Benga: Dubstep will evolve
Not many can boast forefather status to one of the most prolific (and indeed controversial) musical genres of recent years. Not many, of course, besides Benga. The South London producer, along with fellow innovator Skream, has become a figurehead for dubstep – from the Big Apple Records store days where the movement began, his part in the dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man and the genres recent invasion of the mainstream, Benga has been a guiding force in dubstep’s meteoric rise. On the eve of the announcement that he and Skream have taken up residency at BBC’s legendary Radio 1, we had an all-too-brief chat to the producer about dubstep’s past and present.
How do you feel about dubstep’s crossover to the mainstream?
It’s like, the word ‘mainstream’ just means something’s more popular. It means that a lot of people like the music, so a lot of people are buying it and a lot of people are requesting it. I guess it’s like, I’m not bothered. I’m happy that a lot of people like the music. I don’t want to keep it to myself!
So when is your new solo album coming out and what can we expect from it?
I’ve got an album coming out at the end of April, and it’s got a spread of music on there – like there’s a couple of dance floor tunes, but I’ve kept it quite bass and I wouldn’t say ‘mellow’, but just different to what’s going on at the minute.
Do you feel that the way you make music has changed between now and the Big Apple Records days, due to new technology?
Yes. I guess it’s funny, because I’m finding myself going a little bit more back to hardware and in regards to the way I produce records, it’s a lot of a longer process, because the production level are so high. So it means you spend a lot more time processing the snare, kick-drum, your leads and your synths. So I do spend maybe a day longer than I did before to make tunes.
Yeah, because I remember reading that you and Skream used to record a phenomenal number of tunes every week, do you still make as many as you used to? Do you still have as much time?
Kind of. I guess it’s like, the way I’ve been doing this album it’s not the same process, but when I’m not doing an album I can bang out a song every day or every two days, it’s just because I’ve got to fine-tune it so much on an album I find myself spending a lot more time on it.
Because you really want to perfect it now?
Yeah, definitely. I don’t really want to put out a record that is half-hearted and the same as everyone else.
Have you got used to playing on quite diverse festival bills? Because you’re playing here at Summadayze and I think you and Skream are pretty much the only dubstep act on the bill – what’s that like?
[laughs] Really? Yeah well it’s like, look, whatever. Everyone’s into music at the minute and I guess we represent that in our sets as well because we just go all over the place, we play moombahton, bass, dubstep. It’s like, everyone likes everything so I’m not really bothered by who is on the line-up. And people come to see us, as well.