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Robin Murray

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Who The Hell Are Klax?

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Who The Hell Are Klax?

Critical’s Binary series has opened the door for a new wave of talented producers to flaunt their production prowess, each bringing a unique sound to Kasra’s label along with them. Signal, Hyroglifics and Posij are among the batch who have been launched into the D&B limelight following Binary business – and so are Klax…

Klax is the formation of three cheeky chaps from Brighton; Benny, Ben and Joel. They’ve demonstrated a serious amount of studio sauciness since deciding to become a trio and there’s plenty more to come (read on for details…)

We caught up with two thirds of the forward-thinking group to find out more about them… including if they actually like each other, how they work as a trio, what they’ve got in store for 2016 and how a meal with the Critical crew resulted in Kasra getting covered in fish juice.

Klax on their tight-knit friendship…


Ben: Benny is in Austria at the moment, I think… so it’s just me and Joel here.

Joel: 90% of the time we fucking hate each other – the other 10% is when we’re not together.

Ben: Yeah I can only be around Joel if I’m drinking, just to take the edge off. I’m drinking right now, in fact. In all seriousness we do have disagreements but that’s just the nature of working in a group. I guess we do get on every now and then…

Joel: We all have differing opinions but when there’s a tune we all agree on – that means it’s a good tune. I might write something at home which I think is great but the other two will say it’s terrible, for example, but then eventually there will be an agreement and that’s when we know we’re onto a winner. If a tune makes us all go “yeeeah” simultaneously, we’re in business.

Klax on studio shenanigans…

Joel: We recently got a new studio which is pretty exciting. We tend to put ideas down at home separately and then bring them to the studio at the end of the week to work on them together. All of our tunes have some of all of us in even though they might have started as just one of us.

Ben: We made a couple of sample packs about a year ago and that was really helpful because we basically now have a massive Google drive containing all of our samples, so when we’re in the studio together we can combine everything really easily.

Joel: Yeah so all the boring stuff like EQing the drums and tweaking the basslines gets done individually at home and the ‘fun stuff’ happens in the studio…

Ben: We’ve made of our own samples from scratch which hopefully gives us a unique sound. When we started out we stole the odd snare drum here and there, as every newcomer does, but over time we learned that if you really want to carve your own signature sound you need to start from the foundations and create your own.

Klax on their formation…

Joel: In around 2005 I started working in a record shop in Brighton just as I was just starting to produce. I was in charge of all the dance music in the shop, ordering records in and selling them. Through that job I met a lot of people, including Ben…

Ben: I used to go to the shop every week, then one night I saw Joel, who I knew from the shop, DJing out in Brighton supporting Far Too Loud. About a month later I went into the shop and asked him what tunes he was playing in his set and he kindly sold a few of them to me. Then a few weeks later, I realised he’d sold me about five of his own fucking tunes! It was a sneaky move…

Joel: A sneaky move indeed! After that, I introduced Ben to Benny because they both had similar tastes in music. They started making D&B together whilst I was making dubstep. I’ve known Benny for years, he’s one of those people who’s always been around, DJing in Brighton under the name Bringa. Ben & Benny started working together for a bit and then we thought “let’s just pull all of our resources together and work together as a trio” – and here we are today…

Ben: Being a trio gives us wider scope, basically. I haven’t had as much DJ experience as the other two, so they’ve got better dance-floor sensibilities, and I can bring our sound into a different area, which means collectively we can make something that none of us could make individually. I guess it’s a case of symbiosis, if you want to use a fancy term…

Klax on their releases so far…

Ben: Our first release as a D&B group was Vendetta on Renegade Hardware. That was so sick because it’s such a legendary label; to get our first release on it was such an honour.

Joel: Yeah I was so chuffed with that release. I’ve been listening to Renegade Hardware for so long and I never thought I’d manage to get a release on it. That was a B-side to a digital release so it wasn’t the biggest, but it was still a great moment for us…

Ben: Then came Blackball on Critical’s Binary series, which I guess is the tune that got us known on a wider scale and the one that people associate most with us.

Joel: There has been a fairly big gap between Blackball and this EP with only a few bits in between. I think that’s partly down to the fact we’ve effectively been hibernating in the studio for so long, conjuring up a unique sound; we don’t want to rush it. It’s definitely not because we’ve been slacking…

Klax on their new EP…

Joel: The response to this EP has been amazing. Noisia, The Upbeats, Friction and Hype have all been getting behind it – it’s been supported across the board.

Ben: There’s a video of Sub Focus playing The Level at Tomorrowland. We hadn’t even finished the tune when he played it so we’re not really too sure how that happened! Then Chase & Status asked us for it and Sub Focus picked it as one of his favourite innovative tunes of 2015 which was pretty cool. We wanted to make something with underground sounds but something that’s also a bit more dance-floor orientated, so it was good to see those guys liking it.

Joel: We actually weren’t sure about this EP when we finished it, to be honest – we didn’t think anyone would like it. We weren’t going to release it but Kasra pushed us into doing it. As soon as we sent it over to him he was like “yeah, release it!” In hindsight, maybe he was just trying to get rid of us…

Joel: When Critical posted this release there were a few people asking who the fuck we are. I think comments like that are motivational though, in a way.

Ben: When people make comments like that I tend to track them down and show them who we are with brute force (just kidding, of course…)

Klax on 2016…

Ben: We’ve got a couple of remixes lined up we can’t reveal too much about at the moment… one of our main aims this year is to work with more vocalists. We also want to make a few more rollers with a similar vibe to Blackball…

Joel: Yeah we’ll will be coming up with a bit more straight-up DJ stuff this year because we fucking love it! We get bored quite quickly, so that’s why we don’t make rollers all the time. Overall you can expect to see a lot more from us this year with lots of stuff across the board.

Ben: I guess we’d like to do more melodic stuff too, similar to Ask Yourself with Matt (Foreign Concept). One thing we can definitely guarantee is another release on Critical…

Klax on Critical…

Ben: Critical has transcended over the past five years. I played a tune to someone the other day and he said “this tune has that classic Critical 2012 sound” – I don’t think there are many other labels that you can pinpoint an exact year of a release; the sound is constantly evolving and keeping fresh.

Joel: I’ve been on quite a few labels over the years and never has a label been so supportive. When it comes to things like getting us gigs and helping us move forward, they’re just amazing and that’s completely honest. We’re still a little bit in awe of the fact Kasra is a fan of our stuff and wants to back it.

Ben: We had a few other offers from labels but there’s something about Critical that made us want to sign. They’re great at discovering new artists and are really supportive, as Joel just said. That’s why we want to put the time in making something that’s really good.

Klax on, err, covering Kasra in fish juice…

Joel: Oh dear… We played at Motion in Bristol a few years ago and before going to the venue we had a big meal with all the Critical crew at a posh restaurant. It was our first meal with Kasra so we wanted to impress him. Matt (Foreign Concept) and I decided to have the mussels, which came in a big pot of lovely fish juice. We thought it would be a good idea to down the fish juice from the pot once we’d consumed the mussels, but I must’ve downed it a bit too quickly because, to my absolute horror, it all sprayed out of my mouth and nose – all over Kasra, who was unfortunately sitting opposite me.

Ben: Haha! It was so embarrassing. I just remember looking up the table in absolute horror, I thought that was the end of our D&B career right there. It was a fishy fiasco…

Follow Klax: Facebook / Soundcloud / Twitter

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