Interview: Five minutes with Ben Rau

Berlin house staple Ben Rau is gearing up for his gig at London’s Tobacco Dock on the 28th December. For Ben, the gig is the perfect end to the year, following the release of his successful EP, Out There which hit #16 in the Beatport Top 100 and received widespread press coverage.

The past few years have been busy for Ben as in 2016 he launched his first vinyl-only imprint, Inkal followed by his second vinyl label: Meta in 2018. With over 2 million views on Youtube alone, we’re expecting Ben to be working on some interesting projects in 2020. Perhaps even another label? You’ll have to read below to find out.

Horizon 2020 event

As the decade draws to a close, what are the most important lessons you are taking with you into the next?

Good question there are a few, first of all, persistence and resilience are two of the most important qualities you can cultivate as an artist this is a marathon, not a race. The second one would be to take short cuts, get cut short, the longer more difficult path will almost always give you better results than the path of least resistance. The third lesson would be don’t believe the hype once you become successful – your biggest enemy is the inflation of your own ego. Surround yourself with people that knew you and appreciate you before you became successful.

Born in Berlin but based in the UK, what have you learned from these different scenes?

Well, I’ve been back in Berlin for about 8 years now both scenes taught me a lot and one thing I have learned is that everything is cyclical and that our scene continues to evolve but never die. People thought electronic music would die in the UK with the demise of so many clubs but the scene just transformed and now we have a lot of larger events and festivals.

Berlin ruled for a while, but I think the UK continues to have the strongest scene in the world despite the difficulties the industry faces, it continues to thrive.

You’re set to appear at London’s Tobacco Dock on the 28th of December. Without giving away too much, what do you have in store for those who will be attending?

I’ll be testing new music for sure I have some tracks ready that I’m very happy with that are also a bit of a new direction for me so I’m excited to see how they go down.

While you predominantly operate within House and Techno, is there a sound that you’ve considered experimenting with?

I do love electronica and ambient as well but apart from a few experiments, I haven’t done much of it, yet. This is definitely an area I’d like to explore I think this might be something for an album.

Your latest EP ‘Out There’ has received significant attention already. Do you have a track from it that you feel may have been overlooked by the public?

Both tracks on the EP did really well and charted high so I don’t feel anything was overlooked. The B-side What is Love is what my fans know me for and the A-side is much bigger peak time territory.

You established the imprint Inkal and sister label Meta. What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced while managing these two operations?

Just keeping up with managing the labels really, talking to the artists making sure everything is done right and well has been a challenge. I literally just hired a very experienced label manager and that will give me a lot more time to do the things I want to do, which is making music and sign music.

Which piece of hardware or software would you consider the most essential in your setup, and that you would be a little lost without?

I do love my Roland V-synth and believe it or not ableton push is probably the most used hardware in the studio but the most important part are the speakers my Focal SM9’s I could not live without them.

Your daily commute is an important part of your creative process. Tell us about this experience and how it feeds into your art.

I cycle to my studio every day all year round, even in winter. I get a lot of ideas for making music while I cycle. I think for ideas to emerge from the mind, you have to be engaged in an activity that you can do almost automatic and that gives the mind space to roam and connect the dots. I will never have a studio close to my home, I need the commute to be creative.

What would you still like to achieve with your music? What is “success” to you?

I’m very ambitious so I want to take things as far as I can. It’s about reaching more people with my music and continuing to tour worldwide. I’d like to start doing events as well and take that to the next level as well. As long as people love and believe in what I do, I’ll continue.

What do you have in your sights for 2020?

A few big shows with LWE in London, BPM Festival Costa Rica in January, Pitch Festival and 121 Festival in Australia and New Zealand and touring the US for the first time so it will be a great start to the year.

A final thought to leave with your fans?

I just want to thank them for their continued support – it means the world.

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