HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Ben Sims Interview

Last year, in collaboration with Christian Smith, Ben Sims released his 2CD mix album "Essential Underground Vol.7", blowing away listeners around the world with his fresh, cutting edge approach and technical skill. One of the superstars of the UK Techno scene, Ben Simms sits down and talks with HigherFrequency's Megan Mann.

> interview : megan mann


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Hey Ben, what have you been up to recently?

Ben Sims : I've been working hard on party projects in London plus the usual traveling around DJ-ing at weekends, it's been a busy year with plenty of ups and downs. Current record distribution issues (M - his distribution company folded) have definitely caused me to re-think how my labels are run but everything happens for a reason. I'm feeling positive about 2004 and the start of our 'Split' series at Turnmills in London went off very well so it looks like another busy one this year.

HRFQ : How's your new album shaping up?

Ben : Very much an ongoing thing, I've been talking about it for five years and it's now finally starting to take shape. I've lost count of how times I've scrapped it and started over. It will be finally released some in 2004 probably on UK label Peacefrog (working title is Obsessions ). I've been a follower of the label over the years and have much respect for the variety of artists they work with. I don't want to feel limited to just doing a straight techno LP or even just doing what's expected of me. I'd like the LP to reflect more of what I'm about. Obviously most people recognize me for a certain sound, which of course there'll definitely be part of in the project but I'll feel free-er to experiment beyond hard grooves with a label that has a wider focus.

HRFQ : Have you been to any cool gigs recently? Anything impressive?

Ben : I did a small tour of Australia in Dec 2003 which was cool, my second trip out there last year. But this time I was supporting a Carl Cox tour on a couple of nights so it was good to play to a wider audience than usual. The Perth leg in particular was great, really up for it crowd and the party was on a race course with Cypress hill, Mickey Finn and Freq Nasty on the bill too, so an interesting mix of people. Been all over the place so remembering specific places is getting a bit hazy now, it's been a very successful 18 months for DJ-ing so right now I'm taking a bit of time out to re-coup and relax.

HRFQ : What's your view on the recent dance market in Europe?

Ben : The reality of mp3 downloads is really starting to kick in now. Record sales are down and that's hard but there is still interest so over this year I'm sure a new way of distributing music will arise that continues to provide money for independent artists and labels but is globally available at a touch of a button. Everyone is re-thinking how to sell their music now and this year will no doubt see some answers.

HRFQ : What's your impression of Japanese crowds?

Ben : Japan is a great place to play, energetic and enthusiastic, beautiful crowds. You couldn't ask for more really. I really enjoy playing there and will be back in September 2004 for a tour.

HRFQ : What are your favorite acts?

Ben : I have hundreds and the favorite changes daily but today I'd say Carl Craig, Barry White and Arthur Russell.

HRFQ : Do you have a favorite 12inch?

Ben : My favorite at the moment is Ken Ishii's remix of Condor to Mallorca by Jeff Mills a highly limited axis release that is simply an excellent reworking of the classic. Favorite ever is very difficult, that probably changes daily as I'm still a vinyl junkie at heart. Today I'd say the Blue mix of JVC Force's Strong Island as I just managed to pick one after being after it for a while. The original is a classic from my hip hop youth but I love the rawness of the blue mix and you can't beat that feeling of finally getting a record you've spent ages trying to find.

HRFQ : What's the most impressive incident through your career?

Ben : So far I'd say... hearing Jeff Mills play my first record, hearing Derrick May play my second and seeing ODB from the Wu Tang Clan on the dance floor when I played at the Limelight in NYC.

End of the interview