DJ Benton on Electric Pickle: "I Don't Think Wynwood Realizes What They Have There"
You might wanna brush up on those kickboxing skills because Thursday nights at the Electric Pickle are gonna knock you out.
It's One Two Punch, the latest weekly party to go down at the Pickle since its return to the party grind after a short-lived hiatus earlier this year.
The action-packed bash is a mix of DJ Benton's eclectic funk, soul, and "failed pop" tracks with Mixx Piggy's goth and dance hits from the '70s. The result, according to Benton, is pure musical bliss that'll make "you want to wiggle."
The other week, Crossfade spoke with DJ Benton about the One Two Punch kickoff and Jolt Radio website launch going down tonight at the Pickle. The DJ broke down the pun behind One Two Punch, explained his signature musical style, and revealed his true feelings about the Pickle.
Crossfade: One Two Punch. What inspired the name? Do you wanna knock people out with your music?
DJ Benton: [Laughs] It's not necessarily knocking them out with the music. I kind of have my own eclectic mix of music. One is the resident DJ, which is me, two are the other DJs, Mixx Piggy and a guest, and the Punch is the $4 Electric Punch we serve from my friend in the Juicery Bar in Brickell. That's kind of the pun behind it... It's really a fun party. It's high-energy.
How is One Two Punch different from the other parties at the Pickle?
There's only one other night at the Pickle, which is ladies night with Andrew Ward and the Pelvic Thrust guys. It's more of a deep house sort of vibe. This party is like from the ashes of the last party we had [Eclectic Electric]. It's the phoenix rising from those ashes, but different. This is supposed to be more where we come from and open people up to a lot of different tastes... There's also Mixx Piggy, and she's playing goth music and dance music from the '70s. It's a larger spectrum of music that you might not usually hear at the Pickle, but it still fits.
Your tracks have a funky, hip-hop, retro vibe to it, and you stick to vinyl. Would you consider yourself more of an old school DJ?
It's definitely rooted in that. I read the floor at first. Every time I play, I have to make sure that I'm communicating to the dance floor... It's like a fun party atmosphere that you really don't know what's coming next. You're there for the ride.
How would you describe your signature sound?
I would describe it by saying it's a new perspective on funk, soul, and boogie music. At the same time, I'm not afraid to put in pop, rock, soul, and a lot of different sounds from the past century. I use the records as a way to change the music. It's as much as expressing the format of the vinyl, but kind of modernizing the sound of funk and boogie and playing it in a way that people catch on to it.
What's your favorite genre of music?
Something that I like to call "failed pop music." [Laughs.] My favorite thing is, when I'm at a record store and look at a cover of something that was trying to be popular or in the forefront, but wasn't, I know that means there's something dark and goth about it...
What do you look for when mixing a new track?
How I look at DJing is that I feel it's my communication with the audience. It's like a two-way communication. It doesn't have to be vocal, but funky, that makes you want to wiggle, that makes you feel like something is talking to you, like a movement in the air.
When I go to the party, I like see what's there, and I feel that I could come up with something new all the time. I don't feel like I'm going back to a format. I'm always trying to change it up... You have to know the track... It's like writing a story. I throw the pronouns, verbs, and adjectives to tell my story and make them tell theirs on the dance floor.
One Two Punch is gonna knock you out at the Pickle.
Photo by Daniel De Las Casas
Your focus is more on the local scene. Do you have any plans to expand out of Miami?
Just with these tours I've been doing with Psychic Mirrors. I work with them really closely. That's how I represent myself outside of Miami... I'm focused on being in Miami and entertaining it. My focus is here, but I have enjoyed being able to go out and perform. We did New York, DC, Virginia, and Georgia in March... It's fun to rep Miami and to see these people excited to see what's from here.
The Pickle went on a hiatus earlier this year, but is back and kicking. How does it feel to have the Pickle back in action and to be part of that action?
In one capacity or another, I've been at the Pickle since they opened. I was resident DJ for the downstairs Pop Life. I left and came back and started Eclectic Electric for two years, and that's when it got shut down in March... I don't think Wynwood realizes what they have there. I think the Pickle has some of the best bookings in Florida. I'm so happy they're alive, and back and kicking... I'm happy to have my dance floor back. That's what makes the difference - their atheistic and values set that bohemian attitude for a nightclub you don't find anywhere else in Miami.
One Two Punch Kick Off and Jolt Radio Website Launch Party. With DJ Benton, Mixx Piggy, and a surprise guest DJ. Thursday, July 18. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. No cover. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.
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