Benny L has made drum & bass history today as the first artist from the genre to score a number one D&B hit on the Beatport overall charts for his remix of iconic reggae hit John Holt’s Police In Helicopter.
“It’s pretty mad!” says London based Benny who won Best Newcomer at the Drum&BassArena Awards last month. “I knew it would go down okay, like maybe do well in the drum & bass charts, but I didn’t think it would go as far as this man. It’s never happened before. I saw it at number three yesterday which was mad anyway. I still didn’t expect it to go to number one.”
If any recent D&B tune was likely to go to number one it was this remix. Subject to one of the biggest dubplate build ups in recent times, the remix first started appearing in key DJs’ mixes around June last year (Randall was the first to drop it in an online mix during his still fire UKF On Air mix in July) before becoming a key anthem at all festivals and events for the rest of the year.
Anticipation and unsolicited dub requests from chancers at near painful levels, the release was finally announced at Christmas time and came with its own surprise: the remix would be released on Hospital Records, not a label Benny is usually associated with, and come as part of their latest V/A blunderbuss Sick Music 2019.
“Hospital came to me with a list of tracks from the Jetstar catalogue and asked if I’d like to remix any of them,” explains Benny. “I picked this one cos it’s a bit of a legendary tune and Chris (Goss) was like ‘are you sure?’ I was like ‘yeah I’ll give it a go, see what happens’. I only had the wav file to work off so it was quite tricky to work with but well proud of how the mixdown pulled off.”
Proof that dubplate culture (albeit digitally) still has a vital role in drum & bass culture, Benny’s remix of John Holt was been worked the classical way and built up over time to become a rarity in today’s noisy market: a legit anthem. In addition to this, the last time a D&B tune charted remarkably high in the Beatport overall chart was Unglued’s remix of High Contrast’s If We Ever. A track that was heavily circulated on dubplate for months before, too. The system works.
“Dubplate culture has been around as long as jungle. It’s part of it and what we do. It’s how tunes get signed and put in the right hands,” explains the AudioPorn artist. “The tune has to be strong enough and the timing needs to be good too. You don’t want it hanging around on dub for too long. I just hope people aren’t going to be sick of it within a month!”
We somehow doubt it. But rest assured there’s plenty more from Benny this year; he’s about to start working on his debut album. In fact we interrupted him sorting out his studio and getting in the right environment to write his first LP. “People have asked if I’m celebrating today. Maybe later but right now I’m putting up some Ikea wardrobes!”
Congratulations Benny L. Police In Helicopter is on Sick Music 2019, which also features wounders from across the board such as Bou, Anile, Whiney, Flava D, Lakeway, Logistics, London Elektricity and stacks more. Check it out.