In anticipation of his upcoming perfomance in New York at Electric Zoo in a few weeks, we caught up with Mr. Electroman himself Benny Benassi. The living legend was one of the few who started it all. With arguably the most famous track in EDM today, Benassi is still on the road selling out stadiums worldwide. With a spot in every major festival’s headlining set we wanted to chance to ask him about the past present and future.
Hometown: Reggio Emilia, Italia
Years Djing/Producing: 20 years
Who has influenced you throughout the years?
Very many people from Ennio Morricone and Carl Cox to Pink is Punk who are coming with me on huge tour in October – there’s loads of new talent coming through.
Whats your Current favorite track?
It changes every time I put my Ipod on!
Whats your most used Dj effect?
Smiling while I spin
What is your music background?
My earliest inspirations were eighties electro-pop. I started my career as a house deejay. Alle is a classically trained musician and when he started making music with me, he had a weak spot for techno music. We learned our craft in a small town in northern Italy, Reggio Emilia, which had an amazing output of Italian house productions, so there was already a scene present. “Satisfaction” was the watershed. On that track, Alle gets all the credit for the riff; at the time, he invented a unique way to use compressors in the studio, which gave the track that signature pumping sound. When we cut the track, we knew it would do fairly well in the clubs and become a favorite with niche deejays playing early electro-house music. When “Satisfaction” exploded, that is when I became an “electroman”.
What motivated you to enter this area of the music business?
I always wanted to be a DJ, the stimulus to be creative and work with new writers and singers motivated me most.
So Where did your interest in electronic music start?
I’ve always wanted to be a DJ ever since I was a teenager and I started in a club near where I lived with my parents in a small village in northern Italy. One thing led to another, I was lucky enough to have a cousin, Alle Benassi, who’s a talented musician, and I got him into producing electronic music on a computer. We became a production team and things got better.
I always wanted to be a dj and started as a in the club near where I lived. I started producing with Alle over ten years ago, now. I’ve always worked in the studio with Alle since day one. He’s the musician and producer behind my tracks but I always DJ on my own.
Aside from talent, what qualities in an artist really stand out for you?
To be yourself and develop your own thing.
Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
It’s hard not to say “Satisfaction”. It changed my career and my life. Working with Gary Go and Chris Brown has been great. Producing for Madonna was a huge experience for us.
What do you have to say about ‘Satisfaction’. Do you ever get bored of playing it?
It’s still going, huh? Yes, I still love Satisfaction and I still often play it in some form or another… a remix, just the acapella, a snippet… When we made it, we thought it would do well in the clubs, yes, but we never imagined…
So Is sidechain compression the best thing that has ever happened in your early career?
Ah… the Benassi compressor! Are you sure it’s side-chained?
How About A Favorite artist you have collaborated with?
There have been many great collaborators, really nice people, really talented people. The person I work with best is my cousin Alle Benassi. He’s the man.
Is there an artist you want to work with who you have not yet had the opportunity?
There are many.. There are talks of some big collaborations in the pipeline so watch this space!
So originally you started Djing, When did you know you wanted to be a producer?
When Alle turned on to club music. I felt that together we could do it.
All that mattered for me was that I carried on making music that people loved. With Alle, we keep it simple, we try to stay true to the music. It just happens and it helps keep the dream alive.
How were the Grammies by the way?
Winning a grammy for the Public Enemy remix was definitely a high point!
Dance music seems to be over saturated at the moment. How do you feel about the current state of Dance Music?
Dance music is always very experimental. It is an ever-evolving meca of creative minds all wanting to be heard, its bound to get a little lost along the way however there is always so much good material being produced. Technology is better than ever and with that advance it enables dj’s to go into the depths of their imaginations and create a unique sound.
My favorite thing to do is to hire bicycles and go for a ride in the city I’m touring in if there’s time and I like to get up early and walk around rather than sleep in even if I went to bed really late. My least favorite thing about being on tour is being constantly on the move, it’s plane, car, hotel, club, hotel and off we go again.
You’ve had the opportunity to hang out with a heap of big name artists from Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Tiësto, David Guetta, Chuckie, John Dahlbäck and Sander van Doorn any cheeky stories to tell about the road at the top?
Now they are top secret!
Since your familiar in the air, planes crashing, you have a parachute, whats the next thing you grab before jumping out?
The very thought is enough for me not to want to get on a plane ever again!
Was there something else other than music that you considered pursuing?
I would have tried to become a professional cyclist.
Last One, If your sound was a drink, what would it be?
A fine Italian wine… with a hefty kick. Barolo Maybe.