While Bensley is the first to admit he’s still finding his bearings after being thrust into the spotlight when Ram Records signed the then 19-year old producer exclusively to the legendary imprint, the prodigious youngblood continues to walk his own path and define his own take on the drum & bass sound.
With his Next Generation album revealing a dynamic, almost dream-like obsession with rhythm and melody, Bensley is already poised to deliver his second artist album with the first single, “Slither,” making its way through via Ram Records.
If the tune is any indication of what’s still to come, the young producer is already showing signs of maturing and refining his sound as the epic precision on display showcases a newfound interest in analog synthwave sound. Taking its cue from the title of the track, the slithering hook at the core is addictive and instantly recognizable as Bensley’s signature sound pulls at the heartstrings and cleanses the chakras at the same time.
It’s the perfect vibe for coming down after a long weekend and embodies exactly the kind of tune we’d turn to when seeking a cure for those post-festival recovery blues. With that in mind, we thought we’d tap the headspace of the man for a quick chat on just how much his life has changed since being plucked from anonymity two short years ago with a bonus “Festival Recovery Playlist” thrown in to bridge the gap between “Slither” (available here) and the full release of his sophomore album still to come.
Bring us up to speed on how life has been since we last caught up around the release of your Next Generation album.
Life’s very different from when we last chatted, that’s for sure! I think the release was generally very well received, and it definitely opened a lot of doors in my music career. Since then, I’ve done a lot of travelling and some remixes I’m very happy with! However, I’ve had a difficult time keeping momentum going over the past year or so while I’ve been working hard on the next big batch of music. Over the next several months, I’m hoping to reaffirm my position in the scene and show people how I’ve shaped my sound since the album!
Was there a lot of pressure after the album to sort of out outdo yourself in a way?
Since the album, I’ve held myself to an increasingly higher standard, but that seems to be a natural progression as a developing artist. I wouldn’t call it pressure so to speak, just preference! I always listen to my old tunes and hear all of the ways in which they could have been done better, so with each new release I feel as though I’ve outdone my previous efforts.
We hear you’ve got a new-found love for synth wave and analog/lo-fi music. Fill us in on the details and how you see that making its way into your workflow.
Yeah, I find that kind of style really interesting! As I’ve been surrounded by electronic music for increasingly long, I’ve become less interested in the sterile, clean, perfect standard that seems to have been reached in production quality. As a result, I’ve started creating sounds that are flawed in different ways to give them more authenticity and character.
Does this mean you’ve been spending all your money on hardware and gear?
You don’t even need to buy lots of retro gear to make it happen! There are all kinds of creative ways to emulate it within the DAW, using detuning, saturating, white noise, etc. However, I have begun my collection of analog gear with a Moog Sub37, which is an awesome piece of equipment! I think that anyone hoping to go down the rabbit hole of analog gear should look into really cheap/shitty FX pedals, because the idea is essentially to ruin the sound in interesting ways!
Last but not least, you’ve put together an exclusive playlist for us, give us the details and let us know what kind of journey we should expect when we hit play.
Because I’m currently on recovery mode from Liquicity Festival this past weekend, I thought it would only make sense to share the music that I’ve been listening to as I get through the day! I’m low on energy but still riding the festival vibe, so I’m finding chilled-out electronic tunes to be the most soothing right now. Since this is the first time I’ve included one of my own tunes in a playlist, some might find it surprising. However, “To The Moon” is one of the only Bensley tracks that I can still listen to and enjoy on a chill day like today, so I thought it might be worth including!