In the electronic music world Ben Sims receives many plaudits, but what makes him stand out from the crowd is the praise and respect from his peers. ANDREW NELSON catches up with the prolific UK producer and finds out that it’s new music that makes techno’s Big Ben tick.
Ben Sims is not a man to rest on his laurels. The producer who has over 50 quality techno releases to his name during a 20 year span, has worked with luminaries such as Tyree Cooper, Blake Baxter, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Kevin Saunderson, A Guy Called Gerald (and soon to be Robert Owens); and is about to turn 40 next year, so he could be forgiven for sitting back and coasting through his DJ engagements and living on past glories, but that’s not the case.
“I’m more passionate right now than I have been for years,” says Sims. “There’s so much great music out there and with the new generation of producers/DJs coming through, it’s just a very inspiring and exciting time, I’m not anywhere near ready to hang up my headphones just yet.”
Sims came from a hip hop background, getting his first decks at the age of 13 and becoming more involved with the scene as it progressed through acid house and rave, to develop into the go-to-person for quality techno, starring in clubs such as Fabric and Berghain and being involved with nine labels including Hardgroove and Theory. He’s immensely well respected by his contemporaries – Derrick May and Jeff Mills endorsed his early work and Kevin Saunderson asked him to help launch the 25th anniversary of KMS Records – but refreshingly he doesn’t dwell on the past.
“I could get all misty eyed about the good ol’ days but at the end of day, the first time you experience anything is the most overwhelming, that’s when it’s life changing. For many of the party people on the dance floor, this is their acid house movement, their first wave of techno, their first summer of love and they don’t care about some ol’ geezer harping on about way back when; and if I was just discovering the scene, I wouldn’t either.”
He’s carried this ethos forward into his club night and label, Machine, which has a strict policy of new (techno) music only. “The concept was Kirk’s idea (Kirk Degiorgio, co-promoter)”, he explains “but he didn’t have experience running nights, so we joined forces. It’s been a lot of fun and hard work in equal measure. The concept really works and the crowds have been amazing, as have the guest DJs, who are often even stricter with the only unreleased or brand new music theme than we are.”
It’s a philosophy he’s going to carry through to his tour down under and it’s the atmosphere rather than the temperature that’s coaxed him over for the second time in 12 months.
“It’s definitely not the weather that’s bringing me back; the grey skies of England and a permanent studio tan suit me fine”, he laughs, “it was the vibe at the parties last year that I’m coming back for, it was great, especially after not visiting Aus for many years, so I just wanted to get over there again ASAP. On the tunes front I’m doing my best not to drop the big or obvious tracks I’m associated with and push more new, lesser known stuff, more in keeping with the Machine concept of brand new or unreleased music.”
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 @ TECHNOBERFEST, THE COURT
Get tickets here.