A few years ago, Ben Cohen, who spins under the nom de guerre Generous B, worked as a wedding DJ in New Jersey. He would play for newlyweds until 11 p.m. and then hightail it to nearby New York City to spend all night at a minimal techno rave.
"I was going to raves in 2006, and then once I started doing weddings, the wedding would end at 11, and I would say, 'Hey, this rave starts at four until 10 in the morning.' I'd do a little 30-minute travel from Jersey, and the next thing you know, I was really getting into the music and one day just asked to play. Before I knew it, I was in the really dark, minimal, after-hours scene," Cohen says.
Over the next decade, Cohen bounced between his wedding DJ gigs and nondescript warehouses in the city. In 2021, with the help of Club Space co-owner David Sinopoli, he moved to Miami for work — but not as a DJ.
Standing at six feet six inches tall, Cohen worked security at Space before transferring over to its sister club, Floyd.
"I was inside Floyd, hearing every sound, every day — knowing what the sound was and what was going on," he says. "I was DJing, too, but I would hear that my sound was a little too fast for the club."
Eventually, Cohen's love for music — everything from death metal to post-disco — replaced his penchant for playing speedy, minimal techno, which contrasted harshly with Floyd's lounge ambiance.
His DJ sets now hover at around 120 bpm and range from dark disco to soul and house. He credits one night in particular while working security during a set by Israeli DJ duo Red Axes at Floyd for transforming him into DJ that he is right now.
"I first heard the group in 2017, and I just couldn't believe that sound. It was just tough, kick-ass punk techno. Dory [one-half of Red Axes] was playing by himself until 6 a.m. The owners came up to me and said, 'Hey, we're going to go longer. Do you have your [USB] stick?' I said yes, and they said, 'Good because you're going to close for Red Axes.'"
The energy was palpable all night — Cohen started playing at 6 a.m., and no one was leaving. "I was thinking, Holy Crap, this will set a record at Floyd. 7 a.m. came, and people were still rocking. I got a tap on my shoulder, and Dory was still there. He gave me a hug."
Riding the momentum, Cohen started playing at Miami Beach's Eagle Room. The event, dubbed Generous B and Friends, focused on Cohen booking bedroom DJs who may not have had the connections to get booked independently.
"The party's name changed, and now it's Generous B Presents," he says. "It's me presenting what I think would work in that room that night while also showcasing people you may not have heard of or people I'm close with, like Richie Hell."
There was no better year for Generous B than 2022. In addition to spinning in cities like Austin, Texas, and Medellín, Colombia, Cohen has warmed up the decks for Green Velvet, played III Points, and caught the ears of Red Bull executives.
"I was originally booked to play a dance battle for Red Bull because the executives heard I was a good open-format DJ," Cohen explains. "There was no playlist; it was just whatever the hell I thought of at that moment."
Two weeks after the dance battle, Cohen was asked by the Red Bull team to play during last year's Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix. Cohen was nestled in the VIP area, playing for a well-heeled crowd attending the race.
"I played three ten-hour [sets] and supported Team Red Bull," he adds.
Cohen's next gig is during III Joints at Factory Town on Thursday, April 20, where he'll spin back-to-back with DJ/producer Troy Kurtz. Expect him to deliver a set featuring a "funky, eerie, dark sound that brings joy."
In a city filled with big egos, Cohen only asks to let his music speak for itself. "I was given a lucky chance, and I want to return that to the people," he says.