World-renowned DJ washes up on our shores for two nights
By Logan Broyles | Downtown News
Legendary spin master Benny Benassi rolls through town for two nights of heavy bass beats and sweaty dancing at Fluxx nightclub at 500 Fourth Ave. on March 28 and 29. Known as the Rave Father and the Godfather of Techno, Benassi has been laying down some of the world’s best dance music for decades.
Benassi got his start in the late 1980s working as a resident DJ in Italian clubs alongside his cousin Alle, whom he credits with being the real musical genius in the family. The two grew up together in their hometown of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and Benassi said they were more like brothers than cousins.
“I always wanted to be a DJ, so I started in a club in the small town I grew up in when I was a teenager,” Benassi said. “My first show was when I was sixteen, but it wasn’t exactly a show. I was a clumsy kid mixing vinyl’s and trying not to get it wrong.”
In the mid 1990s, Benassi began branching off on his own, and in 2001, his hit single “I Feel So Fine” flew to the top of the charts in Italy and the United Kingdom. His career took another huge leap forward that same year with the smash hit “Satisfaction,” putting the Benassi name on the world’s radar.
His solo debut album, “Hypnotica,” came out in 2003 and won the European Border Breakers Award after it racked up the most sales for an Italian album outside of the country.
Today he works mainly with his cousin, often under the moniker the Benassi Bros., and features vocals by Paul French and Violeta Claudia among others. The Benassi Bros. have released two albums: 2004’s “Pumphonia” and the follow-up album, “Phobia,” in 2005.
“Alle is the musical brain behind the productions,” Benassi said. “I bring ideas into the studio, then he turns them into tracks and we test the structure together. I’ll play the new tracks in small clubs to check out reactions, then we go back to the studio and tweak until we’re satisfied,” he said.
Benassi’s latest solo album, “Electroman,” came out in 2011 and features collaborations with T-Pain, Chris Brown and British singer-songwriter Gary Go.
Benassi’s music is genre defining and continues to set the standard for the world of techno music. Yet after all these years of success, Benassi still says he does not always know when a song will be popular.
“If we knew the key to making a hit we’d make them everyday, but in fact we discard 75 percent of what we produce,” said Benassi. “Then some piece of music we’ve created has that extra something. It feels right, it works [or] it has a better idea in it [with] a better riff, a better synth sound… and we keep it,” he said. “It’s a mysterious process and I respect the mystery.”
Looking ahead, Benassi said he hopes to make his shows “a little richer, visually” and develop the production side of the operation. Benny and his cousin have been working on producing more beats for other artists and really becoming a force in the industry.
This will be Benassi’s first trip to San Diego in 2012, but the master of house music has been coming to the City for years. He said he looks forward to stopping in town at the end of March.
“I love everything about San Diego. I’ve been coming here for years,” Benassi said. “There’s just such a good vibe. People are into the music and they are just who they are, no posing or pretending to be someone else.”