Born in South Germany, Ben Bakson has emerged as one of the leading circuit DJ’s in the world today. From DC Pride to Atlantis Cruise this summer, Bakson is not just remixing artists like Todrick Hall, he is releasing his own distinct material of his own, with “You Got Me” poised to hit dance floors this summer. I caught up with Bakson to chat about his ultra-packed summer schedule, what it is like returning to the dance floors after an extended pause, and where he gets so much of his own musical inspiration.
Michael Cook: Pride is officially back in full-force; what is it like to be one of the people that is providing the soundtrack for it?
Ben Bakson: It feels great. We are lucky to be fully booked the entire year. Both Dan (Slater) and I are in Miami, but Pride month is always the busiest month for us. I am happy that it has started all up and playing at Echo Stage is amazing, it was voted Best Club in the World by DJ Magazine. After David Guetta and artists like that, it’s amazing for Dan and I to do it.
MC: DJ’s were one of the artists who had to take a true pause during the pandemic. Have you gained a bigger appreciation for your artistry post-pandemic?
BB: I would say so. We are not really coming back for Pride, but I have had some really major events since October; I was fully back to work all over the world. I can feel the energy is very positive, especially in the United States. Parties were cancelled in a lot of states, so you can feel that the people are really happy to be back to party. It almost feels like we are in Brazil when we are playing in the United States, and that is incredible!
MC: This is the first time Echostage in DC has had a Saturday night gay dance party style event, and during Pride!
BB: I am really proud of the organizers for getting that venue on a Saturday. I know how difficult it is for a gay event to get an extraordinary space like Echostage; it can be very difficult for them, it is very different than straight parties. We don’t really care about a VIP area with bottle service, that is a big difference for what happens in the straight world, so it is a big income difference for the clubs. I am really happy that we got it.
MC: Musically, what is getting your gears going. So much music was released when we weren’t able to be on dance floors together also. What music truly kept your passion going when we could not be together on a dance floor?
BB: I was working constantly on new music and remixes. Todrick Hall’s new music I like very much, that is the one that I just remixed, his single “Queen”. I played it for the first time in Los Angeles and Pensacola last week, and they loved it, it was my opening track. My new set is called Coronation, and it’s the name of the San Diego Pride event that I am doing and it also fits perfectly to that track. I always try to make the storyline of the music fit together with what I am doing. I am working on an original track also, it is called “You Got Me” and the release date if July 1st. I will be playing that prior to the release during Pride Month also.
MC: Who is the DJ that you heard that made you say to yourself “that is what I want to do”?
BB: You know, I wouldn’t say that there is one DJ that I was really following, I get inspiration from several places. I am a big fan of Offer Nissim, Offer does something very special and I don’t think that there is another DJ in the LGBTQ world that attracts gay and straight people in the same way; this is the direction I want to go for. My music is very different from Offer’s music though, I try to be myself and go my own way with my music, that is also very important. The influence in my music is from Israel, my style is very clean and I have a lot of melody in my music, though I have a lot of tribal in the music from Brazil; there is a mix in between definitely. There is not just one DJ that I follow music-wise, but there are so many great DJ’s who I am proud to be their friend and I love to see perform like DJ Aron or Phil Romano. There are so many new and upcoming DJ’s who have come out after the pandemic also, and they are doing a great job. All of us, we are evolving…
MC: As you said, Pride is a packed month for DJ’s; what does the rest of the summer hold for you?
BB: I have no break (laughs). My next free weekend is July 30th and I just got a request via email, I am fully booked. October is when I am free, but I am sure that may be booked soon. The last weekend in June is my craziest, I go from Toronto to San Francisco to New York to Denver; one day after the other. In July, I am going to Pride Germany then the Atlantis Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona and the Spanish Islands, it is their brand new boat and I am very excited. Then we have San Diego and Atlanta Pride, then back to Miami. Then Chicago for Market Days at the MEAT Party, then Medellin Colombia and then XLSIOR, which has not happened for the past two years. I can’t say which party I am playing there, but I am very excited to be doing it!
MC: What is something that is giving you the most pride right now?
BB: The brand new original track that I am releasing is something that I am really proud of. My last track “Ain’t Moving On” and “Sound Of Love” were both original and quite successful, but for this one the sound is a little different, very high energy and very clean. I am still finalizing now, I am working with a singer from Australia named Omeo and he is super talented. I am really excited to be open my big events with this track.
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