At the 21st of February we visited Dancefair at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht and had the pleasure to interview Marc Benjamin. Marc had just finished his ‘Break through’ panel with Wiwek, LNY TNZ, Onderkoffer & Kill the Buzz. Marc has had a great 2014 signed at Mixmash Records with performances at Ministry of Sound, Indonesia & even Tomorrowland. So we wanted to know his future plans, upcoming releases and more.
Thanks for the opportunity to have this interview with you. We’re at Dancefair here today, how many times have you actually visited this fair?
You’re welcome! It’s actually my first time attending Dancefair. I didn’t expect it to be like this, so many DJ’s artists and people from the music industry. I really like it so far.
Since we’re at Dancefair, there are so many starting DJ’s and producers walking around, what would be your no. 1 advice for them?
Never give up! There are so many different DJ’s and producers, there’s a lot of competition/sounds already out there. You have to create and develop your own sound. Take your time to develop your own sound, believe in yourself and never give up.
Alright, so what did you actually start with: DJ’ing, producing or both?
I started as a DJ about 7-8 years ago. At that point it wasn’t important to have your own productions and tracks, it was all about DJ’ing. I wasn’t known back then for producing and releasing tracks. The breaking point was about 2 years ago when I decided I wanted to pull through my plan to go DJ internationally and started to create my own tracks.
Interesting, so when you started when you were about 13 years old, which program did you use?
That’s a funny story actually; I used Virtual DJ which back then I believe was called just Atomix and I didn’t have any decks at home. I just had a windows XP computer that I used to mix tracks. I started a little radio station called ‘Pirate radio’ that had about 20 listeners, that’s where it all started. My sister (Lady Bee) gave me decks for my birthday and I started DJ’ing with vinyl.
Nice! These days you don’t see DJ’s playing with vinyl often anymore. So when your career started, who has been a great support for you?
My sister, Lady Bee, obviously, she was an MC back then and was already well established in the industry. Thanks to her I was given opportunities to really get somewhere, she is really important to me.
Did you have some piano lessons or something to learn how to compose a track?
No, I never had any piano lessons. I basically started by listening to a lot of music and trying to recreate tracks that I liked.
Which DJ/Producer is your big example?
That would be Alesso, both as a DJ and as a producer. These days it’s quite difficult to have a big example for DJ’ing, but what I love what he does is really thinking about his setlist. I recognize that also in my own process. I’m really focused on my preparation for a set. As for my example within Mixmash it would definitely be Laidback Luke. I’ve known him for a very long time now. It’s really cool to see him DJ’ing because he has got really special skills. It’s not the way I would be playing but he really dares. I really respect what he does on stage. Talking about Mixmash I’m really happy with our collaboration. They are really helping me developing my professional profile, with releases.
With who would you like to create a track?
I would love to create a track with Axwell & Ingrosso, but I don’t think that will ever happen. A collab with Benny Benassi would also be really cool.
Alright, your latest release ‘Lights camera action’ was released on Revealed Recordings as a part of the Dannic selection, how does that feel?
Revealed Recordings is obviously one of the biggest labels so it’s really cool to have a release on that label. It’s really special for me, it’s the Dannic selection which means that the track is being pushed by Dannic and also by Hardwell, two artists with a really big fan-base. That’s noticeable for my amount of likes and it’s really nice to get a positive response from their fans about my track.
We can imagine that! Well, in 2014 you had a tour in Indonesia, Tomorrowland, Ministry of sound & of course your residency at Escape in Amsterdam. What’s on schedule for the upcoming month?
Both Tomorrowland and Ministry of Sound were amazing. Tomorrowland has a magical atmosphere that’s impossible to describe if you haven’t been there. I was playing on the Super U and Me stage from Laidback Luke which was the 2nd main-stage of the festival. I didn’t expect to witness such an amazing festival at all. The vibe was just perfect! As for Ministry of Sound it was really special considering all the great artists that have played there before me. Realizing that made it really special.
At the 7th of March I will be performing in Hamburg, Germany. I was supposed to go to Miami but we’re busy getting a working license there so that’s on hold for now. Obviously I got my residency at Escape and for the summer there are some festivals in option but I don’t know yet which ones.
Sure, so when you get to tour the world you definitely experience a lot of interesting things, do you have a nice story for us about for example how you learned something about the culture of a country you didn’t know yet?
I have to pick my Indonesian tour for this. My roots are there and some of my family-members are still living there. I go there on holiday every year but being able to invite my family to see me playing a DJ-set was really unique. The culture there is obviously really different from the culture in Europe but since I have played 3 or 4 nights in a row you are mostly on the road. What I particularly notice is that compared to the Netherlands in Indonesia people are really looking forward to see you play. For them it’s really special to have a foreign artist to come play in their country and they are really up to date on what your music is all about. So that was definitely a highlight of 2014 for me.
Ok, thank you very much for your time Marc and have a nice day today at Dancefair!
You’re welcome, see you!
Marc Benjamin links: