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FOUND Series: An Interview With James Benenson

This week (September 31) the FOUND series launches at Vauxhall’s Hidden club. A run of 13 events of progressive electronic music, FOUND will run from September to December, taking in the a huge range of acts and labels, from Alexander Nut & Floating Points’ Eglo Records, through to Zed Shed’s heavy bass takeover.

A joint endeavour between Eastern Electrics Will Patterson and Urban Nerds James Benenson, the FOUND series aims to bring cutting edge dancefloor music to a clued up London crowd.

Ahead of the launch this Friday with Justin Martin, Instra:mental, T. Williams, and A1 Bassline‘s Tighten Up Records, we caught up with the James to talk over the ideas behind the series.

Talk us through the the idea behind the FOUND Series?
The ethos behind the FOUND series was to bring together all the varied strands and genre redundant offshoots of the most cutting edge, bass derived British dance music. Something I guess FOUND often refers to as ‘progressive dubstep’, aware that the previous sentence is a bit of a mouthful!
So far, Hidden’s reputation has been built on long-standing relationships with some of London’s biggest jump-up, old skool and rave promoters. Whilst the venue is proud to stand out from the crowd and offer a long-term home to these events, which still thrive on the underground circuit, we felt Fridays were in need of something new.
It was time to bring in the modern counterparts and put them alongside the club’s rave heritage through building a new Friday night identity in the form of FOUND. London has been missing out on this incredible three-roomed annex, which has the proper railway-arch come warehouse feel, whilst offering up all the trappings of a fully licensed venue.

How did you hook up with Will Patterson?
Will and I have worked together for three years on the warehouse circuit, with his stunning spaces becoming closely intertwined with Urban Nerds’ identity. The warehouse parties demand a meticulous, organised approach – I think the OCD in both of us meant we were always going to hit it off!
Will approached me with plans to reinvigorate Friday nights at Hidden, looking for someone with a dubstep and bass background to open up the club to a new sound and a new crowd. With Will’s credentials as one third of the trio behind Eastern Electrics, my first thought was to turn to their model and put something together that ran a little deeper than the same tried and tested bass names playing week in week out.
As with EE, as much as FOUND is about the DJs and acts, it is just as importantly focused on the hand-picked promoters, labels and hosts working with us to forge unique and forward-thinking Friday night experiences.

What’s been your inspiration in booking the artists and promoters for FOUND?
I knew which promoters I wanted to involve from the off. Many off them are our peers at Urban Nerds and many started at a similar time and continued to grow as we did. In my eyes, Beat Redemption, Audio Doughnuts, Days Like That, The Z-Shed and Redux truly represent the grass roots of the sound. These are the nights booking new talent long before anyone else and their role in the scene should never be underestimated. We feel privileged to have them all under one roof, on one series.
By the same token, Trix, Heritage and Momentum will come with a great breath of fresh air, with their respective nights visiting the very best in the uk bass and house crossover, the finest 2-step, UK garage and it’s ‘future’ incarnations and the best purist, upfront dub step.
The bookings process for artists has been heavily influenced by these promoter partnerships,
with their individual backgrounds and specialist knowledge dictating a collective effort and months of careful programming. In most cases it’s the promoters who have inspired the final FOUND line-ups and I hope people appreciate the thought that’s gone into them.

Which nights are you particularly looking forward to?
I think it’s plane to see each night has a very unique identity but if forced to pick favourites, on a personal level this week’s launch and November’s Heritage which I’m really excited about.
The launch on Friday sees a global house act in Dirtybird’s Justin Martin joining London born and bred names such as Instra:Mental, A1 Bassline and T. Williams. For me it’s great to see the progressive London artists who for some time have been fusing dubstep and house styles partnered with an explicit house stalwart like Martin, who in turn hasn’t been afraid to explore the bass sound in his house and tech led sets.
We’re extremely proud of Heritage and felt a modern, garage-led night that pays homage to the early scene alongside today’s incarnations has been long overdue. It’s all about cutting the cheese attached to the more commercial side of the scene in favour of giving a nod to the early 2-step and dubstep pioneers who’re frequently referenced in interviews and by other acts citing influences but so often overlooked on actual line-ups. We feel combining the likes of Horsepower Prouctions, Matt Jam Lamont, Scott Garcia, El-B and Noodles with Slimzee, Hot City, T.Williams and an endless list of others is a very special thing.

Is London spoilt for choice when it comes to nightlife?
Of course London is spoilt for choice and it wouldn’t be right if it were any other way. In recent years, with the onset of dubstep and the bass led explosion to come of that sound, I think it’s regained its position as the stomping ground for musical innovation.
The choice of nightlife on offer is second to none and Londoners should feel extremely privileged to be able to visit the vast cross-section of events, especially moving into the winter party season when the city comes to life again. To be able to see everything from the most cutting edge new talent in a Dalston basement, to hardened dubstep raves in London Bridge, to the biggest global underground stars at Fabric and so on, week in, week out, makes Londoners very lucky people!
We’d like to think FOUND will cement itself as a combination of these experiences, whilst offering something new in the largely undiscovered gem that is Hidden.

Can you name us a couple of artists to look out for in 2012?
In FOUND terms, we can’t get enough of T. Williams and see him moving from strength to strength with his garage inspired house hybrids. It’s great that he’s finally getting noticed and is a producer / DJ to watch out for even more next year. Likewise Hyperdub’s Ossie deserves to reach the next level in 2012 in light of beautifully carved releases like ‘Tarantula’ and that immense ‘Gypsy Woman’ re-work!

FOUND launches this Friday 30th September – click here for more information.