Through the years there has always been new waves of artists and selectors brining new sounds, new energies, and new life into different circles and genres. It’s always interesting to see younger faces get onto the circuit and show what they can do, watching them go from playing warm ups in their hometowns for small promotions to playing alongside pioneers in the scene and releasing their music on sought after labels is inspirational to see.
Amsterdam has always been a strong breeding ground for underground artists, especially in recent years with artists from the SlapFunk and VBX camp’s turning dance-floors upside down across the world and putting out some of the most forward thinking and groundbreaking music the scene has to offer. Julian Alexander and Samuel Deep (along with their team) have worked hard on raising the bar and at the same time bringing through new talent.
Pascal Benjamin is someone who has really hit the ground running since breaking onto the circuit and joining the SlapFunk family last year. His upcoming solo release entitled ‘From Scratch EP’ is set to come out on May 29th, so we had a little catch up with Pascal about his journey with the crew, and how things started – with a set of drum sticks.
“With drumming I couldn’t read notes but was jamming constantly. Then when I got older, electronic music became a much bigger interest. A big part of that began with my father’s taste of music, as when I was a little kid he used to play House sets at home all the time. Mostly from Deep Moscow radio or Dutch, Michel de Hey – I knew this was the sound I wanted to play.”
“It was an addiction immediately. The first thing I did when I came home from school was checking the project from the day before and couldn’t wait to finish it.”
It wasn’t long before a pair of Numark Axis 9’s where set up in his home, and a record collection of his own started forming. As for many in their teenage years, it was all about enjoying the moments when blending records, getting neater with mixes and spending time with loved ones enjoying music and the act of DJing, however for Pascal, this wasn’t just a phase that he was going through to pass time. Through flicking through records and hearing sounds from all over the world, the inspiration to create music became a burning desire…
“I used FL Studio at that time. When I discovered Minimal music everything started to find its place. It was a totally new world for me, so much good music to discover. There was not really a Minimal scene in Amsterdam, it was hard to find inspiration during the weekends. After I went to the VBX party’s at the Cruqiusgilde things where only getting better. I started to meet new people and found the inspiration that I was looking for. Man, how I miss that place!”
It was at Cruqiusgilde that Pascal was introduced to the crew, music was shared, and a few months later a track entitled ‘Forward’ was put out on one of their Raw Joints compilations. After featuring on this collective release, Julian and Sylvestro decided that a solo EP from Pascal would be the next step to take. Starting with a clean canvas in Ableton, some sounds where arranged and pieced together, and in three weeks, ten projects had transformed into full tracks.
“I remember I waited a day to reply on there message. I was so excited, and was only telling some close friends about it. Because I wanted to do something special for this EP I started with nothing. It felt really natural because I knew what I wanted to do with this release, combine the SlapFunk sound with mine. I’m really happy to join the SlapFunk Family, it’s such a warm group of people. They made me feel welcome and we had a connection immediately.”
Through this connection and the tracks that where produced after speaking with Julian and Sylvestro, the ‘From Scratch EP’ was birthed, four original tracks on wax, accompanied by stunning visual artwork. The release is full of energy and swinging hats, housey stabs and all round vibes! We’ve had the privilege of hearing a few of these on dancefloors already, and they caused some serious damage! The SlapFunk family have kindly allowed us to premiere ‘To GoodTo Be Who?’, the second track from the release, which is set to release at the end of the month.
You can catch Pascal Benjamin, Julian Alexander, Samuel Deep, Ferro, Shonky and Sanja at Amsterdam Open Air on June 3rd! Click Here for more info.