Hannover’s rising star Bennet assembles an euphoria-inducing mix in signature fashion.
Although a relative newcomer to the DJ realm, Bennet is one to keep your eyes on. Elevating dancers with their infectious 90s house tunes and silky blends, the vinyl DJ always manages to bring vibrant energie and euphoria to the dance floor. Steadily building momentum, as well as community, with their work behind the scenes as part of Buttercup and soft spot, and playing stand-out shows at parties like Festimi, Gay Haze and Body Language, we’re excited to follow this talented youngster.
Fresh from making their Gay Haze debut, we got in touch to hear about his time in Belgium, musical upbringing, treasured dance floor moments and things to come. In addition, he contributes a propulsive assembly of quality tunes ranging from early 90s NY-House to mid 90s Dutch and Belgian productions.
Hi Bennet, absolute pleasure to have you with us! What has been on your mind recently and where do we find you today?
Hey Oddysee-Crew, it’s such an honour to be on the series! I’m currently at my favourite café in Hannover, as I answer the questions. I’ve been reflecting on this eventful end of the summer season lately while also keeping up with my Master’s studies.
In the run-up to this interview, you told me you’re excited to head towards Brussels for your Gay Haze debut – the infamous party series co-run by Fais Le Beau. What makes Gay Haze so special, in your eyes, and how did you experience your first time playing there?
Gay Haze indeed was something beyond. Sharing the line-up with Dasco, Fais Le Beau and Asian Sal, I knew this was gonna be a match. Also, doing the closing slot for the first time ever made it extra special. Gay Haze was the last stop of my first intense weekend of touring, which means I already gave away a lot of energy during other shows. However, Dasco handed over an ardent and pulsating dancefloor, which immediately let me connect and get into the flow… – witnessing so many bodies interact, dance and express communal waves of queer joy caused constant goose-bumping up in the booth. Towards the end, as the penultimate record, Divine’s “Shoot Your Shot” chimed through the speakers, dancers came up to the booth and the whole panorama was just a dream come true – what a full-circle moment.
You also told me that this would be your first ever interview, so I would love to dive into your formative years a bit.. Was music always a central part of your life growing up and, if so, what were some of your earliest memories and the things you were brought up on?
Growing up as a queer child in a small town in the German countryside, music, in general, always provided me with a sort of sanctuary. I didn’t undergo any formal training or learn to play instruments, but instead, I connected through the emotions that certain songs, melodies and rhythmic patterns would evoke. Most of the music I listened to revolved around pop and RnB, with predominantly female lead singers whose unapologetic and powerful performances immensely impacted me.. I’m talking about Anastacia, Whitney Houston, No Angels, but also Everything But the Girl. I also remember my mom playing records by Divine and Donna Summer at home, while these same records still hold a special place in my crates.
You manage to create an endlessly propulsive, euphoria-inducing and fun energy with your sets. Merging a variety of genres from oldskool house, early progressive house and trance, to breaks and early rave hymns, how did things develop from those early encounters with music to the point where you’re at as a DJ today? And, what have been some of the most influential moments for you down that ride?
Thanks a lot! At some point during my adolescence, I was exposed to electronic music and found so much joy and something absorbing in the repetitive nature of it all. I went out a lot, had some very formative club experiences over the years, curated endless playlists, burned my own CD samplers, and started collecting records. During the pandemic I got myself proper turntables, practised a lot and used the time in isolation to go down those Discogs rabbit holes. While digging for new stuff, I first went by samples of singers and groups who I encountered both in academia and my coming-of-age period, such as Grace Jones or Kevin Aviance. In my shelves, these soul-infused house records are then juxtaposed with deeper and more propulsive selections, which, talking energy, go all-in, but always leave profound space to breathe. So I guess my music taste just evolved by spending hours in record shops, sharing music with friends and intertwining it all based on the euphoric and empowering nuances certain sounds evoke in my body.
What have been some of your most treasured club experiences till date, both as a guest and as a performer, plus the impact those moments had on you?
When it comes to my club experiences as a guest, it’s mostly been those extended stays at clubs where everything aligned perfectly and I could feel moments of togetherness on the dance floor. These were the times when dancing felt like a communal experience, and I felt a certain level of awareness and care for each other within the crowd. For me, these factors have been crucial to a club night in which I feel safe and sound. Regarding my experiences as a DJ, I perceive similar factors as essential. When playing at parties like Body Language, Festimi, Gay Haze, or Queerpol, I could clearly sense how their intentionality around discourses of awareness and care enriched the experience, both as a performer and as a dancer. It made the whole stay enriching and delightful.
You recently launched a new club night and mix series in Hannover together with Coco Cobra, titled Buttercup. What has been the inspiration behind this new project, and what do you aim to bring to the Hannover scene?
Looking at Hannover’s electronic music scene, we felt a strong tendency towards Techno-focused events and bookings that prioritise predominantly white, cis-male artists and simply felt the need to create a queer-oriented party and mix-series that intentionally holds room for empowerment and togetherness within a smaller city such as Hannover. Though we are still searching for a new home, we also plan on visiting other cities with this project soon-ish and I couldn’t be happier to do this with my dearest Lu (Coco Cobra).
You’re also part of the Hannover-based DJ-collective soft spot. Founded in 2018 by queers and FLINTA*s to seek for queer- feminist politics on and off the dance floor, can you tell us about the collective and the importance of the work that you do as part of the collective?
To me personally, soft spot became a group that always provided me a support system of cuties with shared beliefs and values. Apart from parties, the curation of line-ups and hosting DJ-workshops, soft spot also held a workshop series called „Push the Buttons“ to share knowledge in workshops on, for instance, sound engineering or the work as a FLINTA*-bouncer. There have also been cooperative projects with other collectives from around the globe to exchange ideas on how to strengthen bonds, but also to get inspiration for the individual local work. Though we faced some changes in location and shift in members, the group aims to find ways of persisting in the future.
What can you tell us about this mix you’ve put together for us? How did you approach the mix, what kind of energy can we expect?
With this vinyl-only mix, I intended a build-up from dubbier yet pulsating sunshine steppers ranging from early 90s NY-House to mid 90s Dutch and Belgian productions. The mix then moves to more club-oriented and cheeky textures that, for me, transmit affects of joy and bliss, while it also plays with a bunch of my fav vocal samples, as it just tip-taps notions of hard house, but that just remains a tease.
What else are you looking forward to in the next few months?
With regard to DJing, I’ll be making a few very exciting debuts and I can’t wait for another Buttercup edition. Apart from that I’m also looking forward to writing my master’s thesis to graduate as a teacher.