For this one here, I really threw Benji into the deep end, that’s what we’re doing all year. I can’t even remember how or where I found Deep End first, all I know is I listened to it at least 50 times the first week after finding it. At this point the video is on about 15,000 views and is unhurriedly growing.
Being bored of big names dominating music nowadays is what made me start planning this series in December. I hit Benji up and told him about what I was planning to do, we sat down at the office. He told me his vision and showed me some music, obviously at this point I knew it wasn’t a fluke. By the point of articles release, the track has streamed over 500,000 times on Spotify alone.
I managed to get Benji on a 3 and a half hour train journey with me to Oldham. I’d spent 3 days searching for a swimming pool worthy of the shoot. Then Chadderton Baths appears, it had been abandoned for 12 years and I had to hustle some builders, who were there by chance, for a key to get some access. I don’t know how we pulled this one off unscathed but here we are. Thank you to Benji and Big N for running with me with this one and thank you for having me in your creative space.
So who is BenjiFlow?
I think BenjiFlow is more just a thing in a musical space, that exists. I make music – I’m just somebody that wants to make everybody focused on grooving and dancing, thats it. BenjiFlow is a guy that just grooves, that’s what I came to do. Give everyone a bit of life just to skank again. There’s so much seriousness in the world, if we dance just a little bit there’s a tiny bit of happiness back into our lives again. If you listen to my music you might just find your foot tapping, or a gun finger might just pop out.
So where are your parents from?
Funnily enough, everyone thinks I’m African, both my parents came from Jamaica – both of them came over when they were 11 years old. My Dad came from Downtown Kingston and my Mum came from Montego Bay. They moved to the Midlands and met each other up there, then got married and had me and my sister. That’s when they moved to North London and I’ve lived in Edmonton ever since. The land of mad influence. It was always a Caribbean household and Caribbean influence in terms of music – and gospel. My Dad was a pastor so he could sing, the whole background came from music. My Grandma sings, and everyone on my Dad’s side sings or plays. My Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and Sister sings. Everyone I know plays instruments! It was either you sing or you pick up an instrument, so I was kinda’ brought up in it by force. We used to have to sing in my Grandma’s carol service every year. You had no choice, even if you was that bad boy cousin that was on the roads in the day, or a bad boy uncle, no matter what happens, come that Christmas – you’re singing or you’re playing. You could be selling drugs, no matter what crud you’re on – that Sunday there –
(Morgan) The very least you’re playing the triangle.
That’s it, you’re playing the triangle. It was a mixture of mad worlds growing up. I got to a point as a teenager where I didn’t want to play instruments anymore, I just wanted to be on the roads, or be an MC, like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley or Skep. I was just mad into Grime and that, so I stopped playing. Cos’ I can’t play instruments and be on the road at the same time. It just didn’t work out, you see me playing piano and then you’ll see me on the roads just beefing, that’s air. I didn’t wanna’ be like that. So I put down my instruments. The influence of Grime, and that side of music, was happening for years. One day the keyboardist at my Dad’s church didn’t turn up, and my Dad was like you gotta’ play. I said I couldn’t even play by ear, only classically. He was like, “I don’t even care, church starts at 11.” Week’s went by and I was basically the keyboardist, once I got good there, they moved me to the drums, once I got good there, they sent me to the bass guitar. After that the electric guitar.
(Morgan) It definitely wasn’t an overnight success, but it was a gradual, steady , snowball effect. I think that energy of not caring if 5 or 10 people had heard it really brought it home. Even the month after shooting the editorial, I’m going to bare parties and its being played everywhere.
Yeah it’s mad, it’s a good start. I see Virgil’s just started playing it, the icons you know. Wiley posted it, big Wiley you know.
Conversation broken by the church in the same complex as the studio.
It’s the journey, I’ve got so many more tunes to bring out. I’m so content with now, we’re right at the beginning. I hope I can look back in 2 years time and still be content.
Music is all I was born to do. I came out for Shakka the other day, people shouting and screaming when I came out. I was thinking “FAM, THAT’S MAD BRO.” It’s not even a fast tune, it’s mad. I’m singing the words to someone at the front and they’re singing it back at me and it’s absolutely crazy.
If there’s one thing I’ll take from people who did it before me, it would be to learn to enjoy it. I’m going to enjoy the moments every time. I still get happy when people send me videos, i don’t think I’m ever gonna lose that.
The room sit’s on Benji’s deep pearl of wisdom.
Sorry about the Church bro, Benji goes.
We all start laughing as that brings us all back out of seriousness.
It’s mad, I think this might be the first interview in here, no ones actually been to where I make all the music. I make everything here, this is my hub. I’m normally just here silently, Ragz might roll through, couple other man. This is my own creative world, it’s a train, a bus and a walk from anyone. You always need an office, having a place to work is important as a creative. You can’t always work in your house, you’re gonna lose your creativity, so I knew I had to get the studio. I can come here anytime, 2-3AM and no one is going to disturb me. You always feel more disciplined when you’ve got somewhere to go to. You’ve come at a point where I’m just about to get my first P’s from the track
Nah, PRS is next week I cant waitttt. So yeah, just got paid from something else so I’ve just bought a new sofa bed so I can sleep in here and grind more. The money is for me to reinvest. I’m still at the beginning man, that’s why It’s been sick to do this with you guys, it feels like the journeys just starting together, from the moment you hit me it was the beginning process of my journey and getting out there.
So yeah, it’s proper sick to do this with you guys, you get it.
Produced By Morgan Lockwood – James
Photography by Jake Millers