Benny Benassi was one of the first producers to take electronic music to the mainstream, but his DJ career began before much of his current fan base was even born.
The Italian musician began DJing in the late ’80s, and blossomed in the mid 2000s with his first proper album of 2003, Hypnotica, when the internet became a mainline for accessing music that went deeper than accessible radio play. Many dance music fans recall one of Benassi’s most popular early hits, 2003’s “Satisfaction,” as an enduring favorite in his expansive catalog.
All the while, Benassi has remained relevant in a one-and-done industry, and yet the secret to Benassi’s success is a mystery: “I ask [this] to myself every morning,” he says. “I try to reconnect with the young people. I have a stepdaughter, and I try to talk with the young generation all the time; I talk with friends and sometimes my stepdaughter’s friends. I also try to talk with the youngest guys in the business. A lot of young guys work in the record company. So I try to listen to a lot of different points of view.”
Such consummate research has served Benassi well. Over the summer, Benassi released his first full-length album in five years, and the sound has managed to resonate with the modern EDM-loving demographic. Not only has he reshaped his classic electro vibe to fit the demand of contemporary consumers, but he also chose feature artists for his album that are dialed into current culture such as Chris Brown and John Legend.
System of a Down’s Serj Tankian is one of the most intriguing features on the album with the track, “Shooting Helicopters.” Benassi says that the partnership was formed because the two were mutual fans of each other’s very different work. The pairing ended up being perfect, though. Benassi recalled, “At the beginning it was just an experiment. And the work was great. This was just what happened. It was easy.”
Benassi brings a mix of his sounds—both classic and updated—to clubs around the world for performances at which he promises to break the mold of playing EDM anthems all night, because he feels the crowds are ready for something more. “I remember 20 years ago, people went to the clubs just for music, for a different style of music. Now, it’s a little bit the same. [But] the club culture is coming back now because house music is coming back, so there is a passion for the music.”
Sept. 9, Marquee Nightclub, MarqueeLasVegas.com