Benwaa hails from sunny North Wales. Now well into his middle age years, he’s somewhat an old head when it comes to electronic music. First playing traditional instruments from the age of 6; violin, trumpet and bass guitar, and the freedom of his father’s record cabinet which included such broad tastes as John Phillip Sousa to the original sound track of the sound of music, James last and some great obscure jazz too (not to mention the special collection of 78’s that only came out when begged), he obviously had music in his heart from a very early age.
He first came across electronic music in the early nineties in the form of The Orb, Banco de Gaia and the like, it was this that set the foundation for his path ahead and also paved within him the road to explore how music and sound can change and affect mood and perception. Gripped by how these crazy ambient and chill out sounds could warp your mind and help discover new ways of feeling, he set out to find more and more to feed his need to expand such experiences. At the same time, the underground rave scene was in full flight, and being just the right age he discovered through these and house parties the more upbeat side of electronic music. Mainly he found a resonance in the sets of Sasha and John Digweed initially and as we all may do but fail to admit, Ben set out to emulate their style as a DJ; swapping his old car for a set of one’s n twos and a mixer. A friend advised him that “the only way to get good at this shit is to play 7-8 hours a day” and he took this fully on board and invested all his waking and non-working hours to hone his craft as a DJ. Not to mention investing all his spare pay packet on vinyl. The journey had really begun.
North Wales being the sparse and “not much here besides sheep and beauty” kind of place, Ben always struggled to get gigs in his local area, whilst he played house party a plenty, true public gigs never really came to fruit, mainly due to the cliquey nature of the only one or two nights that were around at the time. Although this didn’t dishearten him, he decided to do the positive thing and set up a night himself, inviting bedroom and unknown DJs to send in demos so they could headline his nights. Whilst the nights didn’t grow to much, the network had and Ben was soon flying out to Berlin courtesy of a DJ he’d met through those undiscovered talent nights; Peer Benary. Someone who became a massive influence in how Benwaa approached DJing, and later on producing too. Benwaa played a few gigs over in Germany over the following years, but always underground and intimate affairs. Taking further influence from artists on such labels as Hooj Tunes, Traum Schallplatten, Fire Records (RIP) and Opossum Recordings too through to soul of the 70’s and Disco too, and a whole bunch of other weird and random stuff, Ben’s tastes for any particular style have become broader rather than refined, something he feels is important for anyone looking to not just create good music, but also play it too. All styles of quality music are on his agenda or as he likes to say “Electronic music with soul.” And this stays true to this day.
Getting older and always a passion for exploring the depths of music, Benwaa was soon led to begin making music. And like most young producers with no real clue, got a copy of Fruity Loops and began to throw beats and some melodies together. Purely experimenting in creating sounds and how to manipulate them, Ben spent the next couple of years strengthening his producer knowledge and refining his skills, until in 2008 Thom O’Hara (Minimal:Impossible) sought out one of Ben’s productions for a new label he was starting, 1 5 9 13 Music! It was this imprint benwaa had his first release and first taste of others truly appreciating his music beyond just his close friends and family.
Fast Forward a few years and numerous releases under his belt on labels such as Tony Thomas’ imprint Moxi Records, Pitch Bend recordings, Montenero Recording, budenzauber, Doppelganger and more, an abandonment of DJing apart from special gigs, we find Benwaa has set up his own label Gibbon Records. The onus is on quality music as opposed to the latest banger.
As the blurb for Gibbon says: “This is music of bearded weirdos, of oddballs & shadow lurkers, of string pullers and behind the scenes manipulators…. it’s the music of sinister puppeteers, magicians and midnight prancers…”
The label very much reflects Ben’s own eclectic taste something which can be found in his recent NMSRadio sets, or one off mixes he likes to put online once in a while. With artists ranging from the complete unknown to others such as Trockensaft, Stas Drive, Luke Garcia, it also reflects Ben’s eclectic tastes rather well not sticking to any particular style.
He’s currently working hard running Gibbon Records, producing his own music to release on it and others too. Remixing for others music he connects with. Plus, the odd special DJ gig thrown in such as The Techno Kittens 5th Birthday in London in March. You can find his releases on all top download stores and FREE tracks and sets on his own Soundcloud page.
Decoded Residents Radio presents January Mix of the Month Winner – Benwaa
01. Johannes Heill – Transition One (Original Mix)
02. Juju & Jordash – Stroop
03. J. Axel – Proper Meditation
04. Aroy Dee – Night Sky
05. Aroy Dee – Pure
06. Marco Dassi – Swedish Love (Original Mix)
07. H2 – Chicago Social Club
08. Amine Edge, Dub Makers, Outstrip, Maria Chirkova – Rainbow (Amine Edge Remix)
09. Karmon, NTFO – Metropolis (Original Mix)
10. Sebastien Tellier – Sous les rayons du soleil
11. Rampa – Chai Jen Jen (Original Mix)
12. Erphun – 332AM (Original Mix)
13. BUTCH & C.Vogt – The Infamous (Original Mix)
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