Interview: 5 minutes with The Busy Twist

In the summer of 2010 childhood friends Gabriel Benn and Ollie Williams formed The Busy Twist. Influenced by the animated culture, the duo spent their years traveling to Africa and back in search of some traditional artists and sounds that they could incorporate into their new project. Over time they have built relationships with the local people of small villages around Ghana. Inevitably they began recording some of the local artists and took these sounds home, in the hope of blending these new found traditional sounds with the energy and bounce of UK garage and bass. The fusion is a refreshing reminder that world music can work and can often bring different cultures together.

“Our vision is to make people from opposite sides of the world dance to the same beat and over the length of our career we plan on doing this by traveling to the most musically rich cultures around the world.” – The Busy Twist.

We caught up with the pair ahead of their EP release in February and spoke about their time spent traveling, who influenced them and what’s next for the young hopefuls.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Its evening now but we’re about to go into the studio to listen through forthcoming material we’re working on. Standard producer activity really..

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

We’ve always described our sound as African Influenced Bass Music.

You mentioned that you went to Ghana to record local artists? Can you tell us a little more about this?

We’ve been going back and forth for the last 3 years, recording some amazing artists and musicians, shooting videos and basically soaking up the crazy atmosphere out there! All music we have put out so far are results of those trips; our debut single Friday Night and our new track Labadi Warrior. Its an inspiring place for us and we always look forward to going back.

African culture seems to add a certain spirited buoyancy to the production. who else influenced you? Can you tell us the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

We both put 2 albums each forward and then the last one is a mutual one for us..

Dr. Dre – 2001

Capleton – Reign of Fire

Bob Marley – Catch a Fire

Radiohead – OK Computer

Eminem – Marshal Mathers LP

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

There’s a lot of amazing music around at the moment and young producers/artists coming up like Joey Badass and Dylan Cooper, Kwabs, Okappi, Werkha.. Though we’re obviously big on the Afro House stuff, the best stuff being from Angola/South Africa!

Your sound is a brilliant fusion of traditional African drumming and UK bass. Is your sound destined for the dance floor or will you explore new avenues in the future?

Thanks, we’ve always been drawn to the idea of making people dance to the same beat from different sides of the world, though we have a lot of forthcoming material that is less about the club, and more about the feeling.. There are many more avenues to be explored.

We’re interested to see where these avenues lead. What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?

Logic is our essential and basis for everything we do, and then our trusty hand recorded has served us so well over the years for samples during our travels in Ghana and Colombia. We’re also on Maschine.

Through your travels you have worked with vocalists. Are there any exciting collaborations coming up?

The most exciting collaboration for us right now is in Colombia with vocalist Nidia Gongrora. She’s a massive talent.

What about upcoming material? Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

We have just dropped our new track and video Labadi Warrior, with the rest of the EP coming out on the 24th Feb on our imprint The People’s Ear. Lots more music coming out later this year!

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

Probably the shows we did in Colombia or in Amsterdam, because we had so much fun in both countries and at both gigs the people refused to stop dancing – their vibes were amazing!

What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?

An old man’s pub in Hackney, smelt terrible and the only person we were playing to was our mate who came along..

Lastly could you briefly give us your opinion on the following genres; Classical, Blues, Soul, Hip-Hop, Dubstep and Trap?

Classical – We’ll probably appreciate it more in 10 years..
Blues – Good with a whisky.
Soul – Good for the soul..
Hip-Hop – Always
Dubstep – It had its day..
Trap – Kind of tired of it now

If the African/ Bass crossover is for you keep your eyes out for their EP dropping February 27th. Check out the vibrant and energetic video of the track entitled ‘Lobadi Warrior’ taken from the forthcoming EP: