Leisure’s 19th podcast comes to us by way of Melbourne resident Benny Badge, best known for his work under the alias FREEKWENCY. Benny’s fantastic single Flip The Coin appeared on our best of 2012 list, and every offering since has been equally impressive. We spoke about his newly minted label Hot Shot, what’s always in his bag, and what not to miss on your next trip to Australia. The mix is a well deserved breath of fresh air for everyone who’s been cast under a veil of snow and rain for the last few months. Sit back with a cool beverage of your choice, and soak in the warm, positive vibrations being served up from down under.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve prepared for us? When and where was it recorded?
My best buddy, Inkswel, was off touring Japan last week, so I thought I’d seize the chance to bust into his studio and lay this one down between playtime with his lovable pooch, Sun Ra. It was a nice warm Saturday in Melbourne — maybe the last for the year — which I think brought it’s own vibe. There’s nothing frantic about the mix. The selections were all quite natural and records that I use a lot. It journeys a bit, which is typical of how I often play, but the denominators between tracks are always great synth work and solid production.
You recently started a label called Hot Shot. Can you tell us a bit about the ethos behind the label? How did you begin collaborating with vocalists such as Reggie B and Molly D?
Hot Shot began because Jules [Inkswel] and I both had projects we wanted to release with our original visions left intact. We were also interested in having more input with the production of the records themselves, mainly to find out what works and what doesn’t, musically and aesthetically. Personally I envisioned a label that would really give the credit back to the artists, instrumentalists, engineers, distributors and not just us as producers. What I miss about modern music is being able to cross-reference records because you liked certain elements of them. The collaborations for HS001 came about very organically. Jules and Reggie go back from their work on the first Inkswel Boogie Bash EP, and I met Molly while she was living here looking for her next creative step. Working with amazing talent isn’t just important in making good records; it pumps us up watching these songs we plan cross the finish line the way we intended.
There seems to be a strong resurgence of boogie influence coming out of the Australian scene. Tell us a bit about what’s happening down there: which nights, labels, DJs, artists should we be on the look out for?
Honestly, most people I know who are really doing it have relocated to Melbourne from other cities for the big energy that’s around, but of course there’s stuff happening all over. I’m involved in a few regular parties including the Boogie Bash, Pyramix and Secret Heat Saturday jams; there’s Lioness and Soul of Sydney doing their thing; “A Love Supreme” in Brisbane plus Paradise Loft Radio which is a dedicated Disco Boogie podcast that happens most weeks. Some current artists and DJs that I’m digging are Charli James, Molly D, Pony Boy, Mister Smith, Andras Fox, MFP, Travis Lee and Gavin Boyd, Jordan Ruru, Quarter To and so many more…
I recently found out you were responsible for playing keys on Tom Noble’s “Malaco”. How did that collaboration come about?
A few years back, Tom and Inkswel had been in touch about remixes for the Superior Elevation 7″ of “Accept The Truth”. I passed through Melbourne on my way to play WMC in Miami. I got to hear some other music Tom had been preparing, for which I sent some ideas. He agreed to meet in L.A., so we could record them properly. My whole time in the States was a big hilarious mission, and my experience with Mr. Noble was no exception, haha. It was a definite pleasure to have worked with him and I was stoked when Future Times put it out.
What five tracks would you say have had the biggest influence of you as a musician or never leave your record bag as a DJ?
Well one of them is on the mix, Thelma Houston’s “You Used To…” – Flyte Tyme’s work on that just hits me for six every time I hear it. Other influences or go-to’s are Total Contrast’s “Takes A Little Time”, Kleeer’s “Never Cry Again”, pretty much anything on Tabu Records and all those jazz artists who crossed into boogie territory during the 80s, eg. Marcus Miller, George Benson, Kenny G and Kashif.
What’s next for Hot Shot? Any other forthcoming releases or tours planned for 2013?
The label has some big things coming up, first of which is the album from my old group “Nite Class” on HS002. Expect some serious modern soul and boogie flavours there, as it was my first big project and has had a whole lot of love put into it! We have a few more releases lined up featuring some big names, but that info will be announced real soon. As far as tours go, I’m planning to get back to the UK and Europe as soon as possible to finalise a lot of work I’m sending that way. No doubt I’ll organise some shows while I’m there.
- Nite Class – Love Scenes (Hot Shot Sounds)
- Indeep – When Boys Talk (Scratch Version) (Sound of New York)
- Juju & Jordash – Musketache (Future Times)
- Beatfanatic – Black Satin Nights (Soundscape)
- Midway – Set It Out (Funky Breakdown mix) (Personal)
- Fatback – Is This the Future (12″ Version) (Important)
- NV – It’s Alright (Extended Dub Mix) (Sire)
- Jeff Lorber – Pacific Coast Highway (Club records)
- Greene feat Colonel Abrams – Runnin’ (Unknown Label)
- Overnyte – You Can Count On Me (April Records)
- Thelma Houston – You Used To Hold Me So Tight (MCA)
- J.M. Silk – I Can’t Turn Around (Insane Mix) (RCA)
- Nick Anthony Simonchino – Dark Night (Thug records)
- Glass Pyramid – C.C. (Alternate Take) (PPU)
- PTy LTd – Who’s Been Watchin’ U (Gallery)