Interview: Jack Beats

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If you’re a fan of Lapsap and all that jazz, you would definitely be familiar with the name Jack Beats. The brainchild of Beni G and Plus One, they bring on the new wave of British house music. Jack Beats is the latest member of Cheap Thrill, which is the home of Sinden, Herve, Detboi and Machines Don’t Care. They are what you call a ‘fidget house’ team. Beni G was in town recently to play along with Xu of Lapsap. JUICE sat down with the guy after dinner to find out more from he who got all of KL’s partypeeps throwing their hands up for.

How was Hong Kong’s Volar gig last night?
Yea it was really good last night. A little bit of a different crowd, but we had a lot of fun. It was a good vibe especially coming to the end of the tour. We’re quite tired from the party last night. (Laughs)

Did they wild out?
Hong Kong was just a lot more mixed than the places I’ve played so far on the tour. It was really good. Everyone was pretty messed up, to say the least.

How’s 2009 so far for Jack Beats?
So far, it’s been pretty hectic, really. Studio wise (we’re) getting increasingly busy with juggling remixes and finishing up our original material. It’s just about finished now for our EP. (We’re) literally just gonna do the final touches when I get home. We got stacked up with a bunch of remixes now. For the last few months, I’ve been going from the studio to a gig, from a gig straight back to the studio. It’s been non-stop, which is brilliant. Although we do the music together, I’m also looking at the DJ aspect of it as well cos Niall aka Plus One is a part of another group called Scratch Pervert. He’s busy DJing with them so it’s just me looking after the DJ aspect. Even though now he’s not involved with Jack Beats DJ stuff, he’s as busy, if not more, DJing on the weekends. We’re just flat out at this minute.

Mind telling us how you guys met and decided to form Jack Beats?
We’ve known each other for almost 10 years now I think. We kinda met during the battle scene in the UK. Niall would come down from Scotland to enter some of the local DMC battles. We met through that, hit it off as friends and stayed that way. Then we forced our respective DJ careers – him with Scratch Perverts and me with Mixologists cos they’re closely interlinked. About 4 years ago, I got a remix on which I asked Niall if he wanted to finish up with me. It wasn’t Jack Beats, it’s a hip hop remix which came out as Beni G and Plus One. It was a start. Nothing like a year and a half ago (that) we decided, y’know, let’s just work on it regularly and have some fun cos both of us have the same ideas on what we wanted to do production-wise. We wanted to make something boundary-pushing, something futuristic. It just snowballed.

Do you each have a designated role to play as Jack Beats?
We both have our strengths and weaknesses. The good thing about Niall and I is we’re both producers before we met. But yeah, we do have different ways of working because we both have separate sets of studios at our house. We used to work half separately and we bring a little ideas together which we finish it together. These days, we kinda work together from start to finish. Now, we predominantly use Niall’s studio because he’s got more kit that we like to use. It just makes more sense really.

Fair enough. Is there a meaning for the name Jack Beats?
It was a name that we had to think of really quickly for a release, so we sat in the studio and I think the engineers were mixing down a track and we were figuring out what to call ourselves. An idea was ‘Jacking The Beats’, which is an old school hip hop thing from an Ice Cube track. Jacking the beats is like stealing someone’s beats. Niall thinks it’s a bit of a tongue twister, so he thought of shortening it to just ‘Jack Beats’. Straight away we thought it was perfect. At that point, we wanted a name that is singular, so people won’t know there are 2 of us. We just wanted to put something out there with the music attached to it and no associations other than the music. For the longest time and even now, people still think it’s 1 person, which is kinda the idea. I still get greeted at the airport and promoters as “Hi Jack.” People think our name is Jack.

Smart. You guys started with hip hop right?
Professional as DJs, yeah we started in the realms of hip hop in the early days of turntables and the DMC scene. I started DJing in the start of the 90s during the early beginnings of dance music, and original hardcore breakbeat right after the acid house days I guess. The early rave scenes then moved on to drum n bass. That’s when I first started as a DJ. Both of us come from very diverse backgrounds, we used to play a lot of other types of music.

Why the decision for an EP instead of an album?
Far too early for an album. We’ve done a few download singles and few other tracks floating around on compilations for this EP too. We’ve done so many remixes and being picked up, people would anticipate what we do in the original materials.

When was that moment when you realised that you have made it?
Have we? (Laughs) To be honest with you, the last years have been somewhat an eye-opener. We’re humbled and can’t believe that people are into what we’re doing especially when the 2 of us did this for fun. Now it’s snowballing. I wouldn’t go as far as, without sounding narcissistic, ‘scene leaders’. People are putting us in brackets with scene leaders which we look up to. I guess what we’ve done is sorta intentionally… create something very different to do what we feel. Because we kinda done something different from what the rest of the, ‘fidget house’ (scene). We do have a big quality control in the music that we have released. Both of us are pretty picky and anal when we work in the studio. A normal person would tell us to let it go, but Niall and I would keep carry on until the both of us are happy with it.

Which is the wildest party you have played at?
Personally… (Pauses) I can’t decide. There are certain countries that you know it’s gonna be a really great party, but I don’t know if it’s wild or not. Certain parts of Asia like Bangkok, it’s a wild hedonistic party there. Certain parts of UK and Scotland, I know the parties are gonna be screaming and shouting. I played a really good party at Estonia last year. It was wicked. My memory isn’t that great when it comes to remembering things like that.

All good. Is there anything that you envy about Niall?
Nah, not really. His trainer collection, maybe. (Laughs) Nah, we’re still kinda the best of friends, really. But nah, nothing!

So what would you be doing when you guys are not touring?
I’m on tour in Asia, what I do in downtime are word games. Just getting some downtime really. I love film, I love cooking and I try to have a personal life with my girlfriend. Yeah, films and food are like my second love, so I’m always in the cinema. If I wasn’t doing music, I would probably be a chef. I do like cooking.

(Room burst into laughers)

Sorry that got laughs around the room. Something you’re not telling me about my cooking? (Smiles)

Well, we’d like to try! Say… if you were a burger, what would you be?
I’d probably be a Californian, which is a bit sour and a bit creamy. (Laughs) With a bit of spice and a bacon. It’s bacon, avocado, sour cream and a bit of spice. Spicy!

So that burger reflects you the most eh?
I’m probably not sour, but I’m definitely like… fiery. (Looks at girlfriend and laughs) Yeah, I like that burger a lot. I definitely won’t be a plain cheese burger, though I just ate one. Don’t know what that says.

Alright. Thank you!
Nice one.

Lapsap & Co. presents Jack Beats @ Barsonic was held on 16 May. Head over to to check out the 411 on Jack Beats. Also check out the event Report here.

Photo Sara Maggioni

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