Bennun & Healey are Bristol-based sound-smith Colin Bennun and DB Stereo’s DJ Tim Healey. Their debut single ‘Lucy’ on DB Stereo is all guns blazing with this astonishing single, we check in with Mr Healey…

Hey Tim, welcome (back) to DMC World – where do you join us from today?

Am in my studio in Bromley, glorious South East London.

You were part of the rave scene in the early 90’s paving the way for future generations of DJs and event organisers, could you tell us a little about the parties you used to throw? 

When I was 17 I worked at Jazz FM, London, and was thrown in at the deep end with Gilles Petersen, Chris Philips et al before going off to Uni. Having been in London, my college City of Durham seemed very sleepy, so I put on a sell-out event, called Unity, with “rave” in the main room and me upstairs playing jazz, funk, rare groove and rap crossover stuff. It was so successful that we took on bigger venues and got acts like Primal Scream, The Orb and Utah Saints to DJ. It was a magical time. 

Things have obviously changed considerably since you first burst onto the scene, are there any aspects of current club culture that you aren’t a fan of, or would like to change if you could? 

There was a festival in Europe this year that didn’t allow any mobile phone photography/filming on the dance floor. Sounded like a great idea. Keeps people in the moment, losing themselves in the music. But I tend not to look backwards. Music and entertainment concepts are constantly evolving, and its our job as entertainers to keep up to speed and go beyond expectations. I have never rested on my laurels or played retro sets. I do my best to represent the most cutting edge sounds I can get my hands on. No compromise.

Tell us about your time in Coburn, what was it like touring with The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers?

In around 2004 Pete Martin (other half of Coburn) and I had got bored of dance music and formed a 5 piece rock band, fusing the sounds we loved with electronics. The only problem was, a few other people had the same idea (like Soulwax), and they shone, while we failed to get a decent record deal. We literally threw down our instruments, went back into the studio and made “one more bloody house record” – only we made it as mad as possible – all stuttering cut up samples. We knew when we had finished it that people would think we were mad, or the record was great. Thankfully “We interrupt this programme” got picked up my Ministry of Sound and our DJ booking and production schedules went crazy.

As a result we found ourselves on killer line ups across the globe, unforgettable experiences like playing at Fuji Rock, where all the artists all share this rather average hotel on site and you might find yourself in an elevator, or the queue for canteen nosh with a member of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Maximo Park and Basement Jaxx…

You describe your music as the ‘druggier end of house’, and having listened to your upcoming single ‘Lucy’ this is an accurate description! What role (if any) do you think drugs play in dance music?

We had a Bennun & Healey gig at Noisily festival this summer and stayed the duration – the weather was perfect, the people fantastic, and we came back to earth so “festivalized” that ‘Lucy’ with its direct vocal sample literally happened in the studio in a matter of hours. Future/retro techno. I have a predisposition for warped noises, pukka production and hypnotic grooves. By “druggier” I guess I mean I’ll take a few more risks… at the moment I’m playing an edit I did of Muse’s Super Massive Black Hole… dropping that in a set of techno turns the dance floor on its head. In its own way, hearing a slab of electro rock in the middle of a party is totally psychedelic. So yes, its the ‘druggier end of house’ that I mine.
After a hiatus from music, you’re back with a new label (DB Stereo) and a slew of releases. Can you tell us a little about how the idea for the label came about and your relationship with Tomcraft, fellow label-head? 

I launched a restaurant, Kooks, in Gardener Street, Brighton, but craved to be back in the studio. Having amassed a few tunes, I was approached by some labels but thought better of it, and contacted my good mate Tom (Tomcraft). We’ve worked together on and off for many years. I called him and he said “yes” immediately to my plan for a new label, and booked a flight to the UK so we had a 48 hour period of brainstorming, and DB Stereo was born.

For this latest release DBS 003, you’ve collaborated Colin Bennun, what role do each you play in the creative process?

Colin Bennun is quite simply one of the most talented people I have ever shared a studio with. I have known him for 20 years and I feel its a privilege that he is happy spending so much time in the studio with a crazy like me. He is the quintessential sonic scientist and damn good musician also. We literally paint with sound in the studio, putting the frequencies exactly where we want them. We bounce off each other creatively, and I believe people can hear the detail we put into each production – this year we’ve remixed Black Grape’s ‘Pop Voodoo’ for Universal and Banco De Gaia’s – 91 for Disco Gecko among others – and there’s another B&H ep lined up for early 2018.


Your career spans longer than most, what have been your highlights to date? 

I do feel extremely lucky to have had this life – and we’re not done yet. Above all I cherish working for myself, being immersed in sound, meeting fascinating people all over the world and being invited to play at events like Space Mountain International Cosmic Arts Lab. It’s legendary producer Youth’s 3 day event in Andalusia, Spain: a meeting of minds, lectures from guest producers like John Leckie and Matt Black, live performances and I get to play a DJ set. Game on.

Now for a quick fire round…
What is the last great:

– Film you saw
Baby Driver – the title sounded so bad, but the movie’s a genuine corker, and I must order the soundtrack, which is fabulous.

– Album you checked
My fave album this year is Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy – produced by Youth. Caught them live this year too – just amazing.

– Live gig you rocked out at
Alabama 3, Sunday night, Boomtown 2017. After a brilliant gig, I found myself in a yurt with the band afterwards, only to discover that my old studio mate Greg Fleming (aka Wizard from Deekline & Wizard) is now in the band, and has produced their last 3 LPs. 

And finally – let’s skip forward 12 months. What does Tim Healey want to achieve by this time next year?

We have big plans for DB Stereo. We have a jaw-droopingly good Lee Coombs single lined up for November, a remix competition for Tom’s next single in Jan 2018, and we’re looking at doing our first DB Stereo event in Tom’s new home, Sardinia later that year. I’ll be most content if I am just as busy, producing, djing and planning even more musical madness.

www.dbstereo.co.uk

www.tomcraft.de

www.bennunandhealey.com