Benny Benassi talks DJ culture, crossovers and collaborations
Wed, May 23, 2012 (11:28 a.m.)
You started DJing in the ’80s. How have audiences changed? There’s a whole new generation of kids who perceive dance music like it was pop or rock. They go to EDM festivals with the same spirit you used to see at rock festivals.
You’ve said, “When I started you were either a trance DJ, a techno DJ or a house DJ.” Describe it today. When I started there was a big divide still between techno, trance and house. Different DJs and different clubs. The electrohouse scene was small, and no one was quite sure exactly what it was. It had techno sounds but was slower, like house music, but it didn’t have all the samples house music usually did. Over the past 10 years the barriers have fallen and a lot of established DJs play a bit of everything.
- Benny Benassi
- With Fedde Le Grand and Madeon.
- May 25, 9:30 p.m., $80 men, $40 women, local ladies free.
- Marquee, 333-9000.
How has hip-hop’s role in the DJ scene evolved? Hip-hop for me in Italy was limited to the big hits that came over and got played on radio. I didn’t know very much about it at the time, and it wasn’t culturally entrenched in Italy. In the meantime, we now have hundreds of Italian rappers, some of whom are very good, and in the U.S., hip-hop artists are turning to electro to explore new sounds and new beats.
You’ve “Internet collaborated” with Kelis, T-Pain, Chris Brown and many others. Any highlights? It’s the joy of modern technology. You can make a record with someone without having to be in the same room, just by sending files back and forth. It’s great! We also did three tracks for Madonna’s new album, which was an amazing honor and a very stimulating experience.
You often credit your cousin Alle as your partner and inspiration. Why do you get to be the famous one? Alle and I are a production team. He’s my cousin, and we’ve been together since Day 1. He’s the musician and computer brain behind my productions. But we work out the ideas, the structure and ultimately what to leave in and what to take out together. If I am more famous than Alle, it’s just because I’m the DJ and “the artist” on the records, and Alle has a more behind-the-scenes role. But he’s just as important!