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Interview: June 2009 Archives

Ben Pest Q&A

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So sue me for plagiarism - I nicked this nice little piece of Ben Pest hyperbole off the No-Future chat-boards here. The link (from last year) also has a couple of nice audio links you should check out, but here's what they had to say:

"As a solo artist, Ben recently swaggered his way onto the scene with the excellent Flood Damage (Agresa EP, Victim Recs) and stellar appearances at the likes of Uglyfunk in London.

"He's perhaps better known however as a member of the band Pest, a brilliantly original collective who epitomize the Ninja Tune label on which they have released: 'A multi-talented bunch of varied stock musicians, who come together and produce a cultural crucible of music which happily defies any succinct pigeon-holes'.

"In addition, Ben forms one half of the Black E with the highly respected Cristian Vogel, who together impressed at this year's BLOC festival with their live performance of full-on electronic improvisation."

Anyway, Trevor and I both love the man's musical inroads and have been after a quick chat with the good sir Benjamin Mallott, and Ben was kind enough to give the quickie e-mail Q&A thing a go just prior to organizing a tour of Japan....

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Yawn question... How did you get inspired to start making music?

"My school had an Atari with Cubase, and a Roland sampler with about ยง2 seconds' sample time! I wasn't any good at sport, so I spent a lot of lunchtimes in the music cupboard."


With the band Pest, you've been prolific through Ninja Tune since around 2001. What's happening in the band department?

"We are nearing completion of our third album, and we're doing a mini-tour of Japan in August!"


How is Ben Pest most different from Pest, the band? (aside from the rather obvious fact it's only you)

"Completely different style - Ben Pest is acid house/techno, whereas Pest is live electronic funk.


What's the story behind your activities with Cristian Vogel as Black E?

"We made a 4-track EP in as many days in Cristian's studio in Barcelona, and we've played a few live shows in London and one in Berlin."


Where were you born, and what's that place most famous for?

"Rush Green - not famous for an awful lot, really!"


You've been producing music and interacting within the music industry for quite a time now - how long exactly? And what integral changes have you noticed over that time period?

"I've been releasing music properly since 2001 - its getting harder and harder to sell underground music."


What gear/software are you making most use of in the studio at the moment?

"My Korg ESX1 and Yamaha DX200, and Cubase, mostly."


What food/drinks keep you fueled throughout production time?

"Coffee, coffee, coffee."


Which current crop of artists and labels are grabbing your attention, and why so?

"I really like Rafferty's stuff right now."


You've released stuff through Ninja Tune, Bonus Round, Sleep Debt and Victim. What's your relationship like with these labels?

"Well, both Victim and Bonus Round are active and run by good friends of mine; unfortunately, I don't think Cristian [Vogel] is doing much with Sleep Debt anymore, and although Pest has a good relationship with Ninja, I don't think we really fit in with what they do these days."


Biggest influences on your own music?

"Top of my head - Sly Stone, Pantera, Miles Davis, Aphex Twin, Frank Zappa."


What new Ben Pest releases can we look out for?

"Just released Off Piste on Victim."


A fair amount of people are cutting back on vinyl production these days because they say it just doesn't make back the money invested. How do you feel about this?

"Well, yeah, it's really, really hard to release vinyl without loosing money nowadays - I have utmost respect for anyone hanging in there."


Is vinyl dead? Or just becoming more of a select option?

"It's not dead! People were saying that 15 years ago, and its still around - just not that much of it, sadly."


Do DJs really need to continue to use vinyl?

"I always DJ with vinyl, and have to say i feel a bit cheated if i see a DJ using purely Serrato or Albeton, or whatever."


What do you think of veteran British producers like Neil Landstrumm, Tobias Schmidt, Dave Tarrida, Cristian Vogel, Subhead, Tubejerk and Si Begg? Do any of these people stand out for you, and which labels do you currently dig cutting tunes in the UK?

"Well, they all stand out, really. Don't Records is a wicked label, and so is Coin Operated."


You're coming to Japan in August, right? Any dates/cities set in concrete yet? Just you, or your band Pest?

"How do you know about that? ...we only just booked the flights! Its the whole band - but I'd like to get some solo shows too."

Luke's Anger is hitting Japan in July. What's the attraction of this country for musicians like your own fine selves?

"I can't wait to find out - I think we'll go down really well!"


How do you like your mushrooms cooked?

"Sunny side up."


Care to add anything else? (about your own new releases/remixes/ideas/ideals/grievances/philosophies/quips/earth-shattering announcements/etc)?

"Only dead fish follow the stream!"

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This page is an archive of entries in the Interview category from June 2009.

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