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6 Questions with Benjamin Damage

30/01/19
  1. What have your highlights been in 2018?

I completely rebuilt the live show at the start of the year, adding some great new machines like the Jomox Alpha Base and Pioneer SP-16. I reworked the setup to allow me to improvise much more easily and generally make it even more fun to play out with. The Sonar gig was amazing. I’d only practiced the new set in the studio so I wasn’t sure how it would go down live on a huge system. It was such a good feeling at the end when it all went well. The crowd was amazing – it always is in Sonar.

My India tour was one of the best, it was so great to see old friends, make new ones and have the most incredible food. Some of the shows were really hard to set up as not all the clubs had experience of putting on live shows, but that made it even more satisfying at the end. The crowds were very warm and receptive and I’ll never forget my time there.

 

  1. How would you describe your own style of techno and your Live sets?

I don’t really think too much about styles. Techno is the base, but I grew up around UK rave / jungle / dubstep and everything I listen to has its influences in some way. When I’m writing albums I’m thinking more of what you would listen to on a journey or at home.

For live sets it’s also about energy and the dance floor. I try to imagine what I’d personally love to hear while I go out. It starts with the rhythms and builds from there. I like to get a solid base and atmosphere and then bring everything else in.

 

  1. You’re originally from a more provincial setting like Swansea, yet have moved to a huge metropolis such as London and then to Berlin, is this something that transpires throughout your productions?

Swansea doesn’t have much of a techno scene. For me it is a little difficult when I’m living a long way from the scene, it feels like its impossible to really connect with it. As if you can only ever be an observer and not a participant. I think the place you live in definitely changes your perspective. London has so much music culture and so many things going on. My time in Berlin was wonderful too, techno is so deeply rooted there.

 

  1. You’re quite well known for bringing heaps of hardware on stage with you, how did that come about?

Hardware is great fun to play with and allows a lot of flexibility and improvisation. I don’t enjoy using laptops on stage. For me there’s nothing more annoying than watching someone looking at a screen. The Cirklon allows you to improvise and jam in a much more intuitive way than any software / controller combination. To me it makes a lot more sense to build up the live show from scratch on hardware than split it apart in software and assign launch clips to controllers.

 

  1. If you had to choose one piece of hardware for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

That’s a difficult question. Hardware generally only does one thing, – it’s a drum machine, or a synth or a sequencer; it needs to work together. I’d have to pick the Yamaha GX-1, the much bigger brother to the CS80 – its got a built in analogue drum machine and 36 analogue voices.

 

  1. Finally, what’s in store for 2019?

I’m continually developing the live show and experimenting with longer live sets with more improvisation. I will be taking it to many places I’ve never been to before, particularly in Asia and the Southern Hemisphere, which is very exciting. I am working hard on more music for R&S and I’ve got a few remixes ready to go.

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