BK interview before his Under the Influence Tour @ Frenzy
30th of April 2007 - interview copyright of Frenzy
BK is one of the true legends of hard house having produced anthem after anthem including Cortina's Music Is Moving, Let The Rhythm Move You, Bad Ass and so many more. We took some time out to speak to him, real name Ben Keen, before his Under The Influence Tour hits Frenzy at the Old Firestation in Bournemouth on the 12th of May.
1. Hi Ben thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by Frenzy! Firstly, let's set the scene by telling us a little about yourself... Age, location, favourite food, best kids' program from your youth…
I'm from London and I reckon Italian or Korean are my favourite foods. The Bionic Man was my favourite kids' programs and that probably why I like gadgets so much!
2. From what I know, you first had your tracks played out by the Trade DJs such as TDV, Steve Thomas, Ian M and the rest of those massive old skool hard house names. Which was the first of your tracks you heard being played out and what was the story behind it?
I used to be at Trade every week and I think I missed two weekends in five years of clubbing! I used to make a different tune for each for the residents for them to play each week. I think my first big tune at Trade was Sister Suck 'Gotta Get It Up' - we used to think of comedy names back then! It was a track that was on a label called Friction Burns and I made it in my converted garage studio after a weekend's clubbing.
I took it down to Tony, Ian and Pete the next week and they all loved it. Tony then used it on his Live in Tel Aviv album. It was the perfect place to learn my trade (excuse the pun!). They would play out dub plates of my stuff each week to a packed club and then give me genuine feedback.
3. Of all the tracks you’ve produced down the years, and there have been hundreds, is there one that you look back on now and are not particularly pleased with… or are just sick of hearing?
Ha ha... loads of them! I think as a producer you always think you can do better. I am constantly surprised how well some tunes do. Sometimes you are keener to play the new stuff but I don’t think I'm sick of hearing any of them. They all have very fond memories for me.
4. You’re fondly known for your tracks released on Nukleuz, in particularly the classic Hard Beat Series which contained tracks such as Bad Ass, Music Is Moving, and Clattered. Is there any chance of a BK revival of this type of sound as I know a lot of clubbers would love to hear some more of this?
Funny you should ask that. I have just done a series of 'Back To 99' remixes reliving my Hard Beat and my KY Jellybabies' guises. I have done remixes of 'Just A Feeling' which is my new single. Razor Babes 'Come On Baby' was another guise of mine from the Trade days and 'Systematic' - all in a new version of my old sound. The reason I did it was that after finishing my album I wanted to have a bit of fun in the studio some thing that didn’t have to push the boundaries. In other words some good old-fashioned party music.
5. I heard a rumour that you might be hooking up with Liam Howlett to produce some tracks. Is this true, and if so what’s the story with this? If it’s complete bollocks, is there a producer you’d like to work with and what sort of track would you like to do with them? Similarly is their a track out there you would love to remix but haven’t had the chance to yet?
It's bollocks! I would love to this though as The prodigy are amazing. Liam would be my definite choice to work with but it's sadly not true.
As far as remixes go, I pick tunes to remix on a whim as there are loads of tune I would like to do. It can be really hard to remix tunes you like because you usually like them because the are spot on and a good job has already been done. TDV's ' I Don’t Care' was one of the hardest remixes I've done because for me it was already perfect.
6. You’ve travelled globally as DJs so I’m guessing must have had one or two experiences that you could share with us from your adventures? Anything amusing, impressive, or just downright mad you could tell us?
I have had quite a few mad ones... I was once given a bodyguard in South Africa after a rival promoter threw a hand grenade over the fence of the house I was going to be staying! The bodyguard was ex-Special Forces and wouldn’t leave my side. The guy I was playing for had a room full of machine guns we got to fire off after the party!
7. You’re just about to release a solo album called Under The Influence. Could you tell us a little bit more about it – oh, and how did you come up with the title!
It’s a two CD album. The first CD has twelve new tracks and collaborations with people such as Lisa Lashes, Judge Jules, Nick Sentience and more. It's a journey in tough sounds, taking influences from other genres and give it the BK stamp.
The second CD is a recording of my live show. It was recorded at Global Gathering last year in front of seven thousand people going nuts! It was a lot of work getting the live show together. Technology now allows me to basically remix all my tracks live so it's basically a live mash up of all my biggest tunes using all the technology I could find.
8. At Frenzy, we’re known as ‘hard house enthusiasts’. Do you still have the same enthusiasm for the music as you did when you first discovered it?
Damn right I do... I fucking love it! I work five days a week in the studio and am in clubs all weekend. There are not many people who have done seven days a week for ten years trying to keep a genre fresh.
9. What was the first record you ever bought? Frenzy's was 'Knocking On That Green Door' by Shakin’ Stevens… Is yours just as embarrassing?
Mine was actually very cool. It was Electro Street Sounds Volume One at the age of six. I didn’t know it would be cool, I just liked the electronic sound!
10. How do you spend your free time when you’re not producing music and DJ’ing?
I don’t do anything but DJ and produce. I often get asked what my hobbies are but am still yet to find time to have any. If I can get up after a heavy weekend's gigging I like to see my mates at the pub and go for a Sunday roast and do the normal things.
11. This gig will be for Frenzy based in Bournemouth. Bournemouth’s well known as a summer time holiday resort and the summer is nearly upon us. Where did you tend to go on holiday as a kid and do you have any special memories?
My older sister married an American so we used to visit her when I was younger. I remember going to Disneyland and doing all the rides. I still go on all the rides at festivals now.
12. Finally, this will be your debut for Frenzy. What can the Bournemouth clubbers expect from you on May the 12th? Do you have any surprises in store for us all?
Loads of new music. I am doing a track with the Tidy Boys at the moment, so I may surprise you guys with the first ever play of that!
BK will next be playing for Frenzy at The Old Firestation on the 12th of May alongside the 12 Inch Thumpers and the Brain Bashers. Check out our forthcoming events for more information.