Producer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, promoter, Michelin starred chef: Lost Child is one of those rare artists who covers multiple disciplines, and his sound is a rich weave of flavours as a result.
Breaking through on Pick N Mix last year with vibes ranging from ruffage to dancefloor, last month saw Lost Child build on his momentum with a powerful self-released EP that will resonate with every single one of us, right down to our lockdown-shaken bones. A collaboration with frequent Zoom studio session partner and fellow multi-disciplinarian kindred spirit MYKOOL; both tracks Our Scene and Confinement capture what we’ve been through in the last year+ and commentate on the lack of government support. A soulful, solemn celebration of dance music’s essential DIY DNA, they also made their own video:
Inspired, we called up Lost Child – AKA Gael Benjamin – to find out more about the EP, his work with MYKOOL and his remarkable journey so far…
Our Scene really wraps up where we’ve been! I guess this was inspired by the We Are Viable movement last October?
That’s how it all started really. Me and MYKOOL had already started doing music over Zoom through lockdown. We’d been talking about it for a while before all this, but never got round to it, but lockdown gave us the push we needed to collaborate. We worked out how to do it online and at the same time we kept seeing the news that this industry wasn’t going to be supported and you had those adverts to tell musicians to change their job. I thought ‘wow that’s crazy, I’m trying to change my life and my job to do this for a living and the government are telling us to do the opposite!’ So we talked about it and wanted to put something out that captured our feelings. That whole point of lockdown was a real low for us all. Everyone was suffering with their mental health and we all needed a bit of a pick-me-up so we wrote this for everyone.
Literally everyone. You include the whole scene, all the support and backline staff. The whole industry.
That’s it, it’s something we think about. Being an event promoter as well as a DJ and artist, I see all the aspects of the industry and how many people are involved behind the scenes to make these things happen. I feel like that gets lost a bit: it’s not only artists, it’s sound engineers, lighting engineers, bar staff, people running the cloakroom, literally everyone.
How has it been from a promoter perspective? You run a night called Unusual Events, right?
That’s right. We had our debut event right on the last week before we got locked down. It was 50/50 for us – it weas a great night but at the same time we were eager to go for more. We thought about social distancing events or streaming but, because of the type of party Unusual is, we felt we wouldn’t do it justice so we’re waiting and waiting to be able to go back to a proper rave scenario.
So that was one of the last dances before it all shut down?
Yeah it was. We managed to squeeze in one last dance. We had myself, MyKool, Soosee Cue, James Wilson, Milna & Subject. We try to strive to put up-and-comers on the scene and want to support the local community around us and that was a great way to kick off our events. It’s a shame we couldn’t do any more, but we’re looking forward now.
Not long now. So how do you and MYKOOL write over zoom?
It was tricky to begin with, but we found a solution pretty quickly. One thing we’ve been reminded of during all this is how musicians are really crafty and always find solutions. We did a bit of research and found a plug-in that allows people to collaborate in real time in high quality audio. That helped us hugely and made us think ‘this can be done.’ It inspired me, I’ve only been producing for a little while, I’ve collaborated with people in the past and it hasn’t quite gelled, but with MYKOOL we worked magic and crafted a few bangers. We were like ‘This has got potential here’.
You can’t force that type of spark can you?
Definitely! MYKOOL comes from the dancefloor sound of D&B. He came from metal so he naturally leans to that type of energy. Personally I love my jungle, my reggae, my ragga so we meet in the middle. It’s a nice combination. He also sings amazingly so we had a lot of different palettes to bring to the table and bits of knowledge and from different places.
Interesting he comes from a heavier background. You did a track on The Black Excellence album called What Do You Mean You People… That’s a heavy one!
Yeah that’s it. Did you know he also mastered the whole album? He’s super talented. He’s an undercover man! We got a lot of projects on the go at the moment too so this is definitely not the last time we’ll be working together.
How about you? You’re a multi-instrumentalist aren’t you?
It’s quite crazy to be honest. I did a music degree when I was in school. I play piano, guitar, drums, bass, I played a Carnival at London School of Samba and I used to be in a band. Music has flown through me all the time. So there was a moment when I took my eyes off music but then I realised it’s the only thing I want to do and around that time I’d started raving. I was seeing what DJs and producers were doing. I liked the energy and it inspired me to take this direction.
I think you became a chef during that time out of music, right?
Yeah I did. Most of my family are chefs, so when it became time to work I naturally followed course. Working in a kitchen is relentless though, I ended up not having much time at all for music and so it was sadly put aside for a while. That’s until rave culture stepped into my life of course…
What got you back on the musical path?
I realised that life is short! We spend most of our lives working hard to pay the bills, a lot of us spend that time doing jobs we don’t particularly want to do. I’m a firm believer that you should wake up in the morning excited to go to work, I knew music was my passion and at the same time I was experiencing my first raves. It wasn’t long before I decided I want to wake up and do music for a living.
Amen! Was electronic music on your radar during those previous musical disciplines?
Yeah it wasn’t even on the radar. I was very young when I was doing those type of music things – like 14/15. I’d hear it on the radio but just didn’t get it or have that much interest. But then the raving thing took off later in my teens and I got it. And now things like drumming are paying off as I listen to all those jungle breaks. It’s like it’s already a part of me.
You can record your own breaks!
Definitely. I’ve thought about that a lot. I need to get a kit, but for that I need a bigger studio! But I record a lot of things myself like the guitar. I’m more of a hands-on person with things.
I guess the same for the video for Our Scene, too?
Yeah man. Credits to MYKOOL. He filmed the whole thing, outside my house in the snow, we were super cold. But yeah everything was grassroots, DIY and in-house with this EP.
I love DIY. Are you self-taught musically?
I had a few drumming lessons and, when I got into Samba, I was part of a group which was community-led. But everything else has been self-taught. YouTubing practicing, just soaking it up, studying the craft and making the best I can.
What comes next?
There’s EP coming out on Pick N Mix soon, then myself and MYKOOL have got something in the bag with a big label which we’re looking forward to seeing at the end of the year. But for now it’s about Our Scene, which is also a nod to the future really. I’m excited about what we can achieve when we’re free to move around and rave again and excited to hear our music through the big rigs we make it for…