Ben Men Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Ben. Let’s start with the music that surrounded you growing up and how you then get into Dance Music?

Hi thanks for having me, hope you’re doing well during this crazy period in our lives. I’ve been surrounded by music as far as I can remember, my grand-mother was piano teacher, my father always played at home jazz, soul and classical music. Naturally I went to study piano and music theory at the conservatory until I was teenager. I’m a natural born raver due to do my deep link with England, I spent many times over there and discovered in late 80’s, London rave scene, Soho and Camden records shops, pirate radios, the golden era. I’ve always been into music, vinyl digging, hanging in every record shop.

How would you describe the ethos behind the label you co-founded BTRAX Records? And how do you see the future of record labels in light of steaming etc?

Founded in Paris 2003, BTRAX records is me, my brother Rob Malone and a friend association, our guideline has always been music & friendship first. We start as vinyl dealer with 3 record shops from 1996 to 2002 in Paris. We worked as distributors with partners like Submerge, Hardwax, Prime… With a strong background rich of experiences as record dealers, djs, party organizers at Rex Club (2001-2019 residency), we produced reputed international artists such as the legendary Scan 7 of Detroit, Dj Mau Mau from Brazil, Mr C, Vince Watson, Scan X, Julian Jewel, Orlando Voorn, Thomas Barnett…

Music industry is currently undergoing waves upon waves of change. Streaming has risen in the past several years as a viable alternative, and more and more relationships are being built between streaming platforms and labels, between musicians and their fans. As wax lover, I feel happy to see vinyl industry rebound since few years. I always felt that the old-school analogue audio provided by vinyl sounded superior to digital audio, especially the lossy compressed digital formats used by streaming services.

buy Ben Men – Pequetita https://fanlink.to/eqtB

Can you talk us through how you produced your excellent new single, Pequetita? Do you have any favorite software / hardware you always like use when producing music?

“Pequetita” is dedicated to the street that houses Paulista Lov.E Club & Lounge in São Paulo Brasil. One of the most iconic and famous nightclub of the city, my first gig in Brazil 1998 was there for Lov Express night. A first vinyl tribute was made in 2004 with the LOV.E CLUB EP produced by DJ Mau Mau and remixed by Mr. C himself. 16 years later, we return with brazilian countrymen Dj Mau Mau, Anderson Noise and Mumbaata for hot and tropical remixes. Process to select remixers was easy, we are friends, knowing each other since decades and willing to celebrate once again this club and what it brings to Paulista and Brazilian electronic music scene.

Analog is warmer, I’m hardware lover! Studio core is based on Live Ableton functioning as a recorder, mixer with my Softube Console 1 setup using Universal Audio interfaces with UAD, FabFilter plugins for equalization, tape emulation, effects. Main gear is my old Akai MPC 3000 midi connected to the amazing E-RM Multiclock with a bunch of vintage keyboards, Roland Juno’s, D50, Yamaha DX7/100 and Akai samplers. I also love plugins like Roland cloud which is impressive and Arturia V Collection to name a few.

Tell us about the striking photograph used cover of the release? The artwork / graphics for the label are always stunning, can you tell us about where that love of Art came from?

It’s a shot from the Edifício Copan (Copan Building) designed by Oscar Niemeyer’s office in São Paulo 1952. The original project envisioned two buildings, the other being a hotel, but in the end only the residential building was built. My father was an architect and he gave me this love for art in general. I work as freelance graphic designer, web developer and motion designer since 2008, it was natural for me to shape visually our music, party projects.

How do you see the return to nightclubs and club culture after the absence caused by Covid-19? Do you think there will be any significant changes because of it all?

COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every aspect of people’s lives in an unprecedented manner. I’d like to hope the joy of discovery in music, of actually feeling it, returns. It is likely to be some time before enjoyment of pre-coronavirus nightlife returns. If club culture is not possible until there is a vaccine, situation will be “devastating” for nightclubs which have been silenced by pandemic.

Can you tell us about your involvement with Delighted?

Delighted is friend’s project, we met at Rex Club where he manage communication & media relations. It’s a house and techno culture web zine, offering daily review of the latest musical releases, the agendas of upcoming events in the Paris region. I helped him to rebrand the magazine, booking agency visual. I’m taking care of web magazine as webmaster and art director.

Outside of Dance Music are there any artists, writers, painters etc who inspire what you do?

I would say Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, John Fante, Claude Monnet, Vasarely but there’s so many more! Experiencing the art evokes our emotions and touches different parts of our souls and minds, it’s essential.

What for you is the essence of great music?

Difficult question, I would say humbly the essence of great music is a rather philosophical concept with no real right or wrong. This said, music is an important part of our life as it is a way of expressing our feelings as well as emotions. It plays a very important role in bringing people together, there’s only one language we can all understand: the language of music. It lets your imagination flow and that’s obviously a good thing for creativity and health. Like Stevie Wonder said “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it”.

Why in your opinion is Rex Club so important to Paris? How would you describe the experience of DJ’ing there?

Rex Club has shape part of Parisian club culture, after having offered disco music in the 1970s, then rock and new wave in the 1980s, its programming has been oriented towards electronic music since the early 1990s. It is considered today as one of the high places of electronic music in Paris and France. I played there from 2001 to 2019, Christian Paulet and Fabrice Gadeau always paid attention to high quality sound systems, cutting edge programmation with no compromise. I love the not so big club capacity (800 people), no vip area, Dj’ing there is really special due to clubber’s requirement and musical culture. Rex Club is one of the Parisian clubs which has kept a soul and an authenticity through the ages.

And finally. What are you looking forward to most in 2021?

I hope to be able to travel again, looking to go back to Brazil, Bali see our friends and help my brother’s surf foundation project.

Producing and working on our labels, BTRAX records will release in February my brother’s EP “Exit D” btx018 with stunning remixes from Orlando Voorn & Thomas Barnett and April my first LP “Paradigm shift” btx019 focusing on IDM, electronica and techno. Our house label 45RDB Records will release in February our second BROZ Inc EP “Bass Yo Face” with remix from windy city legend Mr. K Alexi Shelby.

We are working on MONDO DINGO records, new label focusing on deep house with live musicians. First release “AfroJazz” mdr01 will be ready January 2021 with Brazilian musician & producer from Rio de Janeiro Pinaud, with remixes from french house producer Peter Raw and Raw Analog Funk (Project run by myself and my brother with additional live musicians). Later we intend to develop a Bandcamp sub-label to produce jazz, soul, funk, reggae, urban musical projects, stay tuned!

Merry XMAS y’all! Peace & guidance 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/benmendj
BROZ Inc
45RDB records
BTRAX records
ROBBEN

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Vince Watson – Via – The Mixes – Everysoul

Returning to Vince Watson’s 2018 Via album this set of remixes carves out fresh interpretations featuring luminaries of the calibre of Joe Clausell, Osunlade, Steve Bug & Langenberg plus Manoo. For me it’s the latter’s sting in the tail as repeating synth lines, accompanied by an assortment of rousing strings and piano, capture that rare essence. Likewise is the Bug and Langenberg version which sequences a funky shimmer into the climax of building, stabbing keys assisted by the gentle soar of atmospheric pads.

twitter @vincewatson

buy https://www.diggersfactory.com/vinyl/229060/vince-watson-via-the-mixes-ep1
https://www.diggersfactory.com/vinyl/229117/vince-watson-via-the-mixes-ep2

https://soundcloud.com/vincewatson/sets/via-the-mixes-previews
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Vince Watson – Another Rendezvous/ Dakota – Make it Better – Yoruba Records

Another reason why great music is still as vibrant as it ever was. Take Vince Watson’s beautifully realised, poignant and very musical offering. Let’s start at this point as Another Rendezvous journey’s across emotive landscapes taking in heart-warming piano, soulful percussion and a sense of occasion that truly serves its ten plus minutes in duration. Put it this way, you leave the experience feeling better than when you began it. On the flipside Dakota and Osunlade’s vocals fuse together over more typically rhythm and bluesy grooves on Make it Better while soulfully satisfying the quest for a song.

Release: April 6

http://yorubarecords.net

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Steve Bug & Langenberg – NGC 6240 – Poker Flat Recordings

Lifted from his the current album Paradise Sold this joint collaboration alongside Langenberg seeks out an urgency that becomes all too apparent depending on the numbers. From one aspect the undulating stabs feel like haunting, atmospheric ruminations. Yet viewed from another the reoccurring, sizzling Acid lines are purely fierce, cutting determinedly through the airwaves backed-up by a single strident kick drum. Never one to underplay the power of music in all its forms NGC 6240 supplies and then satisfies the demand for invigorating moments. Remixes come from Tim Engelhardt who lifts the rhythms skyward adding hints of melody amid the rush of synthesized keys. Plus, from Vince Watson who inevitably stokes the fire igniting the array of stabs punctuating and building the tension in expert fashion.

Release: February 23

http://www.pokerflat-recordings.com
https://soundcloud.com/pokerflatrecordings/sets/steve-bug-langenberg-ngc-6240

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Reviews: 143

Single of the Week

Vince Watson
Eminesence EP
Yoruba

Eminesence 1500x1500Stunning release from the label sees Vince Watson’s opening track, A Moment With Lonnie surpass itself via an outstanding intro of gorgeous instrumental ambience that you just don’t want to stop. Eminesence, happens next with juicy House bass joined by funky percussion which soon expands itself into yet more blissful musicality, and then onto Calypso with its punchy vibes providing an alternative uplifting experience. Under The Skin completes the sequence with a tastefully jazzy inflected score that is round-about note perfect for the coming spring evenings.

Vinyl Release Date: 02-03-2015
Digital Release: 09-03-2015

https://www.facebook.com/vincewatsonmusic
http://yorubarecords.net

Shiba San
Planet Floor
DIRTYBIRD

Once you get past the deeply unsettling cover then this bass driven cut is a joy to behold. First up are the addictive, sizzling drums which are soon complimented by those compelling Chicago-style deep tones, plus the odd touch of vocal and slightly twisted keys for added extra measure. Show Me, Show Me, follows with even more unfeasibly big basslines which are this time accompanied by standout piano and pumping beats, along with a twisted breakdown that certainly reaches a peak. Either way, a completely first-rate experience.

Release: February 23
https://www.facebook.com/shiba.san

https://soundcloud.com/dirtybirdrecords/shiba-san-planet-floor-preview

Mobilee Back To Back Vol. 9 – presented by Re.You

mobileeCompiling and celebrating their tenth year in existence the Berlin based label certainly has plenty to share in terms of both depth and excellence. Reshaped and remodeled by Re.You this two disc experience gives everything and more care off the sonically charged music contained with the first disc highlighting 2014. For me, if it was even Anja Schneider’s outstanding ‘Jimmy’ and Lee Van Dowski excellent ‘050504’ on a loop I’d be more than happy, but of course the label is about so much more with tracks from the likes of  Rodriguez Jr. and Ross Evans all feeling vital and contemporary. Re.You then comes into his own on the second disc by deconstructing and then re-imaging a handful of Mobilee’s back catalogue which are then reconstructed into two 30 minute mixes. Add to that excitement some brand new remixes along with hot Ninetoes collaboration, ‘Union’ and Volume 9 clearly makes for essential listening.

Release date: February 27

http://www.mobilee-records.de/
https://www.facebook.com/re.youmusic

Bravofox
Spyderman EP
Wiggle

Been around since Christmas (remember that) and having just been brought to my attention it would be amiss not to reignite your attention on this. Combining irresistible, dark smoky bass alongside Jamie Porteous’ teasing, breathy vocals which lend this great production a tantalising sheen on title track, Spyderman. Next comes the deeper, equally compelling Inside which plays meandering synth lines against sassy rhythms, and again feels lush and inviting. Next please.

Buy https://pro.beatport.com/release/spyderman-ep/1424492
https://www.facebook.com/bravofoxmusic

https://soundcloud.com/wiggle-london/sets/wig068-bravofox-spyderman-ep

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Reviews:139

Single of the Week

Vince Watson
Déjà vu EP
Poker Flat Recordings

In the course of celebrating a 20 plus years history the label releases this excellent number from Vince Watson. The title track ticks all the right buttons with emotive chords underpinning a relatively restrained Acid bassline and comes complete with a lush breakdown that sets the pulse racing. And to highlight just how effective it all is Déjà vu also features a Beatless and Ambient Mix which both accentuate the track’s sensual nature, with the radiant ambience of the later feeling particularity rewarding care of the well placed piano motif. Illusion, meanwhile provides a tougher affair for the dancefloor with hissing hi-hats accompanied by a more intense array of punchy keys, while label founder Josh Wink’s funky percussion led remix aims high with pounding musicality reaching an eventual deeper climax on what is undoubtedly a first rate version.

www.vincewatson.co.uk
www.ovumrecordings.com

https://soundcloud.com/vincewatson/sets/vince-watson-deja-vu-ep-ovum

Little By Little
Bang The Box EP
Defected Records

Great title (of course) and reflects the banging nature of House Music with this irresistible workout from the Frenchman. Bang The Box, features taught, explosive bass lines plus the chopped-up vocals of the same name and then proceeds to twist them all together delivering highly flammable material. Second track, ‘Stress’ applies nastier bass to pumping drums along with wobbly synths and once again comes up smiling. Simple yet deadly.

Release: January 19

https://soundcloud.com/defectedrecords/sets/little-by-little-bang-the-box-ep-edits-1

Roland Appel
Zeus
Inside Out Records

An explosive sonically charged barrage from Roland Appel has the title track feel every bit as great as that sounds with dark bass and beats, weird synths and Acid attitude all combining most conveniently into a sizzling collage of sounds. The funkier, Da Cat follows with heavier bass accompanied by sometimes warmer, sometimes harsher keys that are all high on impact and lend the track its distinctive, notably edgy flavour.

Release: January 26

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roland-Appel/123904200961246?sk=timeline

https://soundcloud.com/insideoutrec/sets/zeus-ep

Monoblok&PSLKTR
Relapse EP
Meant Records

Love this from Monoblok&PSLKTR who defiantly throw the rule book out of the window while delivering an icily cool production complete with addictive deadpan vocals and unsettling synthesizers. Relapse, even features a rocky guitar, live action bass and is most effective via the excellent original mix. Remixes come from a pulsating Rework version, and the sizzling electronics of My Favorite Robot. Next, Walking Disaster supplies another great original with further cool vocals alongside sassy keyboards and decadent 80’s attitude. Arnaud Rebotini’s remix of the same completes with a more robust version beefing it all up nicely.

https://www.facebook.com/MonoblokPslktr

https://soundcloud.com/meant/sets/monoblokpslktr-relapse-ep-meant021

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