Benny Benassi Talks Music and Firefly Music Festival [Exclusive Interview]

Marco Benassi, known worldwide as DJ Benny Benassibegan his expansive career in the 1980s. He started out producing tracks and DJ-ing alongside his cousin, Alle Benassi, in their hometown in Italy. Throughout the years, Benassi has evolved as an artist, dropping epic albums like Hypnotica (2003), Rock n’ Rave (2008), and Danceaholic (2016). 

Benny Benassi Canada show
Benny Benassi via Facebook

Benny Benassi’s upcoming performance at Firefly Music Festival on Friday, June 15th is surely going to be unforgettable.

His distinct tracks can be heard in the trendiest clubs and at some of the world’s largest, most spectacular music festivals, too. Whether you put on a track like ‘We Light Forever Up’ or the massive ‘Satisfaction’, you are undoubtedly going to get pumped up. The hypnotic synths and sick beats that have helped Benassi become notable are truly captivating.

Listen to Benny Benassi X Lush & Simon’s ‘We Light Forever Up’ (ft Frederick):

Benny Benassi Spain
Benny Benassi via Facebook

We had the chance to catch up with Benny – he filled us in on life, his music and, of course, who he’d like to catch at Firefly.

Q: What do you have in the works for the upcoming months, musically?  

A: 2017 for me is all about collaboration! I also plan to tour around the world as much as possible, and of course, we have some surprises lined up for 2017 too.

Q: How different is it for you as a dance music artist to be playing at Firefly, a festival with such a diverse lineup?

A: My approach to my set is always conditioned by where I am. I totally love events hosting all kinds of music, by the way. The hope is that maybe one or two people discover electronic music for the first time even though they went to see something else.

Q: What sort of set (if you can give us all a hint) do you have in store for Firefly attendees?

A: It’s a surprise…

Q: If you could stick around to catch another artist’s set, whose would it be?

A: Oh wow, I’d like to see the whole festival… all four days! I’d love to see the big acts like Muse and The Weeknd.

Q: You have been creating music and playing at some of the largest events worldwide for longer than many artists currently in the scene. Is there anything in particular that you think has changed for the better, whether that be regarding the actual music or the scene generally?

 A: There have been a lot of changes in the music scene while I’ve been in it; for instance, EDM. I think EDM is great, it’s just making dance music mainstream. There are so many incredible artists in the EDM community right now, and it has grown and developed because of this.

It’s become bigger and better for everyone. With DJs and producers teaming up with singers and rappers, things are opening up more. There are a lot more young, talented artists coming through, which leads to great new music. 

Q: Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve always enjoyed playing at? 

A: I don’t have a favorite specifically, but I do love playing at a few around the world. Marquee in Las Vegas, Ministry of Sound in London, Pacha in New York, Ushuaia in Ibiza, and Ruby Skye in San Francisco are a few of my favorites. I played at Ushuaia in Ibiza a couple of times this past summer, and those shows were fantastic. 

Q: Favorite track (s) by yourself? 

A: I can’t decide, honestly. That’s almost like asking someone to pick their favorite child.

Q: Artists that influence your style

 A: There are many, truly a lot of, artists and DJs who’ve been influential along the road. At the very outset, it was the big electronic music producers like Giorgio Moroder. Then, the pioneer DJs who took DJ-ing out of anonymity, like Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, and others began to influence my style.

I first began to realize what you can do with a mixer listening to Erick Morillo many years ago. And now I’m influenced by the kids, namely acts like Skrillex, Afrojack and Congorock. I love their energy. 

Listen to ‘Amnesia’ by Paul Oakenfold & Jordan Suckley:

Q: What gets you dancing?

A: Since I was a young teenager, I was always a fan of dance music, and now, professionally I don’t think I’ve done much not involving dance music. It’s a deep passion that has shaped my life. 

Q: What helps you create? Anything in particular that helps you come up with concepts for your music and albums?

A: Growing up, my earliest inspiration was eighties electro-pop. Alle is a classically trained musician and when he started making music with me, he had a weak spot for techno music. We learned our craft in a small town in northern Italy – Reggio Emilia – which had an amazing output of Italian house productions, so there was already a scene present.

‘Satisfaction’ was the watershed. We really take inspiration from all types of music. 

Q: How important is diversity to you, in terms of how your work has evolved, and for future tracks and albums? What other genres do you find yourself drawing on when crafting tracks?

A: I’ve always viewed electronic music as a way to frame different vocal styles. So for us, that challenge has always been how to “frame” pop vocals, RnB vocals, hip hop vocals, and metal vocals, among others.

Q: A bit outside of the topic of music, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

 A: I love touring the city I’m in on a bicycle, whenever I have time. If I’m not on tour, I just like to play sports, cook, and visit with my family whenever I can.

Q: By now, ‘Satisfaction’ has become one of the quintessential dance music tracks for most fans; did you think the track would become so big at the time of its release? 

A: At the time that Alle and I made ‘Satisfaction’, we thought that it would be played a lot in the nightclub scene, but honestly I had no idea how greatly the song would impact dance music. It really changed my life and my career, and that track was the start, and gave me the privilege to be able to travel and play my records. 

Q: What would you say is the highlight of your vast career thus far? Anything that you feel is still left to be accomplished?

A: Being able to produce songs for artists such as Madonna has been a great achievement for us, and winning a Grammy for the Public Enemy remix was definitely a highlight of my career. Much of the credit goes to my studio producer and cousin, Alle.

As for what is left to accomplish, I just want to continue touring and making music until I feel like I’m not just connecting with it anymore. So for now, I want to keep traveling and touring, and playing my music around the world.

Check out the rest of the fan-curated Firefly Music Festival lineup below:

Firefly Music Festival Lineup

Grab your tickets to Firefly by clicking here. Also, check out our review of the Firefly lineup and article about another highly anticipated electronic presence at Firefly, Gryffin by clicking here.

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