightiest punches (watch his Boiler Room set here) you’re likely to hear.
With a clutch of releases forthcoming as well as the man responsible for one of last year’s biggest anthem’s ‘The Callin’ released via his own label Benton Beats we caught up with the producer ahead of his set alongside the Swamp 81 crew at Bristol’s legendary Motion this Saturday (16th May) to discuss the preparation that goes into his sets, how the affiliation with Swamp transpired & previous memories of playing at one of the UK’s most respected venues.
Words with Benton..
• First off thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. In typically Swamp 81 style you emerged on the scene during the Dubstep boom, what were your thoughts as the scene diminished? Was your progression away from that style a natural one?
Easy! Yeah I guess it was kind of natural, I wouldn’t say the scene diminished, just changed. The scene (as I know it) is still going strong today! I got a bit bored playing out dubstep and thought it was time for a change.
• Growing up what were you listening to and when did you start getting into the production side of things?
Growing up I was mainly listening to Hardcore / Jungle, but also a lot of Garage and then Grime. I started producing around 2007, just messing about on Fruity. I never thought I was a producer until I got on Logic, I tried going to college to learn more but only 1 lesson a week was actually in front of a computer making beats, apparently you can’t just turn up to that one either
• How did your affiliation with Swamp 81 come about?
The Swamp81 guys have always been close pals of mine, from DMZ parties, mutual friends through the scene and that. The gang have always inspired me with their music and parties so it was sort of a natural transition into the swamp
• Over the years Swamp 81 have given us some unforgettable memories, for us the Outlook parties spring to mind. Looking back what’s been your personal highlights?
For me personally it was probably one of the Heaven raves on bank holiday, Sunday night and EVERYONE was out, proper vibe!
• Your sets are renowned for mixing it up, what sort of preparation goes into a Benton set? Or is it simply down to your mood at the time?
Sometimes I’ll sit down and make a set up, mainly for London, ‘cos I know they’re watching what I’m playing the most! It’s hard to follow though, ‘cos i’ll try reading the crowd or the mood in the room. Then again I might just wanna hear something myself and play it.
• Speaking of set’s you’re a part of an absolutely massive night with Swamp 81 and Exit Records at Motion next month, do you have any memories of night’s there?
Motion always smashes it every time I go there (even if I’m not playing). I’m sure it’ll hold many memories, or bumps on my head from THAT set of stairs. Hearing Loefah play The Callin’ last time we were there was mental n all…
• With the festival season fast approaching where are you most looking forward to playing?
Born & Bred! All the gang are there on one stage not to mention the other 3 stages having a HUGE line up as well. I’m at Glastonbury as well this year, which will be a good one.
• And last but not least can you fill us in on what’s next for Benton? We’re hoping (praying) for some new music soon.
Well me and Loefah have started a new label called ‘Benton Beats’ (BBS) the first release ‘The Callin’ came out in October last year. We’re putting the final touches on ‘Brian’, which is set for release very soon! We have a lot more exciting stuff happening with it, I’m sure you’ll hear more about in due course!
Big up! See you at Motion.
Catch Benton with Swamp 81 playing alongside Exit Records at Motion in Bristol this Saturday 16’th May. Remaining tickets can be found here.