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Ben Sims interview: The Dark Science of Label Leaping

Author: Andrez Bergen
Wednesday, 27 September 2006
If there's one thing Ben Sims is adept at doing, it's proffering up his capital where his mouth ostensibly resides. In addition to being a deejay and producer, this renowned Brit has another abiding passion, and that's the philanthropy of running record labels.

He's helmed several of them over the past decade.

While occasionally releasing his own predominantly tech-house tracks through other outlets like Tresor, most of Sims' records have popped up on Hardgroove, Theory Recordings, Ingoma, Killa Bite, and Symbolism--all umbrella imprints, past and present, that Sims has run himself.

They're also an avenue he's utilized to support other artists he says he respects, or who he feels have potential.

So when Sims cites "Ken Ishii, Shufflemaster, Hiroaki Iizuka and Atsushi Yano" as his favorite Japanese producers, as indeed he does for this interview, he may have genuine admiration for Ishii--the elder statesman of Japanese dance music--but he's actually paid good money to unleash records by the other three.

Iizuka put out the Radiant EP through Symbolism last year, while Yano previously released a record through Ingoma, and featured on that label's Kingdom Of Drums Vol. 1 compilation.

And DJ Shufflemaster (aka Tatsuya Kanamori) released the "Soul Survivor" 12-inch through Sims' Theory Recordings in 2002, as well as having previously remixed the Brit label head-honcho's track "Storm."

As it turns out, Sims loves Japan.

He's played there on seven different occasions, and it's obvious he's mad about the place.

"It's my favorite place to play. The crowd response is always so positive and energetic, and it has a feeling that stays with you even after you've left. I've met some great people over there--including my girlfriend!" he says with a laugh.

"So, yeah, I've had a lot of fun, been to so many amazing restaurants, and there are some f---ing good records shops there, too! I love the way the future lives so closely to tradition; how you can one minute be in a crazy area like Shibuya, then the next at a temple--It's such a cool place to be and to deejay."

These for his sets, he recommends that people bring an open mind.

"Right now I'm playing a lot of different styles, from the more up-tempo end of minimal, to hard-groove techno; from acid house to ghetto-tech, to occasional rave and house classics. I'm really enjoying mixing it up at the moment," he says.

The record currently taking pride of place in Sims' set has been produced by Mark Broom--another artist he previously supported by releasing his record Mod through Theory Recordings last year.

"Mark's track 'Things' has been getting the strongest reaction all summer," Sims enthuses.

"At present it's still only on CD-R, but it'll be part of the 'Kingdom Of Drums Vol. 3' compilation [on Ingoma]. I've started my sets at most big festivals with it this year. It has a simple but hugely effective--and addictive!--vocal hook that just works so well."

A decade ago Ben Sims was the new kid on the block, the up-and-coming tech/electro enfant terrible.

Now, however--as the veteran deejay journeyman himself--he struggles a little to nominate any potential heirs apparent.

"That's a hard question!" he retorts, before settling back into a groove.

"I wouldn't say there are a lot of up-and-coming techno artists right now, as most new names seem to be making minimal or electro-house, but over the past couple of years I'd point to Joris Voorn, Shed, and Shinedoe [Chinedum Nwosu], who have been the most consistent and interesting out of the new breed."

For the record, Sims has again put his money where his mouth is. In this case it is the release of Return To The Fountain through Ingoma in 2005 with Dutch producer Voorn. Put out under the alias of Dark Science, Sims promises there's more in store

Still haven't gotten your Sims fix- Well check out what happens when we leave Andrez Bergen to his own de-Vices by following the link bel
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