A couple months back, the short two-track release “Let Yourself Go,” from the London collective Pixel Fist, hit Beatport’s dubstep genre page. Not to overshadow Pixel Fist—the super-group made up of Audio, Mackie, Lorne, and Stapleton MC—but the particularly curious footnote to the package was its home on the Benga Beats label. For those unaware, dubstep don Benga turned up with his own label in 2004 to put out two of his own releases and then the label went silent for many years. “Let Yourself Go” marks the label’s first at-bat since 2006, and today, with the release of Taiki & Nulight’s Love Is the Feeling EP, we figured it was high time we reached out to label manager Kris Jones to get some insight into the Benga Beats revival.
Benga Beats made a brief appearance in 2004. What were the thoughts around opening a label for those early releases, and what was the motivation for continuing with Benga Beats?
Due to Benga’s prolific production rate and DJing schedule at the time, unfortunately the label was put on hold while he got his career started. Now that he’s an established artist, Benga has been very keen for the last couple of years to get the label back up and running again—and here we are.
Do you feel that having “Benga” in the label’s name brings a certain expectation with it?
We hope having Benga’s name in the title shouldn’t bring any expectation, and that the label stands as a platform for new, upcoming, and inspiring artists to create and establish themselves. The label’s all about searching out new music and artists that are bringing new ideas, next-level production talent, vibes, and most importantly tunes that cause a reaction in the club.
Dubstep has seemed to fracture into a million sounds and has opened people’s ears to a whole new world of electronic music. Can we expect Benga Beats to feature an array of styles, or will it stick to music rooted in dubstep?
Dubstep has wiped the slate clean in the world of dance music and allowed a new wave of producers to create their own styles and adapt and evolve what was already there. Benga Beats is all about new fresh club sounds, no matter what genre it is. There will always be a strong link to dubstep, which we’re proud of, but we’re not going to let that hold us back when it comes to experimenting and pushing new underground music.
For aspiring producers interested in submitting material to Benga Beats, what is the process behind signing releases to your label?
All music should be sent to both Beats@benga.co.uk or Kris@bengabeats.co.uk. The process would be making sure Benga hears them first. If he’s feeling them, he plays them; if he’s really feeling them, then he lets us know and the label discusses which ones to release, and when. You can, of course, contact us through the Benga Beats website, Facebook, YouTube, etc. We look forward to hearing your music.
What are some of the fatal mistakes new producers make with their demos?
The main issue we have is producers sending new music to the label and also CCing in other labels! For us, it’s all about new artists making a connection with the label, creating a relationship, and doing their research to find out what the label’s got coming, what we’re feeling, what Benga’s playing, etc.—not just CCing the info address on a group email or group SoundCloud mail-out! Although we can’t answer everything, we do our best and try to offer as much help as possible.
What do you guys have in store for 2013?
There’s a lot planned for 2013: a great new single from Kutz (this has been a longtime coming—sorry, Kutz!), followed by a super-heavyweight EP from Pixel Fist, and of course, a long-awaited single from the man himself, Benga, which we’re currently deciding on! Oh, and we’ve got some serious T-shirts ready to roll. Oh, gosh!