Back in October, Deviation celebrated another milestone. Eight years as one of London’s most-beloved club nights. Eight years of stellar parties encompassing brilliant record selection, non-stop dancing, and a curation of lineups that’s never left us wanting. “Real sound” has been at the heart of what Deviation has sought to bring to the ever-changing, frequently ephemeral nature of the life spans of many club nights in this city. We had a quick chat with one of the night’s residents, Benji B, ahead of his annual “all-night-long” set at XOYO in Shoredtich tonight — an opportunity to experience the expansive amplitude of musical knowledge for which Benji’s known.
Deviation recently turned eight –- if you had to pick the most pivotal of nights in its near-decade-long history, which would it be?
I would say the fifth birthday party was one of the most perfect events we ever created. Situated in an old gospel church, we had Moodymann, Kode 9, Hudson Mohawke, Dam-Funk and more playing, the best sets and best sound, and amazing crowd. Even the pastor came up and hugged me to say how special it was. I can always think of how we can improve the experience when we finish a party, but that was one night where if I could go back and do it all again, I would not change a thing. Classic.
You’ll be playing for six hours straight tomorrow, take us through your prep for the night.
My prep is actually supposed to be happening right now… you are distracting me! Really I just start creating epic crates of music, and going through tunes from the year and reminding myself of tunes I might have forgotten about. I dig in my own crates and try and pull out some gems from my collection too. The key is for me to be inspired by the music at my fingertips on the night — if I’m excited by the record boxes I pack then the job gets easier and the records pick themselves. So the secret is really in the selection of what goes in the boxes. The set itself on the night is always a complete freestyle based on the moment.
Tell us about your longest set to date?
One of the best sets of my life was last year in the open air in Morocco — it went off for about eight hours straight. I’ve done a few 7-8 hour specials before.
What have been your go to records of 2015?
Probably Kelela “A Message” and Thundercat, “Them Changes”
Looking ahead to 2016, who are your top 5 ones to watch?
Little Baby Angel
Interview and Photography by Laurellah