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17 Dec 10

#45 'Boevember Mix' by Ben boe + interview

 
 

Mixed by

Ben boe

Location: London, UK

Hey my name's Ben and i run boe recordings, a new and exciting label dedicated to pushing forward thinking electronic music that is both underground and accessible.

Web:Boe podcast

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Ben Parkinson runs the excellent London based label, boe recordings. Founded in 2007, boe focuses on releasing modern underground house influenced by Detroit and Chicago.

So, Timo decided to catch up with Ben to learn more about the man himself and the label.

Ben also recorded a mighty fine mix for us, including such gems as one of Timo's favorite Next Evidence's "My Music" (also on DR #36) and also stuff from that classic Black Rascal's ep on Sumo (flip played by James Bucknell on DR gm #15).

Hey there Ben. Could you introduce yourself to DR listeners real quick?

Yep sure, I'm Ben, owner of boe recordings; the one man, all singing, all dancing house music record label from East London. I'm an Aquarius, I like pets and have a GSOH.

What does the coming weekend hold for you? Gigs, studio work, record shopping or just relaxing?

Mostly Christmas shopping and general drinking and eating lots during this time of year. I have no gigs planned until the new year so it's mainly partying for me.

What are your fondest musical memories from your childhood?

Listening to my parent's 80's record collection; mostly comprised of Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer, Cars, stuff like that. I used to listen to the music non-stop and dance around the living room, practicing my moves.

What was the first record that made a lasting impression on you?

Probably Michael Jackson's Thriller. I remembered it mainly because as a 5 year old, I shit myself when I watched the music video for the first time. Coupled with that, the tune was probably my favourite during my early youth.

In terms of house music it was probably Giv me Luv by Alcatraz. I got into dance/house in 96 and this was a bit of a big tune. Very commercial compared to the stuff I play now but it holds a bit of nostalgia for me, it was one of the first records I bought.

Home Town Chicago by Boo Williams

Boo Williams: Home Town Chicago, 1996

What are your favourite pieces of music you own and why?

I have a few records that I hold dearly. My copy of "Home Town Chicago" by Boo Williams is quite precious.

One of my favourite house music artists of the past is Vincent Floyd. It's a real shame that he didn't produce more records than the handful he did in the early 90s. People go crazy about "Your Eyes" but "I Dream You" is my favourite. I'll never get tired of listening to that record.

Tell us a good story about a clubnight where you were dj'ing and suddenly...

There have been quite a few good moments, strange ones too.

I used to play a lot at warehouse parties run by friends down at one particular spot in Whitechapel. The place is a lived- in warehouse but it's converted to cater for parties. There was a number of standalone air conditioning units hung on a couple of the walls.

I was chatting to a friend and all of a sudden a small Japanese lad screams and decides to launch himself like a wolf spider onto one of the units and tries to rip it off the wall. I couldn't stop laughing of the rest of the party. Pretty random.

What's the motivation or vision behind your label, Boe Recordings?

Just to put out music that I love and I want to play.

Why and how did you start out?

I had been DJing for about ten years and I wanted to achieve something. Part of the motivation was to gain a bit of credibility. It's nice when I meet someone for the first time in a club and they tell me how much they like the label. The good thing is this is happening more and more often.

Did you have any experience in the record business?

Not one minute of experience.

What does Boe Recs. have the others do not?

A one-eyed cat for inspiration. Plus a few artists that aren't on other labels.

Name a few labels you feel are close to boe recordings musically?

"One of my major principles about the label is to set it apart from others"

One of my major principles about the label is to set it apart from others so I hope that there are none. There are a lot of labels I look up to and am inspired by but none that I would compare the label against.

Do you see boe recodings a deep house label?

Sort of. I don't like sub genres, I see it more of a house label which has its own sound. It's melodic, it works on the dancefloor, it's emotive, groovy, so yeah if that's what deep house is nowadays then I guess it is. It's definitely not one note tech house that's for sure.

How do you select the artist for your label's roster? Like, where did you pick my fellow finn Deymare?

Most of the time I receive demos through soundcloud. The website is a revelation and it's so useful.

Very rarely do I actually sign anything though. Only two demos so far have resulted in releases on boe.

Most of the music is either not right or is just plain bad. I really appreciate it when I get a bit of information from the artist on their background and influences for example. Immediately I'm interested.

If I just get a download link and a sentence saying something like "listen the track sign your label" it will never get listened to. I just don't have the time and experience has told me that 99 times out of 100 it'll be crap tech house or minimal techno. I think, "why the hell did you send this to me? Haven't you even listened to any of the previous releases on the label??" Argh, I could rant on and on about this subject.

I received some demo material from Deymare literally the day I found his new record on Morris. I loved his ideas and his production. It's sort of like a quirky European take on the classic sampled Detroit house sounds.

I think he has an original sound for sure and that's the reason why I was so happy to do a record with him. Your Love wasn't originally supposed to be on the EP but a remix didn't work out (a quiz for the trainspotters to work out who it might have been) and I asked Tomas for some more music. I listened to Your Love and it truly blew me away. The best thing he has done so far.

How do you keep Boe running with sales as they are?

I have a well paid job 9-5 that helps keeps boe funded when it needs to be. Releasing vinyl is really hard.

boe_x_packing

Boe X ep, 2010

Sales are picking up a little and the new BOE X looks to be doing well so all the hard work and money invested is worth it.

The whole financial model has totally changed over the last few years. In short and to quote a technical term, there's sod all money to be made in making records. The returns come from peripheral stuff like licensing, gigs, parties, etc.

At the moment I'm looking to branch out and do some label parties next year.

What's the toughest part: distribution, promotion or getting recognition?

Getting recognition. Getting the right hype is a big factor for a label's success. Hype determines what's trendy and therefore what's going to be bought. So much music is bought through DJ charts, online coverage and buzz alone. Like comedy, timing is another crucial factor in releasing music.

I'm really happy with the label at the moment and I'm so happy with all of the nice messages I've been getting about the records I've been releasing. Credit is ultimately due to the artists that made the records though. Without them the label would be nowhere.

You do both digital and vinyl releases, do you think digital formats and their easy availability have had an impact on how people value music?

"For me I personally focus mainly on the vinyl side of things. It may be regarded by some as being less important nowadays and something for grandads but I'll put this out there... how many artists would prefer NOT to be on a vinyl release? I'd hazard a guess and say almost none."

Yes without a doubt. There are a proportion of people in this world who expect music to be free. It's a truly ludicrous stance. Nothing is free in this world apart from fresh air.

All music at any level takes time and requires financial investment to be released. So yes those people are helping to devalue music.

There is a flip side and that if it wasn't for downloadable music, a lot of artists might not ever get to see light of day in the scene. It opens up opportunities that would have been missed pre-internet.

For me I personally focus mainly on the vinyl side of things. It may be regarded by some as being less important nowadays and something for grandads but I'll put this out there... how many artists would prefer NOT to be on a vinyl release? I'd hazard a guess and say almost none.

How many top labels just do digital only and rarely venture into vinyl sales? Again very few, I can't even name one.

Vinyl is still very important yet it's difficult to put a handle on why. (Apologies for the horrible cliché) It's the tactile aspect I guess.

What has been the most memorable thing with Boe to date to you personally?

Seeing a lot of the artists on the label doing well. Burnski and KiNK in particular. Both are friends and are super talented. They thoroughly deserve the exposure they're now getting and I'm so glad that they have been a huge part in boe's success so far.

Kris Wadsworth, Leif and Iron Curtis are also doing well too and it's great to see. In release terms it's a close call between Halal Prepared and BOE X.

I'd say BOE X because getting to ten releases feels like an achievement and the music on the record is some of the best if not the best that's been on the label so far.

What's coming up in 2011?

Ladzinski is due a new solo EP which will be out late February / early March. Azuni and Marc Vacher are working away on some music and I have a couple of other really special things in the pipeline. I can't say anything about those just yet. I don't want to curse myself!

You also produce yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well I have a set up at home but I spend most of my spare time buying music, listening to music and working on the label. So I rarely get chance to work on anything. I need a studio partner to give me a kick up the backside and an excuse to work heavily on some music.

Name your favorite piece of gear?

My 29" Widescreen iMac.

Any remixes or releases in the pipe under you own name?

I have some ideas but nothing solid. I have so much good music from boe artists to work with at the moment.

What would be a perfect year 2011 for Ben Parkinson?

Vinyl sales on the up, more recognition, the time to make a couple of releases myself and most importantly more DJing gigs please!

So, the mix, tell us a little about that. I really loooooove the vibe.

I compiled and recorded this mix over a free weekend. The weather started to turn in the UK, the clocks had just gone back and it was cold.

My mood told me to pull out a load of deep techy records. It has some old favourites on there and some new music that I'm really digging at the moment.

Playlist

01. Low Top - Opening up - Inner sunset [discogs]
02. Brawther - Negentropy - Balance [discogs]
03. Next Evidence - My music - Basic [discogs]
04. Rick Wade - The ones - Harmonie park [discogs]
05. Korsakow - Sun of a gun [remix] - Bcc [discogs]
06. House of 909 - The last dance - Pagan [discogs]
07. Miles Sagnia - Bounce theory - Ornate [discogs]
08. Makam - You might lose it [Kerri Chandler dark mix] - Sushitech [discogs]
09. Black Rascals - Blaze theme track - Sumo [discogs]
10. Brawther - Le voyage - unknown [discogs]
11. Salz - A running mirror [Salz dub mix] - Telrae [discogs]
12. Monoder - 100% kierratetty kommarin dubbipiisi - Pakkas leyvt [discogs]