After the fourth FatKidOnFire Presents feature with Tempa’s latest signee AxH in September, we shifted our focus from FKOF Presents here on the site to FKOF presents FKOFd on Juno (and most other good electronic retailers)…
But as the year comes to a close, we’ve resurrected the series for the fifth and final FatKidOnFire Presents interview and guest mix of 2013. And although we were spoilt for choice with the artists we could have chosen, the young producer we’ve chosen has had one of the best debut years we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing in a long while.
Theo ‘Sepia’ Bennett had a number of well received releases throughout this year, an exemplary feature with the tastemakers at Hedmuk and has recently signed what will be an extremely impressive physical release (pending announcement early 2014).
I caught up with the producer, DJ and all-round bass music extraordinaire a few weeks ago to discuss the above, what’s in store next year and much more.
This is FatKidOnFire Presents #5 – Sepia…
Theo! What’s good? Easy Wil. All good here, hope you’re bless too.
Yeah man, can’t complain!
As far as I can tell, it’s been a pretty good year for you. Supported by some pretty huge names, a feature spot with our friends at Hedmuk, and one or two pretty huge releases. What’s been your highlights from the past twelve months? Thank you. The past year has been a madness for me and I’m very grateful and appreciative of the support, interest and plays I have received. There are so many highlights of this year, it’s hard to narrow it down but I’ll try my best!
My tune ‘Cornered’ was released by Redshift One this year and got to #10 in the Juno Chart – it also got some Radio 1 coverage from Skream & Benga too. Super stoked at the support that tune got…
The fact people like Joe Nice have been cutting my tunes (Joe’s even played them on his Sub.FM show) means a hell of a lot to me – I can’t even begin to explain how much. He’s has invested in my sound by cutting it to dub. I’ve had support and plays from the likes of Vivek, Quest, Silkie, Swindle, Dusk & Blackdown, Wen, Facta, Parris, Etch, Congi etc.
I’ve also met a tonne of people over the past year and developed friendships with them too, that has personally been my main highlight. It’s good to see the people I consider my friends and peers doing so well lately; we all bounce off each others vibes. It’s a great community type feeling.
Last but not least, the feature Hedmuk did with me also was a HUGE highlight. I am really appreciative of the support Willum and the team have given me over the past year. There’s also this with you guys at FKOF, thanks for the opportunity!
You strike me as a fairly unique producer, one who’s capable of holding his own with the minimal 140 productions but also seamlessly branching out to hip-hop, 130bpm etc. What’s your musical background? I’ve always been obsessed with music. When I was growing up, I was mainly into bands (and still am) but also loved electronic music. I play drums, bass and guitar so have always been quite musical.
I think I picked up DJing and producing in around 2008.
Other than perhaps Sigur Ros, who you’ve previously named as a big influence, which musicians or producers have inspired your wanderings across the many genres you seem so experienced in? Way too many to mention. For me personally, bands like Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor have had an insanely profound effect on my life since early. A lot of local bands (from where I grew up) also shaped my teenage years.
Electronically, it was the likes of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Bonobo etc that really got me obsessed. In my current musical state, producers like Mala, Burial, Phaeleh, Congi, Quest, Silkie, Swindle, Author, Gantz etc really inspire me. It’s literally impossible to list all my influences as I have drawn inspiration from so many musicians and producers ever since I got into music. I love so many different types of music.
I listened to a lot of dub/reggae, RnB, soul, disco etc when I was little. Eventually I got into jazz, punk, emo, hardcore, metal, indie etc then explored garage, house, drum n bass, dubstep, footwork etc. I just generally love hearing new sounds and hearing music manipulated in various ways, so we’d be here for hours if I was to list my musical background!
What’s your most valuable production tool – the one item in your studio you couldn’t do without? I don’t really have a studio set up. Literally, I have a laptop, speakers and headphones – not even proper monitors!
So for me, I’d say passion for music, a little bit of knowledge, ideas, inspirations and a good pair of ears are the most valuable tools for production. Other then that, my DAW is the most valuable, as without it I’d obviously not be able to make any music. I use FL Studio.
If you could release on any record label, in any genre, which three imprints would you choose? I’m not purposefully avoiding this question, I just feel it’s quite a personal one, and I also don’t want to shun out other labels by not including them.
But to me, in my honest opinion, any label that believes in what you are doing and want to invest in your sound and your ideas and cut your tunes to vinyl and share them with the world are worthy.
We know a lot of artists still prefer physical releases over digital, do you have a preference? If so, what’s your rationale? I have no beef with digital releases (as I’ve had a few, all of which I am extremely grateful for). When I DJ I play on vinyl and CD, because I simply can’t afford to cut all the incredible tunes I am being sent on a daily basis.
Making music is an extremely personal process in my case. I put all my time, effort, heart and devotion into making music. I am humbled and appreciative that people want to release my music, but for me, I would much prefer vinyl. It’s a lot more personal. These labels are investing in your sound and obviously enjoy it enough to commit to pressing records and releasing them.
In your opinion, which artists are consistently producing the most exciting bass music at the moment? The whole Chord Marauders crew (Congi, Geode, Jafu, B9, Trashbat, Gerwin, Facta, K-Lone). Gantz, LAS, Etch, Facta, Wen etc. Too many to mention.
Your FatKidOnFire Presents seems to plot how the best Sepia set would pan out, what can you tell us about it? I originally was going to record a mix of my own tunes, but I found that a daunting experience and felt a key factor to my sets was missing.
I like to make my sets into a journey, so to be able to do that I needed to include tunes by other people I am feeling. There are some high octane parts but I blend them in with deep atmospherics and melodies too.
I like to think of this mix as part of what I’d play in a club and also showing what home listening is like too.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did recording it!
What does 2014 hold for you? What releases, if you can talk about them, are you working towards? Any chance of a Sepia album at some point? I can’t really say much right now, but keep your eyes and ears open. It will all become a lot clearer shortly into 2014. Updates will follow on facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud etc [all links below] one I’ve been given the green light.
Any final words? Big up to everybody who’s supported me this year and also all of the people I have been lucky enough to meet and/ or develop friendships with. Hope everyone has a good Christmas and new year, and I’ll be seeing you on the other side.
Also, thanks for the opportunity Wil!
Click to DOWNLOAD
- Quest – Dubfoot [Deep Medi]
- Gantz – Stayer [Inamind]
- TMSV ft. Beezy – Crashing [Black Box]
- Sepia – Bound [dub]
- Sepia – Guidance Dub [dub]
- Silkie – Beauty [Deep Medi]
- Karma – Smear Dub [System]
- Commodo – Northern Soul [Deep Medi]
- Wayfarer – Reflections [Uprise Audio]
- Geode – Drifter [Chord Marauders]
- Sepia – Cornered [Redshift One]
- Sepia – Conflict [dub]
- Sepia – Blizball [dub]
- Mala – Left Leg Out [DMZ]
- TMSV – Haze [Artikal]
- Sepia – SUBconcious [dub]
- Sepia – Dreams [dub]
- Sepia – Downfall [dub]
- Trashbat – Takaramachi [Chord Marauders]
- Swindle – Long Live The Jazz [Deep Medi]
- Author ft. Quark – After Time [Black Box]
- Martyn – Broken [Revolver]
- Ludovico Einaudi – Walk (Phaeleh remix) [Ponderosa]
- Burial – Shell of Light [Hyperdub]