DJ Benny Benassi has practically become a household name in the last decade since his smash hit “Satisfaction” in 2002. Talk about a worldwide club anthem. Albums Hypnotica and Rock ‘N Rave, side project Benassi Bros. and a series of prolific remixes have further proved him as a staple in the EDM culture landscape.
Still as strong as ever, playing festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival and Stereosonic, the Northern Italian DJ is about to embark on an extensive 16-date bus tour across the US and Canada, his largest string of consecutive shows on a single tour to date. We imagine this North American tour will be quite a bit different (and a little less physically challenging) from his ’09 California tour in which he biked from San Francisco to San Diego doing shows in between—even a DJ set in a bike store and an improvised party on a beach. That’s what you call an on the road accomplishment.
Joining Benassi on select dates for his upcoming tour will be tropical hard-house DJ and fellow Italian Congorock, the “Play Hard” or go home Chicago trio Krewella and a new name to most US ears (not so new among the Italians), Pink Is Punk (whose new single with Benny Benassi “Perfect Storm” will be out on October 16 via Ultra Music). We predict that this tour will sell out before the wheels hit the road… so don’t sleep on getting your tickets.
“I love the United States. It’s one of my favorite places to play, so I’m really looking forward to getting on the bus, on the road and maybe even testing out some new music for my fans,” says Benassi. “It would take ages to tour the whole country on a bus, so we picked a specific route where the idea is to bring the show to places I don’t normally visit as well as some of my regular haunts. I’ll have my full visuals team with me—and some great guests. I’m excited about this.”
We are too. Kicking off October 17 in Austin, Benassi is going big in Texas with seven dates in the Lone Star state alone. From there Benassi and company travel across the country and up the West Coast through Tempe, Las Vegas, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara—all the way to Vancouver, the final stop on the tour.
Hey Benny, lets start off with a little blurb about yourself in relation to music. Go…
I always feel a little odd talking about myself or describing myself because I try not to take myself too seriously. Good things have happened to me and I guess that makes me a lucky guy. I always try to respect that and not take things for granted. I don’t want to express my views on anything except music because my general ideas and opinions aren’t worth any more than everybody else’s just because I’m a well-known DJ. I have always loved electronic music and because it’s technological music, sound quality is an essential feature of the music I love. I love to listen to music from different angles because it’s like seeing things from different points of view. When I choose a track for a set I like hearing it on different systems, in my car, in the studio, on headphones…and when it works everywhere I can play it to my fans. I love to be in studios with good acoustics, I love to play out on excellent sound systems with excellent, loud, giant foldback monitors to get the same vibe as the crowd.
“When I was a kid and listened to club music, I used to imagine I was the DJ playing on a huge stage and the singers on the tracks I was playing would come on stage and perform with me.”
What’s your weapon of choice?
Parmesan cheese (no-one knows it’s better than Viagra)
How many miles would you say you travel per year?
Do I really have to try to work this out?
Ok, no. How about gigs played per year?
I would guess about 120.
What’s the source of your power?
My power is EDM (electronic dance music). I am just a conduit.
Sometimes when I listen to music I visualize turtles turning in circles while birds fly back and forth to a well, what do you imagine?
My imagination is fired by the music I’m listening to. When I was a kid and listened to club music, I used to imagine I was the DJ playing on a huge stage and the singers on the tracks I was playing would come on stage and perform with me.
The last time I did a bootleg—I think it was an AC/DC track—I had a vision of the guitarist playing his riffs on stage while I was deejaying. Do you really want to know what I imagine when I listen to Katy Perry?
“Overwhelmed by the emotion and a little nervous, I placed the next record over the record that was still spinning ‘sandwiching’ the stylus between the two records…”
If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:
My wish for you is that you meet a talented producer who believes in your ideas and your project and helps produce your tracks forever.
What is a song that inspired you to create?
Do you really want a list of tracks that inspired us? My manager will kill me!
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
One of my most memorable moments was when I was a very young DJ and playing vinyl. Overwhelmed by the emotion and a little nervous I placed the next record over the record that was still spinning “sandwiching” the stylus between the two records… unforgettable.
Is there a band whose album covers you love? Or a designer of covers?
I love Pink Floyd covers by Hypgnosis. They’re still groundbreaking and original… And the Motown covers with young artists who were always nice to look at. I’m looking at an early Diana Ross record cover as I write this. Do you realize how great she looked! To be honest, in this digital age, I really miss big covers…
Talk about some of your “classic” memories of touring? What cities stand out to you? Stories?
First of all I’d like to say that one of the wonderful things about my job is that it’s given me a chance to visit places I would never have gone to otherwise. New York. I love this city so much that I have a small apartment in lower Manhattan where I hang out whenever I can. I love the mentality and the vibe. I love trying to imagine what it must have been like in the Eighties when Fiorucci and “Everybody” by Madonna were in fashion.
What a passion of yours outside of music?
My greatest passion outside music is cycling. I’ve been pedaling since I was a small kid, almost before I could walk. When I was a teenager I even thought of turning professional, but music won the day in the end. I did manage to combine my two passions, though, in 2009. With the help of some friends, I cycled from San Francisco to San Diego and played a few shows en route. It was one of the most exciting challenges I’ve ever set myself and there was an amazing response from fans that met me outside the cities along the way and rode in with me. Lots of impromptu things happened, like a DJ set in a bike store or an improvised party on a beach.
What do you like to listen to while riding your bike?
Snow Patrol “Open Your Eyes”
This is a really moving song. The vocals are haunting and I never get tired of it. You ride and ride.
Oasis “I’m Outta Time”
This goes really well with an uphill part of the ride. I imagine riding uphill in Big Sur in California listening to this.
This one gives me the energy I need when I’m exhausted but need to keep pedaling. The guitar riff recharges my batteries. Amazing.
Adele “Set Fire to the Rain”
This is perfect for a flat stretch after a hard climb to relax and think about the future as you pedal.
Coldplay “A Message”
I love this one because it’s minimal and essential, like riding a bike.