In a world where illegal downloads, cracked software and sync buttons are helping to create swarms of young DJs with bottomless libraries of digital music they’re vaguely familiar with, you might question the role and relevance of the specialist DJ in today’s musical landscape. Not everyone possesses the talent, care and breadth of taste required to project their personality through other people’s records, or to create narratives which transcend dancefloors; Ben UFO is someone who does. Over the years Ben has increased in confidence and proficiency, and in devoting himself to highlighting the shared characteristics between and beyond 2-step garage, dubstep, classic house and techno, he has learned to expertly navigate and bridge tempos and genres in as natural a fashion as possible, allowing tracks from disparate areas to co-exist and function comfortably alongside one another to form a unique and well-defined aesthetic.
Moving to Leeds to study in 2004, Ben applied for a show on student radio but was declined a slot - a setback which he identifies as setting him on his path towards establishing Hessle Audio as a record label and DJing in club environments. As a result he pitched for a show on SubFM alongside David Kennedy (Pearson Sound) and Kevin McAuley (Pangaea), naming the show after the club night he and Kevin had started with several of their friends (Ruffage) in order to promote dubstep in Leeds, at a time when the genre had very little representation outside of London and Bristol. The radio show ran for three years, at which point they were offered a regular slot on RinseFM, where they continue to broadcast twice a month.
In 2007, after finishing university, the three friends started Hessle Audio. The label was formed with the idea of providing a platform for the release of Pangaea and Pearson Sound’s own records, but its scope quickly expanded, resulting in the release of genre-defying records by Objekt, Untold, Cosmin TRG, James Blake, Blawan and more. In May 2009 they started their residency at Fabric, which has been ongoing ever since. The club night reflects what they do as a record label and as DJs, showcasing expansive, varied lineups and drawing connections between artists as diverse as Kassem Mosse, Kode 9, Livity Sound and Randall.
“A release like this seems like a good opportunity to contextualise music for people at a time where information is spread pretty chaotically, and this mix is hopefully a good representation of how the music we release relates to the music we play in clubs," Ben offers when talking of the CD.
"We started our residency at fabric in May 2009, which has been ongoing ever since. By this point the sounds we were incorporating into our sets had diversified – certain strands of house and techno had always been reference points for us, but what really triggered this diversification was the underground house music being made in London, which had become dominant on pirate radio at the time. I saw a lot of aesthetic similarities between this music, the more interesting house and techno coming out of Europe and America at the time, and the music we’d been focusing on with Hessle Audio, and I wanted to try and communicate that with my DJing. The promotional mix I recorded for fabric before our first label takeover of Room Three was one of my first recorded attempts to try and work with all this different music, and to try and bridge tempos in as natural a fashion as possible."
FABRICLIVE 67: Ben UFO will be released on 21st January 2013.
You can pre-order your copy here.
Ben will launch the mix in Hessle Audio hosted Room One on the 11th January 2013 alongside performances from Pearson Sound, Pangaea, Optimo, MMM (Live) and Call Super. For full lineup, tickets and info go here: http://www.fabriclondon.com/club/listing/665