Darren Benjamin didn’t have a whole lot of time when he visited San Francisco on “vacation” last week. Answering to the nickname Daz-I-Kue, the producer, beatsmith, DJ, and admitted foodie, who’s a member of London’s Bugz In The Attic collective, was running hither and yon, from gig to studio to radio station, with barely enough time for an order of take-out sushi to sustain himself.
Daz has come off an equally frantic 2006. Last year Bugz dropped its Back In the Doghouse album on V2 and performed multiple live shows supporting the release. Meanwhile, Daz’s tracks appeared on Ubiquity’s Rewind Vol. 5 and he helped his “cousin” (codename: Bloodfire) complete several successful underground re-mashes. There’s always a lot of activity orbiting around Daz, from MySpace friends inquiries, to impromptu laptop recording sessions. It’s like running a 200-meter dash keeping up with his schedule. But we did just that, catching Daz in the wee hours of February 2, after his DJ set at San Francisco’s Poleng Lounge. Here’s what’s cooking in Daz-I-Kue kitchen:
XLR8R: What are some of the big records in your box right now?
Daz: The big one at the moment, the one getting the most reaction and has everybody coming to the decks [asking what it is], is the Jay-Z “Hollywood” re-smash, that I did for myself. It’s funny, it took me half an hour to throw that [remix] together beginning to end, really–very easy. What’s the next question?
What are your next official releases?
You’re not talking about my Peruvian cousin are you? Known as the Bloodfire? You know he named [himself] after his pet sheep that he’s got in his yard…soon to be married [laughs]. Seriously though, I’ve got so much going on at the moment in terms of releases…. I could go through people like Mpho Skeef that I’m working with at the moment, helping out doing some of the [remixes] for her album, the Joy Jones album that I’m dealing with right now, the couple of projects I’ll be doing for Sound In Color...
Are you producing the Joy Jones album?
I’m almost like a joint executive producer, I’m making sure things are coming together. But things are not going too well at the moment. I have to go get the data of her album back from my hard drive that just went down. I have to pay like $1500 bucks to get [the data] back.
Really, even you have technical difficulties now and again?
Of course mate. Even the best of us have technical difficulties. This is my fourth hard drive I’ve gone through. But I have to recover this one ’cause there’s important stuff on it [and], like, Miss Joy Jones will slap me around the head, y’know what I mean, if I lose all that stuff! But then again, I might have to start again on that ’cause I know I can mix it better. I’ve got ’nuff better plug-ins to work with now.
What label is the new Joy Jones coming out on?
That’s for her label, but one of the tracks has been licensed. I played the demo to the guys at Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Records and they loved the studio version of “Today.” We’re sorting that out right now; it’s going to be on the next Brownswood Bubblers.
You have multiple releases for Sound In Color?
I’ve got about three or four ideas to go through, and about two definites that are going [to come out] this year. One [project] is just a very simple hip-hop-based loop album, which is going to be mainly grooves and few tracks that will have MCs and signing on it–I hope to pull some friends and some favors. I’m also slowly getting the idea of the Black Label Blend album together. That’s going to have to come after some of the quality releases coming out on Sound In Color right now. I think I’m going to have to up my game on that one! I’m trying to make it as special to me as well as others.
What’s Bugz In The Attic going to do for this year’s Winter Music Conference?
Bugz In The Attic and Jazzanova will do a party together for the fourth year in Miami. It always turns out to be something excellent. Also me and Orin Afronaut will be doing the Co-Op party–the double award-winning club, according to Gilles Peterson’s audience! We’re having Co-Op at Jazid on Washington in South Beach–we’re probably going to get tickets out there early, because I know that place will get rammed pretty quickly.
Let me get this straight: You came to San Francisco, did four gigs, a radio show, and are about to go into the studio until 7 a.m.?
Actually, I will have been in the studio two days in a row until 7 a.m. The day before, I was with J.T. Donaldson and today I’m going to be with Capitol A–San Francisco’s got me running ragged! It looks like I’ll have to go back home to Atlanta to rest!
To wrap it up, say I’m in London and I’m fiending for a Jamaican veggie patty, where do I go?
The best place to go is called The Best, and its on Acre Lane, right? On the church side of Brixton, not the gangster side, okay? [laughs] So you’d be safe! I saw one of our top TV cooks going in there and having a patty, so it must be good, know what I’m saying?