A quick history of Benga...
Already in his fifteenth year of making music, Benga made his first track on Fruity Loops at the age of 9 before taking up DJing at 11 years-old. Three years later he wondered into Croydon’s eponymous Big Apple record shop with his rude boy mates and announced, “I can DJ better than him.” The ‘him’ was Hatcha, who, alongside Artwork and DMZ are widely credited with conceiving Dubstep. Artwork and Hatcha were amused; they gave the cocky teenager a shot at spinning in the shop, and seeing his prodigious talents, signed him on the spot to Big Apple Records. Over the next few years, Benga and his friend Oliver ‘Skream’ Jones’s creations could be heard during Hatcha’s sets at seminal night FWD>>. Benga Beats: Volume 1 and Newstep established him as a serious soundscaper, though it was 2008’s Night, with DMZ’s Coki that became one of Dubstep’s definitive anthems.
Since Night and his acclaimed 2008 album Diary Of An Afro Warrior, Benga has propelled club music in many directions. There’s always bass – plenty of it - but he refuses to be limited by a sound or scene. Benga has done big business with subterranean basslines, evocative instrumentation and undeniable choruses, placing him in the upper echelons of producer/ remixers working right now. “They can call it whatever they wanna call it, I'm not afraid to say that my music's Dubstep.” he insists. “I've always made this mental music and I made music that's accessible. I love to use hooks because I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, real music. That's why I made music in the first place.”
26 Basslines, Skank/ Dose, Crunked Up, Baltimore Clap and Katy B’s On A Mission form an incredible cannon of music that has emerged from the mind of this musical genius. Since those early days of Big Apple and FWD>>, Benga has worked with everyone from Kelis to Katy B, remixed Example and The Prodigy and DJ’d quite literally all over the world; his stage-diving antics helping to propel Dubstep from the domain of bedroom DJs to the most in-demand clubs from Sydenham to Sydney. It’s pretty much actual fact that you need to book a day off life after experiencing a Benga set. “Crowdsurfing in the London Eye, that was a good one,” he laughs of his exuberant, energetic approach to DJing. “It was nothing we ever planned to do. It was just natural for me and Skream to get smashed before a show; I was turning up to places and people were telling me I was more rock and roll than rock and rollers!”.
Funny, bright, charismatic, and like all genius musicians, a bit mad, Benga’s enigmatic personality shines both behind the decks and within his music.
In 2010, alongside Artwork and Skream, Benga formed Magnetic Man and signed to Sony/ Columbia. Their self-titled debut featured an eclectic roster of vocalists including Ms. Dynamite, P Money and John Legend and won the trio fans from the NME to Pop Matters. Now signed as a solo artist to Sony/ Columbia, Benga is ready to take his sound even further with his new album, Chapter 2.
“I don't see myself as a producer anymore,” he states. “I see myself as a scientist.”
At its core, Chapter 2 is electronic music with emotion. Making the skeleton of a beat in around an hour, Benga might be inspired by everything from moving house to taking over the world. “It all ends up in there somehow,” he nods.
We'll keep adding to this as the story unfolds...
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