Washington DC duo Benoit & Sergio stand as a two-man live show for a very individual sound. Living up to their reputation as poetic song writers, they've widened their musical boundaries so their beats are slow and low with their sexy spoken vocals sending us to the edge. Taking in inspiration from the wild romance of rock band, Talking Heads to the real four-to-the-floor hedonism of Ricardo Villalobos; the pair have been unveiling the splintering talents of their live performance to the rest of the dance world for just two years, calling their first gig at our Farringdon disco last year their ‘first big show.’
Last year, we saw Benoit & Sergio permeate wonderfully eclectic productions like "Everybody”, "Let Me Count The Ways" and "Walk and Talk" and for this year we’re holding steady for new releases on Hot Natured and Visionquest as well as a debut album on its way. In our catch up interview below they tell us in detail about the album making process and the story behind it. Read on for more, as well as their thoughts about Azari and III, slower tempos and summer vices. We’re also putting their sound into context with their excellent RA podcast from June which they describe perfectly for the site:
"We started it in February during the long Berlin winter, thinking about the summer, imagining ourselves and others on some Halcyon rooftop or beach party. We wanted the podcast to be low-key, melodic, somewhat tropical, a series of waves fellating the shore."
Welcome back Benoit & Sergio. How has everything been since we last spoke a year ago? Can you tell us some of the highlights for you both?
Last year when we played at fabric we were still relatively new to the scene (we still are). fabric was probably our first very big show. Since then we have had many others but the highlight is more general-it's getting to play music and work on music for a living. That's something that never ceases to inspire us. We're grateful for that.
In your opinion, what has been the greatest thing to come out of our electronic music emporium this last year?
There seems to be such an overwhelming, mathematically intimidating surplus of music technology and dance movements etc. Perhaps the greatest thing to come out last year was slower music/tempos-a kind of antidote to the bewildering acceleration of so much else in the music world.
What have been the breakthrough live shows you've seen recently?
We played with Azari and III at a festival in Serbia a couple weeks ago and they were next level. A true show--choreography, fashion, attitude, stage presence and a great sound. Really amazing.
We’re hyped you’ve got a debut album coming out soon. How have you found the album making process so far?
The challenges are legion. We don't have a studio in Europe even though we're usually in Europe touring. Touring also takes up a lot of energy and time that could be dedicated to music. When we get to the studio there aren't many challenges- it's always fun, productive, always bearing ripe plums. But those plums then wither on the branch because we don't feel comfortable making music in Europe for some reason. But we’ve learned the ways of the year – we think. And the time hasn’t lessened our love for those ripe plums; warm and juicy.
Like we've said before, your bio reads about how you don't make dance tracks - you tell stories. So what story does the new album tell?
The album tells the story of someone who has lost touch with a good friend somehow and of how the friend's absence continues to haunt the moods and reflections of the protagonist later in life.
What have been the new inspirations for you since we last spoke? Writing lyrics on the album for example, where does your inspiration come from?
Getting older is a weird form of inspiration but it is nonetheless inspiring. It forces you to reflect on your past and your mistakes and your few and minor triumphs. It forces you to reflect on the future and it’s every encroaching, ever shortening span in your life. It forces you to notice things you don't want to notice about yourself. Also our own friends’ circle and their growth is a constant inspiration for performance and composition. This is a very fertile environment that we are lucky to live in. All of this provides material for music.
Can you tell us some more about your upcoming releases on Hot Natured and Visionquest? What fun have you guys all been having this summer together?
The Hot Natured record is called "Bridge So Far"-there's a track called "$100 BILL" that’s more funk-driven, about going out and looking for trouble. And then there's the quietly epic title track with dreamy but sad vocals.
The Visionquest record is called "New Ships." The title track is a kind of swashbuckling, wild, high-energy number. There's also a bouncy little pop track called "Lipstick and Lace" about going out dancing in a strange town. And then there's a dreamy, Roxy Music tinctured track called "Not In Your Nature" about difficult love.
Regarding summer fun: We played with Jamie Jones for the opening of his residency at DC 10 in July and that was one of the most magical nights we've had. The energy there was incredible and we look forward to something similar with Lee at fabric.
Finally, tell us some of your best summer vices?
Makava and Vodka
North 10th and Wythe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 10 pm, 85 degrees, full of longing.
Delicate, suede tasselled loafers with no socks; or jazz shoes for the inner-city nights. Patrician shorts; tank-tops; decadent vintage Carrera sunglasses for Sergio. Oliver Peoples for Benoit.
"Days" – The Drums
"Gentle Hour" - Yo La Tengo
"Black Savates" - DJ Steef
"Some Things Last A Long Time" - Daniel Johnston
"I'm God" (Instrumental) - Clams Casino
"Real Love" - Wolf+Lamb (unreleased mega jam)
On Saturday 11th June, Benoit & Sergio join Lee Foss, Ryan Crosson and Carsten Klemann in Room One. Wiggle take over Room Two and DJ History in Room Three.