DeepDarkDungeonDubstep Mix Series #010 - Be-1ne (Mix & Interview)
Ben Ewins (aka UK based DJ/producer Be-1ne) has always been a favourite artist of mine ever since I saw him on GetDarker back in 2011, after which I discovered his label ‘AreaRecordings’ and immediately fell in love with the deep, 140 bass sounds they were pushing.. Now, 2012, and the label is getting more attention as well as the man himself, but attention and recognition is not what Be-1ne really thinks about…
D - To start things off, introduce us to Be-1ne and tell us a bit about yourself…
B1 - My name is Ben Ewins and I have worked under the alias Be-1ne since around 1998. I am a DJ / Producer who runs a small label called Area Recordings. I would say me and the label are known for music which would come under the deeper / experimental header of the dubstep / bass / 140 scene, or whatever it’s called next week. Primarily I focus on trying to produce and release original forward thinking music that I like or would want to hear.
D - How did you get into the scene and what were/are your main inspirations?
B1 - I became involved in the scene the same way as most people, which is through an interest in music and buying records. I would say I came through as part of the 2nd wave of producers in 2009/10 when the scene took a massive shift towards noisy brostep style beats.
I have never really gravitated towards that end of the spectrum and through the archives of the sub.fm show, which I started back in 2008, you can hear the continuity of the sound I play. Which seems to get deeper as time goes by.
As for inspiration, this is something I have a hard battle with as I am my own worst critic and more often than not feel like I have lost my passion for music. However from when I started Area Recordings I have taken a more active interest in existing outside of the perceived “scene”. I very rarely get bookings and don’t really follow what is going on too much outside of a close circle of producers I speak with. This is not to be arrogant; it is just how life changes and I have less time to dedicate to music these days. Yet I am still putting out releases and producing music in the background and still very passionate about finding and hearing new stuff.
D - How long have you been producing/DJing for and what got you into it?
B1 - I started DJing when I was about 19, back in 1995. My interest in it came about through going out clubbing. In hindsight I remember being exposed to DJing when I was about 12, which was back in the late 80’s. I was more interested in skateboarding at the time.
After all these years I still love DJing and am happy to say I now have my decks set back up and can spend much more time on them. Getting into cutting dubs gave me a kick up the arse and I’m really keen to go through a lot of the music I’ve been creating on a medium to play out.
D - The people that have heard your music before will know it’s deep and soulful and if they’ve heard one of your sets will know that’s the kind of music you like to play, but what are your opinions on the way dubstep has evolved?
B1 - I think the “scene” is very stale release wise. The stuff coming out 9/10 to me is boring. If it’s something I could make myself I’m not interested, I want to hear something a little different. However, this is usually not the case for everyone else. LOL.
To me I feel like the label has never quite got the recognition it deserves. Back in 2010 against all the odd’s I started what could have been considered an anti-label at the time. Deep dubstep music was not cool, not many people were listening to it. It was essentially a big void in the scene with only the most established labels and producers putting out the occasional “deeper” tune. Brostep was in full swing and it could be argued the scene for vinyl releases of this kind was dead.
Kryptic Minds were in full swing and their style / take on dubstep is what people latched onto and that is what is considered deep now. The deep sound now to me is very generic. I look to labels like Niteshade Inc and a few other producers for more I guess experimental? music. My set is mainly dubplates due to the nature of what I want to hear and play not being available. It is not through me being elitist, I just would not be able to go into a record shop and buy enough tunes I was into to make a set.
D - Tell us a bit more about your label – ‘Area Recordings’ – and how it all came about…
B1 - I started Area due to a lack of deeper music being available. If you look back to what was being released in 2010 you could probably count the artists with vinyl out on one hand. I was making music and didn’t have an outlet. I was not interested in getting singed to a label and had always been fascinated by the thought of releasing music so decided it would be a good opportunity to explore this.
I had been making music for about a year and began introducing my tracks to Lysergene who I worked with. He became interested in the style and started making some tunes. We would sit at work and compare tracks we made. He made a few tunes, about 6 really quickly and ‘Sub Ritual’ really grabbed me. I honestly felt like, and still do, that it was one of the best 140 / dubstep tracks I ever heard. I went through the tracks I had made and found something I felt would work as a B-side to it. He was happy for me to release the record and so I went through the process of getting it all set up, finding a mastering studio, manufacturer and distributor. Once this was all in place I went and got the records made.
I see the label as an evolving project, which I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with. I am never in a rush to get new releases out and would much rather sit back and wait until I have a really amazing record than just another release.
D - Seeing as though the deep, minimal dubstep scene has its roots in London and is still the hotspot for rising talent, being based in Birmingham did you find it hard to break-through as an artist and get heard?
B1 - I can’t say that I have ever really tried to break through. I do my thing and hope that people enjoy it. The “scene” is very small and as much as it would be cool to be DJing and producing all the time and making a living from that, I have a pretty cool job so don’t really have that pressure or expectation. I have followed many artists for many years who are only just getting some recognition. So for me, if people want to recognise what I do as cool and give me more opportunities to play out and spread the music I love it would be amazing. However, I have a really amazing life outside of music with a wonderful family that support everything I do. I could not ask for more than that.
D - Any exciting new releases or projects you can share with us?
B1 - At the moment I am looking at all the options available to me to get more music out there. ARE007 is currently in the making. I don’t want to reveal anything until it is ready, as I hate having release dates put back and what not. ARE008 will be a new record from me. One of the tracks has been featured in a few sets I’ve done and the flip as usual will be something brand new. I am aiming for these to both be out in the next 6 months. I do not have a clue what 009 might or could be at this time, but I do know I would like to try and get Area Music Vol 2 out as number 10.
As well as this I am looking into the options of maybe putting some CD albums out from artists. I personally have a lot of tracks I would like to release so may look at doing some kind of album / long player. As well as maybe doing a sub label for remixes or things I like but don’t feel fit onto the main label. These are just ideas and may or may not come together LOL.
D - There are so many new producers being introduced into the scene lately, but are there any up-and-coming producers that have caught your ear recently?
B1 - My favorite new producer has got to be Wizeguy! He has some amazing music coming out soon on shifting peaks label and really is one to watch in my eyes. Really soulful and has such a fantastic sound! I believe he now goes by the name DVLPR? (http://soundcloud.com/dvlpr/sets/shifting-peaks-12-aug-sept/)
Strago is on fire at the moment! I always eagerly await new stuff from the Niteshade Inc boys. I think they should get a lot more attention as they have really pushed the boundaries of what can be done at 140bpm.
Pressa I still think is a very under rated producer. He really has the beats and bass style nailed like no one else. No warps or mids, just beats, bass and funk!
D - Finally, can you tell us your top 3 most favourite/precious records that you own?
B1 - Dreams of Freedom: Ambient Translations of Bob Marley in Dub by Bill Laswell. This is one of the best albums I have ever heard in my life! And I have the original double vinyl set - amazing record, truly amazing. It reminds me of when I was working in record stores and truly care free.
- Be-1ne – Dog Ends: This was the first dubplate I ever cut of one of my own tunes. I still think this is a great tune, which always gets a good reaction when I play it in a set.
- Ricci Rucker – Fuga: This is a really experimental record, which Ricci did as a private press. I can’t remember the exact number of copies but it is super rare! and is a nod to the record collector in me.