Five Minutes with...Ben UFO

The rise of the Hessle Audio label has been well documented with in depth feature pieces appearing, along side guest mixes, on Resident Advisor and to a lesser extent FACT magazine. But reading ‘words’ about the minimal strains of percussion fused dubstep the collective have released serves little justice for the wealth and seemingly extensive catalogue they’ve accumulated over 8 releases. To get a real feel for their output you have to listen to the music super loud, in a dark room, surrounded by bodies swaying rhythmically with the occasional enthusiastic whoop screaming out of somewhere in the void of bodies behind you.

Guided by Ramadanman, Pangaea and Ben UFO the collective formed up in Leeds (although none of them still reside there) and have so far released their own productions alongside works from Joe, TRG, Untold and remixes by Martyn.

We recently sat down with Ben UFO for a quick cuppa...

Who are you?
My name is Ben UFO, I’m a DJ and I run Hessle Audio with Ramadanman and Pangaea. We founded the label in Leeds, but none of us currently live there.

How did you get into DJing/dubstep/etc?
I got into DJing through listening to music and buying vinyl. I was buying vinyl for about a year before I got turntables, just because it was the only format around for the music I was listening to. I’d listen to the tunes on my Dad’s gramophone. As I was building up this collection it seemed like a logical step to learn to mix so I got some cheap turntables and tried to teach myself.

I was into old jungle and left of centre drum and bass primarily, but got into dubstep through hearing people like Toasty. The breaks driven side of dubstep was my access point.

Your sets are so scattered across genres, what do you think it is that unites the music in your sets? Do you look for tracks that weave well together or is it more of a challenge to MAKE them work?
It’s a bit of both. I think generally speaking UK dance music is a lot more flexible than people assume, and the way music has become so accessible recently makes it easier to establish sonic connections between scenes that are socially removed from each other.

I think dubstep progressed so quickly partially because so many of the DJs who’ve been in it from the beginning were really focused and single minded in their vision for music, and after hearing those kind of sets for so long it’s natural for people to think of the music as this totally separate, single entity. That’s a cool approach but I’m glad there are newer DJs pushing through linking different sounds and experimenting with different kinds of blends, it feels like the right time.

What’s next for the label?
We try not to plan too far ahead. We have ideas but we take it one release at a time.

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