DJ Ben Holtam Talks House and NCB Radio

DJ Ben HoltamLooe-based Ben Holtam is a DJ on NCB Radio in Bodmin. His music ranges from hip hop and funk to soulful house, and over the years he has performed with the Flava crew in Plymouth and Jelly Jazz.

Ben talks to Rapture about how he got started, how his music has evolved over the years and NCB Radio.

How long have you been a DJ and how did you get started?
I started when I was about 14 in my bedroom. I got a set of belt drive decks from my parents for my birthday and I was hooked. As soon as I could, I bought myself a set of 1200s and I was away.

Who are your musical influences?
There are way too many to mention because I just love music from anywhere and everywhere. It tends to air on the funk side, the soul side. It’s got to have that thing that makes your head nod. I guess my main influence which got me to where I am today was Danny Rampling’s Love Groove Dance Party which used to play on Radio 1. Even now it continues to guide my way.

When and where was your first gig?
Apart from the odd house party, it was in Plymouth at the Studio. I was performing as a guest of the Flava crew at a hip hop night.

What is your favourite set to perform?
It’s got to be any set that gets the crowd going. To feel the energy of the room and the people all feeding off the music you’re playing is an incredible feeling.

Who did you listen to growing up and what was your first album?
As a kid, I’d listen to pop. I used to love the first two Madonna albums. As I got older, I got into hip hop in a big way and that has stayed with me, even now. But when hip hop changed during the nineties and became more commercial, I went back to the music from where the samples came from. I got into funk, jazz, and soul and then disco, rare groove and garage. I guess that’s house and why I got into house music.

Where is your favourite venue to play live?
I like small venues, places that are intimate where you can see the audience’s faces. You can really tell if they’re into it or just club night posers.

What are your aspirations and plans for the next 12 months?
I want to take my DJ-ing to a higher level. I have a website coming soon and I want to make it a hub for deep and soulful house; somewhere where people can come and hear new music.

If you could play on stage with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Hmm, tough one…  Guess I’d love to DJ and cut up old break beats for someone like Run DMC or some other old skool artist – proper block party hip hop.

What do you think of the Cornish music scene and what improvements would you like to see?
If I’m honest, I don’t see a scene for the style of music that I play. The deep and soulful house radio show I do hardly reaches anyone in Cornwall, it’s more worldwide.

What is your most memorable gig?
The best place I’ve ever played was at a house party in Alderly Edge, just outside Wilmslow. I drove up there and met my mate Nigel who was dating the girl whose parents owned the place. We set up our decks and played next to the pool. It was just how a pool party should be.

Describe your music style in three words
Deep soulful house

Tell us about your radio show on NCB
I currently host two radio shows. The first is The Rebirth of Cool which is a mix of future beats, hip hop, nu-jazz, funk, neo-soul and electronica and goes out between 4-5pm GMT every Saturday. After that comes my main event. Two hours of the latest deep and soulful house music mixed by myself. Each week, I feature a special guest DJ & tweet and interact live throughout the show. This show goes out between 5-7pm GMT ahead of Vincent Vega’s The Perfect Pitch show on www.ncbradio.co.uk

 

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