From Zurich to Berlin: We Met King Ben
We continue our Mixtapes series with an exciting young artist that is taking the deep house world by storm.
Next up we welcome Swiss DJ and producer King Ben who is probably the pure opposite of a late bloomer - more of an early starter. Ben grew up near Zurich in a home with a wide variety of influences: His mother is Turkish, his father, who is a gifted jazz musician is Swiss, plus both have Spanish and Polish roots. No wonder Ben started playing the piano at the age of nine and after watching a DJ play for the first time at the age of twelve, Ben was hooked. Instead of buying an electric bass guitar, he invested all the money he had saved into his DJ set up. The investment paid off and he started to DJ at the age of 13, developing a unique groove sound and landing his first gig at the legendary Sputnik Radio.
King Ben was now arguably one of Switzerland's youngest DJs and was already bringing the big dance floors to the boil by injecting his trademark deep house sound into venues. Ben also landed residencies at hip clubs such as Zoo Club and Silo. Not only that, together with his brother, who organised parties and ran a club, Ben spent many late and early shifts behind the turntables. A self-confessed Deep House addict, the parties alone were no longer enough for Ben, resulting in him spending long hours in his studio creating new tracks.
His organic, melodic and yet downtempo sound probably reflects his personality and his diverse cultural, creative musical influences which are drawn in from jazz, hip hop and pop. In the studio, Ben forgets time and experiments for days and weeks on a new track, getting lost in a bubble of sound tinkering. It didn't take long for Ben to get noticed with his first release on a small label in Germany, followed by further releases on Berlin labels such as Kindisch, Bar 25 and others. Today his tracks are played by international stars appearing in DJ sets, radio shows and guest mixes with a release portfolio that now spans across Berlin, Switzerland and the US. We caught up with Ben to find out more.
Hi Ben, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
Thanks, I'm doing great. This week the release 'Miracle', which is out on now on Berlin label Ouïe Circle, has certainly been the main topic musically. The EP also features a great track with Acid Pauli.
Apart from that, I am already back in the studio. I'm a Dad, have a young dog who doesn't listen much, I'm a graphic designer and a husband... Therefore I'm certainly not bored!
I read recently that you started to play the piano at the age of nine, have you always been surrounded by music?
Yes, always. My father is a jazz addict, my grandmother was a concert pianist and my parents always had parties at home.
There was always music playing and that's when I wanted to make it myself. After playing the piano, my brother's best friend taught me to mix at the age of 12 plus my brother had an underground club in Zurich.
Who has inspired you the most musically?
Music inspires me to make music.