“I grew up playing music with friends.”
Hessle Audio co-founder and world-famous DJ Ben UFO has taken to Facebook to address the controversy around DJs performing back-to-back sets (B2B), a phenomenon that has blown up in recent years.
A rarer occurrence in the halcyon days of the 1990s, when DJs would play real vinyl on their own with nothing but a pint of beer and a good old-fashioned box of Marlboro Reds for company, the back-to-back set is now as common at music festivals as neon vomit, $15 hotdogs and Jamie xx fans.
In response to recent criticisms of B2B sets, UFO (real name Ben Thomson) argued that, while can indeed be “a cheap tactic to sell festival tickets”, his love of playing with other DJs goes back to the reason he got involved with music in the first place.
“I grew up playing music with friends and in groups, learning to listen that way and participating in something that was bigger than any one person,” he writes. “I’ve learnt a lot from everyone I’ve DJed with – whether Jackmaster or Morphosis, Joy O or Helena Hauff, Call Super or Lena Willikens, Zip or Four Tet.”
While some would argue that B2B sets work best when the two DJs share a similar style, it’s in fact “the complete opposite,” he adds. “It’s amazing to see DJs who have slightly different takes on things working to create something that neither of them could on their own.”
“Of course it can go wrong, but that’s half the point – playing this way forces you to step outside of your comfort zone, to react spontaneously to things that are outside of your control, and to maybe reassess habits of your own that familiarity can blind you to. these are things I value, and this kind of collaboration has really helped me maintain a positive attitude towards playing music for other people.”
If you want to weigh up the evidence, you can catch Ben UFO going B2B with house selector Hunee at this year’s ADE. “We are quite different DJs,” he admits, “but i think our attitude is similar and I’m confident we’ll find an interesting path.”