Canadian Producer/DJ Bensley burst onto the scene two years ago with the acclaimed ‘Next Generation’ on RAM Records, having impressed label boss Andy C so much with the demo he sent to RAM’s Hornchurch HQ. Now back with ’Slither’ from his eagerly-awaited second album, we took some time out to speak with Bensley…
Hi Bensley, it’s been over two years since we last spoke. What’s happened since then?
Hey! My life has changed quite a bit since our previous interview. I’ve taken on music as a full-time effort, had several more releases under my name, and done remixes for Flux Pavilion, Azari & III, & the DriveClub soundtrack! I’ve also travelled around the UK and the neighbouring European countries playing my music to lots (previously intimidating amounts) of people! It’s been a bit surreal and it’s gone by so quickly. However, I’ve been relatively quiet across the past several months as I’ve been back home exploring my sound and accumulating a large body of work.
You have just released Slither, the first release from your second album. Tell us about ‘Slither’ and what inspired it?
‘Slither’ is a tune I finished around this time last year, and I’ve been including in all of my sets since. It was a personal challenge to impose my existing style upon a harder, more club-focused foundation; something which has previously been out of my comfort zone. Since I’ve also been inspired by trap and synthwave, the product transitions between 3 very different styles. However, I think it holds together with a consistent theme, and I’m very proud of it.
What can people expect from your second album?
Though it’s still an ongoing process at this point, the natural progression from ‘Next Generation’ to now has been diversifying and pushing the boundaries of my sound. I’ve been enjoying exploring new genres and styles, so I think people should expect a broader spectrum of tempos, grooves, instruments and samples.
How does it feel following up an album as groundbreaking as ‘Next Generation’?
I think the prospect of a second album intimidates a lot of producers, myself included. The more I’ve matured as a producer, the more particular I’ve become with my songwriting and production. When I listen to ‘Next Generation’, all that I hear are things that I could have improved upon had known then what I know now. I’ve been holding myself to a higher standard, which is ultimately a good thing, but it slows down the process quite a bit. I’ve already put in twice the time that I did on the first album! But as a result, I think that the body of work to follow my current efforts will be a noticeable improvement on ‘Next Generation’.
Will you be touring your new material?
As my tunes will be coming out gradually, it’ll be hard to place them all under a single “album tour” or anything like that. I always have and always will tease loads of new material at every show!
What venue would you really like to perform at?
The legendary Fabric in London is still a goal of mine. Seeing how the club nearly closed for good late last year had me worrying that I might never get to be a part of the venue’s history, much like how Toronto’s government was shut down before I managed to play a night there. So many artists who lead the scene today started their careers at Fabric, and I feel that playing in a night there would further validate my name as an electronic musician.
Which other Drum & Bass producers inspire you?
I’m largely inspired by the works of Camo & Krooked, whose new album is easily the best thing I’ve heard in Drum & Bass in a while. As I’ve been trying to merge my existing style with a more club-driven sound on several of my new tunes, I’ve found myself looking towards Metrik, Dimension and 1991, who I think are killing it in that field.
Which of the current ‘next generation’ of Drum & Bass producers are you excited by?
1991, Joe Ford, Memtrix, Dan Dakota & Muzzy to name a few!
How does the drum & bass scene in your hometown of Toronto compare with in other parts of the world?
Toronto’s scene, while not nearly as strong as it was in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, is still one of the best spots for Drum & Bass in North America. We get our share of international headliners coming in every other week, and it’s common to see a packed dancefloors at these nights. I’m very proud to help represent Toronto on a worldwide stage!
How do you choose to unwind from producing and touring? We hear that you’re really into archery!
Though it’d it be a stretch to say that I have much time outside of my work to be “really into” anything, I do enjoy PC games, photography/video editing, archery, and several watersports.
What are your plans for the next two years?
I hope to release much more music than I did in the previous two years, and hopefully travel to more parts of the world that I’ve never seen. A goal of mine is to do more music “work” as well, like writing music for film & television, or even other artists! The next two years will be a serious effort to secure this field as a career.