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

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.

benmen · Ben Men “HOUZ FLAVA” Autumn Fall Session – 45RDB records

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 🙂
45RDB records
BTRAX records

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