Interviews

STYLISTBERLIN INTERVIEW: BEN MONO (Compost, Strictly Rhythm, Boysnoize, Stil vor Talent …)

0 Comments 28 July 2014

STYLISTBERLIN INTERVIEW: BEN MONO (Compost, Strictly Rhythm, Boysnoize, Stil vor Talent …)

By Y. Cho

Ben_Mono_DSC_0837_sw cut

 Ben Mono: A cassical trained doublebass player from Munich who somehow ended up in Berlin doing club music.

Ben Mono has been a friend of mine for a couple of years now, and his sets of music always match the occasion, the party, and the crowds. Even when playing spontaneously, he shows the ability to find the tracks that make the people on the dancefloor moving and you can be sure that you will have loads of fun at his gigs. One of those producers in Berlin that do not talk alone, but actually do something. I have been not only a fan of the records under his artist name Ben Mono, but also his numerous project under different monikers. Seldom I have seen a producer that actually manages to produces a lot of different styles of music, and making good tunes in all the fields. One of the most diligently, literate, open-minded persons in the scene: A veteran in his field who is busy travelling, producing and playing throughout the world, he found time for this interview, which I was planning for a long long time now.

 

“Ben Mono is an artist whose diversity has always commanded its own stylistic path.

As a producer and  DJ his unique framework of sound is always open to new influences and a wide range of directions.

He is counted as one of the few musicians today who is a convincing mediator being constantly in a transition between styles. 

(…)

Permanently oscillating around the globe, his recent DJ shows were taking him to Middle- and South America, Siberia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Southeast Asia aswell as Australia while still maintaining a residency in Sicily and Poland and being a regular player in Berlin.” – Ben Mono artist profile by Compost Records, Munich

 

stylistberlin: Hi Ben! I have been following your releases and gigs all over the world and wanted to catch up with you on your other projects.
 To begin with, if you had to introduce yourself for the first time to stylistberlin readers, what would those three words be?

Ben Mono: Diversity, open-mindedness, evolvement.

stylistberlin: What is on your playlist right now?

Ben Mono: At the moment it´s all about tracks that somewhere meet between UK Garage*, House and Techno.

* To those who are not familiar with UK garage, check out this link for the basics ;)

Ben Mono is diversity, openmindedness, evolvement

Ben Mono by Charles Andreo & Bijan Dharas 3

Photograph: Ben Mono by Charles Andreo & Bijan Dharas

stylistberlin: You have been releasing for quite a while, for example at Compost Records, Strictly Rhythm, Exploited and so forth. Compared to then, did your style change over the years?

Ben Mono:  I guess I released on a bit too many labels* over the last 15 years, being involved in broken beat, 2-step, hiphop, electro, disco and house and I still have no clue about to which genre I really belong to. But I love what is coming in from UK at the moment and those guys became a big influence once more. * These labels include: Strictly Rhythm, Boysnoize, Stil Vor Talent, Compost, Gomma, Exploited, Simma Black – Defected, Dim Mak, Get Physical, Hospital (under different pseudonyms).

stylistberlin: From a fabulous disco set to funky UK garage, I have heard you playing a wide range of music. If you would describe your favourite style, what would it be at the moment?

Ben Mono: Through my last sets, I am recently working on the idea to find the right balance between a UK oriented track but based on a more techno-driven attitude – here are some of my faves at the moment in no particular order:

Huxley – Tendered Mess

Cause & Affect – Ridonkulous

Brent Kilner – Girls

dOP – Close Up (Catz’n’Dogz Remix)

Dusky – Inta Bobmo – Standing High feat. Para One

Marsupials – Numbat Simpson – Till U Were Dead

Darius Syrossian – Halycon

Ben Mono – Let Me

stylistberlin: What is the most memorable event that took place in your DJ and producer career so far?

Ben Mono: I played Sonar Night about seven years ago, that was amazing. You couldn´t really see the crowd and it took about two seconds until the music was reflected from the opposite wall, it was like a bath in subfrequent waves in front of 20.000 people with no detectable interaction between me and the crowd.

stylistberlin: You seem to lead a quite nice life, are there any downsides of being a producer and DJ?

Ben Mono: After constantly releasing what I spontaneously felt like, it really struck me that nowadays diversity actually is NOT what the scene is about, but that specializing is the key for a more continuous presence. The whole so-called “underground scene” today almost feels like major label business to me, where you have to become a full brand to be successful and where it takes over six months until your digital EP comes out.

Berlin Life

Berlin: There is already a scene that has evolved over decades with its own rules and its very unique protagonists

stylistberlin: Where do you get your energy for being creative from? What are your inspirations?

Ben Mono: I always thought that music starts somewhere in the head, but after I moved to Berlin it started dawning on me that the actual environment has much more impact on my work. I guess going out and see the crowd interacting with the DJ still has the most influence on me. It sometimes almost feels schizophrenic that that music that should move the crowd has to be done over hours and days alone in front of the computer.

stylistberlin: Have you always wanted to become a DJ? Are you living your dream right now?

Ben Mono: That was never the plan, I more happened to get booked from time to time and one day, I decided that there is a chance in making a living like that. Still not sure though if I am on the right path but it has been fun so far!

stylistberlin: A lot of people are coming to techno-mecca Berlin to start their career; do you have any tips for them? (As there are so many “drowning” here…)

Everyone is much more on its own here and has to prove himself much harder to a very distracted scene, that will not tolerate indecisiveness

Ben Mono: Better come here with a very concrete plan and a clear musical vision and some releases out. I see a lot of people trying to adapt to Berlin´s musical dogmas forgetting that there is already a scene that has evolved over decades with its own rules and its very unique protagonists who just don´t need to listen to what you have to say or what you like to play.

stylistberlin: You have a lot of friends in Berlin, and compared to your hometown Munich, what makes work and living here so special and attractive for you?

Ben Mono: It´s been a great journey becoming part of a new environment and meeting new soulmates over the years in a capitol that changes its face every minute. But never expect any favors! Everyone is much more on its own here and has to prove himself much harder to a very distracted scene, that will not tolerate indecisiveness – which on the upside forces you to be a more defined artist and to work harder on who you want to be.

 

Ben Mono by Charles Andreo & Bijan Dharas 2

Photograph: Ben Mono by Charles Andreo & Bijan Dharas

 

The Music

stylistberlin: You had a release recently, please tell us about it!

Ben Mono: yes actually, just had my new EP coming out on Low Steppa´s Simma Black label. you can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/benmono/sets/bonanza-break-ep

stylistberlin: What is up and coming next on your agenda?

Ben Mono: I will be in New York two months during fall. And I am busy with another project of mine doing quite well in the Berghain-related scene – which I, of course, cannot talk about.

stylistberlin: Are there any collaboration-projects up your sleeve that we can expect now?

Ben Mono: I just finished eight demos to send them out to some buddies, let´s see if they like it – I will keep you posted about that.

stylistberlin: Where can we meet you in the future?

Ben Mono: I am working on the idea to establish a more UK oriented night here in Berlin with my Fellow Erik Radek and it seems that we have a first gig at BASE MENT this November, so we can finally deliver what is seriously missing here in the city right now: UK Garage and related genres.

stylistberlin: When are your radio shows online?

Ben Mono: I am doing a regular radio show for Munich´s own EgoFM*, which is a bit more on the bass-rap-footwork tip. I uploaded them onto mixcloud since the station does not seem to have the capacities anymore to update our content on their page. * Listen to the mix here: http://www.mixcloud.com/Ben_Mono/

stylistberlin: Any producers you would like to collaborate with?

Ben Mono: I love Catz’n Dogz for being so fun and still remaining cool, Dusky for always being so fresh and never too abstract and Huxley for moving on so fast but always being recognizable.

Catz’n Dogz, Dusky, Huxley

stylistberlin: Thank you for your time!!!

Ben Mono: Happy that we finally had time for this, been on the agenda for far too long!

 

*******

More information on Ben Mono:

http://soundcloud.com/benmono

https://www.facebook.com/monotheistic.benjamin

http://www.ben-mono.de

Booking:  fabio@fuh.cc

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