Layo Paskin and Matthew Benjamin (Bushwacka!) are two of clubland’s most loyal disciples. In the late 80′s Matthew joined the Ratpack as a DJ after attending one of their warehouse raves, and after graduating from a studio engineering course got a job at Mr C’s studio. Layo meanwhile immersed himself in underground dance and was soon throwing warehouse parties with Mr C. One such party was in an underground site on West Central St., which went on to become The End. In the mid 90s Layo & Bushwacka! begun recording together, and in 2002 they released ‘Night Moves’. This album contained ‘Love Story’, one of the biggest club anthems of the year.
Since then, the duo have become close and struck up an extremely productive working relationship, which has seen them release critically acclaimed albums and hold residencies at major clubs around the world. As well as this they also run their own clubnight “Shake it!” which celebrates its 3rd Birthday this coming bank holiday Thursday. Previous events have seen the likes of Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier, Dubfire, Reboot, Magda and Paco Osuna sharing the decks with the pair.. This time is the turn of Chile’s Dinky.. We speak to them ahead of the celebrations..
Matthew, you used to be a percussionist with the London School Symphony Orchestra – what made you make the transition to DJ, and how did you get into house music?
Well, in 1983 when I started high school, I was introduced to Electro music, and Africa bambatta though school friends. I loved this electronic sound. When I was 14 I went to a disco and an old school friend was the Dj, actually my best friend from the ages of 8 to 11 – and I went round to his house and had a go on his decks. But it started many years before this. I used to sit in the garage of my parents house with a record player trying to learn to scratch when I was about ten years old. I used to get two tape recorders and play on one, record on the other, overdubbing records…so it wasn’t really a transition – I was just testing musical boundaries.
You both used to DJ @ The End, what is one of your most memorable nights?
So many good nights…but the final night – the closing of the club was ridiculous. No party like that in London – ever!
Layo, you owned The End with Mr C – do you have any crazy stories you can share of partying with him?
It wouldn’t be very nice of me to tell and there were many, well, maybe I can tell one… when we toured South Africa in 1997 or 98, we played Durban and the party continued and Richard decided to mix all the drinks together he could find to create a cocktail which he called “rocket fuel”, anyhow, only he drunk it, it looked disgusting, the next morning he was absolutely destroyed, and could barely stand… at the airport, he collapsed at the check in on the bag weighing machine, we asked if they could just put a sticker on him and send him down with the bags as he couldn’t walk…
Click here listen/see video and audio recording to Layo & Bushwacka at Surfcomber beach party in Miami.
How different are the clubs now, from the early 90s?
In London, hardly any proper good dance music clubs now. A lot of champagne bottle service clubs. And of course, more rules. No smoking – good in some ways, but now you smell everyone in the clubs…lol. It has changed a lot, but different around the world in different periods.
‘Shake It’ is going from strength to strength, with more and more residencies & cities cropping up, what’s your favourite one so far, and where did you get the idea of ‘Shake It’ from?
We knew we would do warehouse parties after The End closed – I suggested calling it Shake and Layo said let’s call it Shake It! The concept of moving around, finding new venues all the time, keeping it exciting was great – now everyone is doing it – it is harder and harder to find the greatest spaces but we are still managing it! So far all the Shake It parties have been fantastic in their own right.
You recently did my home-town of Glasgow, do you have any plans to take ‘Shake It’ worldwide?
Not really, we would need a team rather than just the three of managing everything in our own half assed ways!
Your 3rd Birthday is coming up this bank holiday with Dinky from Santiago via Berlin and Elek-Fun & Jos Vogel from underground party favourite Leading Astray… Can you tell us a bit more?
We have a fantastic new space in east London for this party. We can’t wait to throw this one. Great guest, great music, and our loyal and wonderful crowd, with new people all the time. Big celebration for us.
What’s your all-time favourite tune and why?
Sorry, I don’t have one! B The medley on Abbey Road that leads up to the end of the album. L
‘Love Story’ is infamous – how and where did you get the inspiration from, and who came up with the lyrics?
Nina Simone sang and wrote the lyrics – it is a sample. The tune was inspired from a botch of old records, mixed with our own modern ideas . The song was named after a famous after hours club in Sao Paulo.
Do you have any strange habits?
I close one eye when it is a bright day…is that strange? Lol
Who’s your favourite DJ, and why?
Richie Hawtin…I love his sound, it is what I want to hear when I am on the dance floor.
Have you seen any new DJs recently that you feel could be the ‘next big thing’?
No it moves so fast these days, but there are a lot of very good DJ’s around.
If you weren’t a DJ what & where would you be now?
Who knows – perhaps a chef, perhaps an architect – no idea.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not DJing?
Reading, watching movies, being outdoors, away from the computer, spending time with my son, my friends and family. B
Reading, films, cooking, travel, and time with my wife. L
Not spending time with my son at weekends. My biggest regret. MB
And finally, what can we expect to see from Layo & Bushwacka in 2012?
We have a new album coming. We are very excited about this- its been a long time since we made an album together and we have put so much love and effort into this – it is sounding great.
Interview: Lynne McDermott
5 Apr 2012 @ Oval Space – London
Dinky (Crosstown Rebels, Cocoon), Layo & Bushwacka!
Elek-Fun & Jos Vogel (Leading Astray)