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BEN GRUNNELL – LA FAMILIA’S FINEST & CLUB EGG LONDON RESIDENT

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Hey hello hello. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I wanted to start by talking about your local scene.

What’s it like for electronic music? A lot different than the usual Berlin, Ibiza , etc I imagine?

 

BEN: It is very very different! I live in a small city in the UK called Derby, so the scene is very small. But it has a small group of people who really love music, love partying and love people, and a few promoters who make a big effort to keep the underground scene alive.

 

When did you first become interested in electronic music then?

 

BEN: When I was younger I lived in London, and was originally studying popular music at university, playing the bass guitar and the piano. But when I was in London, one of my best friends had heard about a club called Fabric…..and so we went to Fabric, which remains my favourite club. My first ever night listening to electronic music just happened to be Luciano at Fabric, circa 2008, when he used to play the most incredible micro-house. I was hooked!

 

What do you remember most fondly about the scene in your home town?

 

BEN: I remember when I met two close friends who were discovering house/techno, we were frustrated that we couldn’t go out and listen to this kind of music. There was a little bit of deep house, but it wasn’t really the European sound we loved…..so we all put in some money, bought a sound-system, and used to hold the most ridiculous house parties so we could play our sound…..thankfully my friends were just renting the house, because the parties were just crazy!

 

Which notorious dj had a big influence on you then?  What others DJs were too?

 

BEN: I think this is a difficult question, because one of the problems today is people try to copy other too much. But I remember when I was first in London, my best friend and I had a couple of early Marco Carola EPs on Minus from 2008, so about 6 years ago now. But he was not really playing in the UK, as this was before he got super-famous, so we got on a bus going to Holland just so we could hear Marco play in Rotterdam. He’s just an interesting DJ because relatively, his sound has stayed very pure in the last 6/7 years. Percussive, funky and bass driven. Apart from Marco, hearing old Craig Richards sets in Fabric were amazing, as well as Rhadoo, who for me is up there with the best DJs in the world.

 

Tell us about your future plans? Upcoming labels , releases?

 

BEN: Well I have an EP coming out on Natural Rhythm which I can’t wait for, and two other EPs on the way…..however, I can’t say too many details, as they are new labels and projects, so people will just have to wait and see. Generally though, I am focusing on building good relationships with just a few good labels.

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If you would pick 5 tunes what would be those?

 

BEN: A difficult question, but I would probably go for these 5:

 

Robert Babicz – Astor (Glimpse Remix)

Clarissa Hazel Duo – Face

Ricardo Villalobos – Dexter

M83 – In Church

Moby – My Weakness

 

How do u do your own musical selection : Do you follow some producers or select what comes and goes?

 

BEN: I am very particular. I follow labels more than producers, because good labels will always give new talent a chance, so it’s a great way to find new things. As well, I make an effort to play older music, rather than constantly searching for new music all the time. Music moves so fast now, that sometimes a track that is 2 years old can sound fresher than a track that will be released next month! I am always going back through my collection to old tracks. After all, If you buy a track, it should be a track you will always want to play.

 

Do you have your own label ? If not do you plan to open one?

 

BEN: I don’t have my own label, no. I think if you are going to start a label, you have to have a reason, and you have to do it properly. This takes time, money, dedication, and a purpose.  So many new labels now, they are just so lazy, just there so producers can say “I have a label”. Right now, I am focusing on making music, and if the time comes when I feel I can genuinely contribute a label which is worth being in the scene, then I will do.

 

You will release your music on vinyl too, I believe. Is it a medium that you very much still support and believe in?

 

BEN: I think it is nice that people still support it, but unfortunately it is very difficult to maintain now-a-days. I don’t play vinyl in the club, it is just too impractical to do now-a-days. I personally buy all my music as a WAV, so this is maybe 3 euros for a track. When you think that vinyl is maybe 10 euros for 3 tracks, it is actually more expensive to buy WAVs, but I live in my computer, I love being able to take the music anywhere and play it on anything. I have a little music on vinyl, but this is only when the music is not released on digital.

 

Dj set or live set?

 

BEN: DJ Set

 

Tell us a bit about your gear? What do you use for mixing / live set?

 

BEN: I play using Traktor Scratch now. It’s the perfect blend between old-school feel and modern technology.

 

Clubs or festivals?

 

BEN: Clubs

 

One gig that u never forgot?

 

BEN: Playing the Egg Birthday party in London. Egg is one of the biggest clubs in London, and I am lucky enough to be a resident there for the Familia Party. The birthday party this year was just amazing…..I originally aiming to play a slow, gentle warm-up set, but the crowd was full from the very beginning, and they were dying for a party right from the beginning!

 

Why do you think that Ibiza is so special?

 

BEN: I think just the fact that you have all the DJs in one place at the same time, the creative energy begins to flow and grow through the season. I know some people think it is bad that people like Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola have left Cocoon and started there own parties, people say there are maybe too many parties…..but I think that these new parties have allowed new DJs to rise, people like Leon and Re-Up at Music On, Bella Sarris and Paco Osuna at Enter. If things always stayed the same, no-one new would ever get the chance to play. It will be an interesting few years now for Ibiza, because some parties will need to develop and keep fresh.

 

Is a new wave now in industry: doing collaborations between producers . I also wanted to ask you about your collaborations?. Have u done those? With whom?

 

BEN: I have only done one collaboration, but it is still in the early stages, so I cannot say who with. I normally like to just work by myself, I work very slow sometimes with music and take my time.

 

From where do u get your inspirations?

 

BEN: My emotions. Music has to come from inside you, so I write what I feel.

 

Finally, what more can we look forward to from you over the next while?

 

BEN: I will continue my residency in London for Familia at Egg, which I am incredibly fortunate to  be a part of. From the studio, some new EPs and maybe a few new remixes…..people will have to wait and see!!

 

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