Profile - Benga
Occupation DJ and producer who, alongside Tempa labelmate and childhood friend Skream, has been operating at the forefront of dubstep since the genre emerged.
Where’s he from? Croydon, Greater London, where Benga started making a name for himself aged 15 with releases on DJ Hatcha’s influential Big Apple label. Hatcha would regularly play Benga’s material at Forward >>, the club which, alongside The Digital Mystikz’s DMZ, performed a pivotal role in the development of the dubstep sound.
What next? In 2005 Skream’s ‘Midnight Request Line’ became the calling card that alerted many in the wider club music community to the existence of dubstep, but it was the release of Benga’s ‘Night’ (recorded with Coki of Digital Mystikz) that gave dubstep its first bona fide smash.
What might I have heard? ‘Night’ was one of last year’s defining club tracks, its distinctive, nagging refrain finding favour with innumerable DJs from across the club music spectrum. Diary of an Afro Warrior, the album from which ‘Night’ was taken was also incredibly successful, featuring further club wreckers such as the awesome ‘26 Basslines’, while the album’s compelling textures and persistent melodies hinted at the possible crossover potential of dubstep.
Benga toured relentlessly throughout last year, playing dozens of solo shows, and performing with Skream as part of Magnetic Man. Having decided to take a break from DJing at the start of this year, Benga has used his time off to find fresh inspiration and record new material: ‘I’ve been listening to all sorts when I’ve been out raving, wandering into different rooms, picking up on little things that different people are doing; I’ve had time to sit down and do a few different sounding things, you know, experiment. I’m just trying to carry on being creative.’
Benga plays Volume! at Faith, Edinburgh, Sat 21 Feb.