Remix Fever Ray, Moby, M.A.N.D.Y vs Booka Shade and Tiga before you’ve even released a solo single—there aren’t too many young producers these days that could lay claim to such a coup. What’s doubly rewarding for London denizen Ben Hoo, however, is that these invaluable opportunities were not the result of savvy marketing ploys or industry back scratching, but simply the strength of his own original music on a humble MySpace page.
Although Ben’s name has begun to ring out across the electronic music scene these past couple of years, his involvement with the genre (somewhat inevitably if you’ve heard his highly accomplished productions) can be traced back to his early teenage years. Weaned on a diet of soul and disco by his dad and choral and classical music by his mum, Ben began to take note of electronic music’s infinite sound and texture possibilities. Artists like Leftfield, Hybrid, Nitin Sawhney and BT formed the backbone of this fascination and it wasn’t too long before Ben endeavoured to take this interest to the next level with the purchase of his first synthesizer. Teaching himself the ins and outs of composition, Ben simultaneously maintained his study of piano and drums, eventually bringing together his many musical facets through formal education.
If there is a constant running from Ben’s formative years as a producer through to the release of his first record in 2007 it’s that he never wedded himself to a single style or genre. Techno and house inform Ben’s recorded music as much as down-tempo and contemporary classical. From a production perspective, however, the narrative behind the scenes is one of sound manipulation and design. Ben appears innately drawn towards reconfiguring audio, while juxtaposing these explorations with the creation of his own synthetic tones. The fruits of these labours first saw the light of day in 2007 with the release of the Night EP through Footlovers Music under the name Raiko Matta, which was followed up by a further production for Kinetic Groove and a remix on G Club Records.
Most artists’ ascents are aided by a touch of good fortune at some point in their careers, and in Ben’s case receiving a request for a speculative remix of Rex the Dog’s “BubbLicious” proved to be pivotal. His version was commissioned, and off the back of its bubbling synth lines and intuitive percussion Ben was asked to turn in further remixes for Fever Ray and Moby. Both of the ensuing productions clearly illustrated that this was a producer who was unwilling to stick to a single formula—over the course of just three remixes Ben had explored glitchy house, smoky down-tempo and epic electronica.
As if to further hammer home the point, 2010 saw Ben tapped by Tiga to rework his massive “Mind Dimension” single—to which Ben obliged with a snarling minimal remix—and complete work on a mix of M.A.N.D.Y. Vs Booka Shade’s "Donut"—this time a rolling tech-house interpretation. Booka Shade felt Ben’s version was strong enough for inclusion on RA.150, their landmark podcast for Resident Advisor. This led to the release of the very first Ben Hoo solo EP ‘Marea’ on Get Physical sub-label Kindisch in August 2011.