Since rising to fame in 2002 with his smash hit 'Satisfaction', Benny Banassi has been one of the most in demand DJ and Producers of the past decade. This summer on top of touring with Madonna, headlining at Creamfields and gigging from Las Vegas to Chicago he has confirmed 2 dates at Amnesia for Cream. So, it looks like 2012 is proving to be yet another year of the Electroman. Here Hannah Davies catches up with the man himself to find out all about his year ahead, the work he does alongside his cousin Alle Benassi (Benassi Bros.) and how excited he is to be playing in Ibiza again.
You've been booked to play for Cream in Ibiza this summer as a special guest on July 26th and for the closing on the 20th September, tell us about that…
I’m thrilled! I’ve always been a fan of the Cream brand and I’m honoured to be part of it this year; to play the Ibiza closing party is special.
What makes the Amnesia crowd so special?
Ibiza has a unique vibe... music is king of the Ibiza clubs and Amnesia is the one I think reflects what I do best.
You've been confirmed to play at the Creamfields festival in the Size matters arena in August, how does playing to a festival crowd compare to that of a club?
Festivals just give you a massive energy flow that is incomparable to anything else!
The festival has a pretty fierce line up this year over 3 days, so what other artists are you excited to see?
The festival is huge this year, unbelievable! I’d like to get a chance to check out Example as I’ve never seen him live and I’m a fan.
You've recently been in America and have some dates in the UK in the run up to summer, how do the crowds differ from continent to continent?
When people are really there for the music it’s like one universal EDM nation; I think there are few things that break down barriers as much as music does.
How was your Miami Ultra 2012 experience?
I think I’ve played that festival for eight years in a row now, it’s like home, I love it and the main stage is always massive. The setting is beautiful as the sun sets against the skyscrapers in downtown Miami; amazing modern architecture, the ocean and thousands of people dancing.
You’re renowned for your remixes, but which has been your favourite one to date?
I think my own personal favourite is a remix Alle Benassi and I did for Faithless quite a while back ('Bombs'.) I also really like the Public Enemy remix 'Bring the Noise' and 'Celebration' by Madonna.
Most of your tracks feature vocals, why do you choose to use them?
We like to keep a balance between instrumental tracks that maybe have the signature Benassi electronic voice and tracks that are real songs. We have been enjoying working with singers from different musical backgrounds. It’s a kind of challenge... How can we apply the Benassi bass to this?
With over a decade of experience as a DJ and producer what has the highlight of your career been?
To be honest there have been many memorable moments. Playing at Coachella and Red Rock, Denver must count as the locations are so breathtaking. Plus winning a grammy for the Public Enemy remix was definitely a high point!
You had great success with your debut single 'Satisfaction' in 2002, where did the inspiration for this come from?
The credit goes to Alle, he wrote the riff which was inspired by the sound of car horns he heard from a hotel window which he configured into that pattern. Amazing! Then we worked together in the studio finishing it off and adding the vocal lines.
How would you best describe the journey that your music has taken from your infamous track 'Satisfaction' to your more recent release of 'Control' ft. Gary Go?
I’m a lucky guy! I’ve been able to travel around the world playing records, it’s a privilege. With Alle, we keep it simple, we try to stay true to the music we like and every ten years or so we make a record that crosses over; but it’s not planned in advance, I don’t think you can. It just happens and it helps keep the dream alive.
You have just produced some tracks for Madonna's new album MDNA, does the merging of house music with the more mainstream commercial charts concern you?
I've produced three tracks but 'Best Friend' is featured on the deluxe version only. It’s amazing the electronic music is underneath a lot of pop music now, especially in America, but not only. I think in Madonna’s case dance music has always been present in some form or another in what she does. So that in itself is no surprise, though it was a surprise she chose us!
What is your opinion of the development and modernisation of DJ equipment from Vinyl to digital? Are you an artist who embraces the changes or are you fonder of the old school ways?
You can’t fight technology, I’m very happy with my CDJ 2000’s.
How does performing on your own compare to alongside your cousin Alle Benassi or other artists that you have worked with?
I’ve always worked in the studio with Alle since day one. He’s the musician and producer behind my tracks but I always DJ on my own.
Will 2012 see any new releases from the Benassi Bros.?
Not under the Benassi Bros. moniker, if that’s what you’re referring to. We did 2 albums under that name many years ago that did very well especially in France. But yes, the Benassi cousins are working on new material so stay tuned!
You are still a steady staple in the DJ Mag's top 100 DJ poll at number 27, do you hold these kinds of achievements in high regard?
It’s nice to be there.
Where is your favourite place to play in the world?
Favourite places... erm most festivals, Pacha in New York, Ruby Skye in San Francisco and Ministry of Sound in London.
How do the Italian crowd respond to your music, do you have a big fan base at home?
I don’t play that often in Italy but it’s always great when I do. We did a Benny & Friends in my home town just before Christmas with Congorock, Pink is Punk and Rivaz. It was magic.
Have you achieved all that you want to or are their still some boxes left to tick?
I really enjoy what I do and have had a lot of 'satisfaction' in it so I really can’t complain. There are however a couple of singers I dream of working with... maybe one day!
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