Artist Spotlight

Ben Kim

Italy

Italian-born Ben Kim’s sound certainly evokes the underground, but don’t be too quick to put him in a box. While his music is steeped in distinct tech house flavor, each track is varied and infused with its own recognizable individuality. Kim’s ability to skirt strict labels has led to recognition from the likes of Jamie Jones, Dennis Cruz, LEON, and more. Earlier this year, he earned his first Beatport #1 with his remix of Jefferson Airplane’s classic “Somebody to Love,” released on Gorgon City’s REALM Records. 

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When did you first feel yourself being drawn to create music? How long have you been making music? How did you start and how has your work evolved since the beginning?

I started making music in 2014. I downloaded Ableton on my first Mac and started having a go at remixing famous tracks just for fun, which slowly started to introduce me into the world of production. Through the years I started to devote myself more and more to making tracks and as my results improved, it gave me the motivation to stick with it.

How did would you describe your sound for someone who has never heard your music? What types of music and artists do you pull inspiration from? 

If I had to describe my music with a single word, I would describe it as confusing, because I never make a track that is the same as another. I do what my mind tells me, whether it's minimal, tech house, or house. I have also made techno music in the past but never sent it to anyone. Over the years, I have been inspired by many famous artists as well as emerging producers and various genres. I have been greatly influenced by American old-school hip hop and rap.

What led you to tech-house as opposed to another genre of dance music? What to you is special about the sounds of the underground?

Honestly, the thing that attracts me to tech house music the most is the bass. For me the bass in a track is fundamental. I really like minimal rhythm. There are also dance records that I like. I listen to them, but I don't like playing them.

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Tell me about the first time you experienced dance music/raving. What was that experience like for you?

It was a very gradual thing. I used to just go out and see friends, but then it struck me that in some clubs people were just dancing and facing the DJ. I was hooked, too.

Your remake of Jefferson Airplane’s classic “Somebody to Love” recently became a Beatport #1. What was that success like for you? What made you want to take on this classic track?

It was a great satisfaction. To tell the truth, the grit of the original track inspired me a lot, and the guitar drove me crazy. I never expected the track to do what it has done, so every day is a bonus and I am so grateful. 

Can you tell me about the dance music culture in your native Italy? What is the scene like and what elements do you draw inspiration from?

In Italy, there are many important clubs which play an important role: Tenax, Guendalina, Spazio900, Goa, Amnesia Milano, etc., but the club that has inspired me the most in my life was the Cocorico. The vibe in the pyramid is so special and I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world that can replicate it.

If you could headline any festival or venue, which would it be and why? What would the production look like and how do you envision the show?

Speaking of clubs, I would love to play at DC10 & Amnesia in Ibiza or in the pyramid at Cocorico. I would also love to play at Kappa Futur festival or Sunwaves. I could only imagine it would be insane.

What’s next for you in terms of new music? Do you plan to tour anytime soon?

We are working on many dates around the world and I hope to go to work in the states soon. I have had several requests there, stay tuned. 

Words by Sophie Bress. You can follow her on Twitter at @BressSophie

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