By Jasper Gape
Tomson & Benedict are a bunch of lovely lads from Manchester in the UK who do some of the most lovely deep house music to grace the ears of the Nerdy Frames brethren and it is certainly evident with their latest single ‘Blind’ featuring top selling South African artist Bantu Soul on vocals.
They truly know the craft of making some great house music and are deserving of every accolade out there from DJs to music media outlet like ourselves. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the crème de la crème of Djs and tastemakers are out there jamming their tunes to the en masses.
With that said we got to talk to both Tomson and Benedict in this exclusive interview.
Hey Tomson & Benedict thanks for granting us this interview on Nerdy Frames, so how did Tomson & Benedict come about and how often do you collaborate on tracks?
Benedict: Tom ran a very well known night in Manchester called Development. I regularly went and we ended up chatting about making music and it went from there. We met up and tried get a few things going but didn’t do anything concrete until our first remix which was of ‘Russelology’ by Flowriders.
Between the 2 of you, how long have you been making music for?
Tomson: I’ve been playing around with music for about 8 years now, although we had our first release together in about 2008 and we’ve both been taking it seriously from around that time.
Benedict: When I was about 13 I used to play around with bits and pieces of low end software I’d get hold of and probably got the bug then. I struggled to make anything decent until I went to the School of Sound Recording in Manchester and did an Audio Engineering course.
What sort of music do are you generally be involved in and how would you best describe it?
Benedict: I wouldn’t say I’m as eclectic as Tom, in others words I’m quite narrow minded. I’m a sucker for Chicagoan house. I really can’t produce something without that unmistakable swing that you get with that kind of house.
Take us through the process of making a track, what do you tend to start with first and is there a subjectivity or theme behind it all?
Tomson: It’s a bit of a cliché that ‘house is a feeling’ but it’s the best way of describing the production process. With all electronic music there’s an element of experimentation, so you try something and if it feels right you build on it. For me, that process would usually start with some chords or a sample but could equally begin with a drum groove, it totally depends on what you’re feeling at that moment.
Benedict: Absolutely what Tom said, we have been working on something and something jumps out at us and we end up working on something completely different.
Have you guys done remixes and do those same principles apply to remixing?
Tomson: Remixing is always slightly different and definitely requires more planning, it’s less spontaneous. It’s a challenge we’ve both always enjoyed though and we started off doing a lot of remixes. We used it to teach ourselves how to work with vocals really, before we wrote our own songs with guest vocalists.
Who has been supporting your music so far and dropping it into their own playlists or DJ sets?
Tomson: We’ve both had some great support for our solo music and the productions and remixes we’ve worked on together. Our latest single on Tone Control has been supported by people like Joey Negro and Brothers Vibe and Tony Humphries said it was his track of the year so far. We’ve had some great support in the past from people like Laurent Garnier and Deetron and we had our ‘rainy things’ track played on Radio 1’s Essential Mix by Paul Woolford, which was a lovely surprise too.
Tell us about your studio setup and what DAWs you use in everyday production?
Tomson: We work together in Pro Tools as Ben is a trained engineer using that software. At home I also use Ableton 8 alongside a Korg Poly 61 synth as well as a couple of other smaller outboard synths. I’ve just swapped my MPC for a Maschine too, which has really speeded up my drum programming without losing much of the classic swing and charm.
Benedict: As Tom said I use Pro Tools to stick with my Engineering roots. I’ve played about with some cheap anologue gear and used some really expensive outboard processors when studying but I would say I almost exclusively produce in the box.
Alright let’s talk about your latest single ‘Blind’ which I’m really digging at the moment. Tell us how long it took to make and how you hooked up with Bantu Soul?
Tomson: Really glad you like it! I actually met Bantu Soul in South Africa while I was on tour there in 2009 and we got on really well and kept in touch when I came home. We were supposed to be working on a remix of a single for him which never quite worked out, so we decided to record a new song for ourselves. Lots of emails, uploads and downloads later and we had a finished song that we were all really happy with. He’s a very talented vocalist and a successful artist in his own country, so it was a pleasure working with him.
Whats next on the cards for Tomson & Benedict, anything you’re currently working on that you want to drop to us exclusively?
Tomson: I’ve got a solo single coming out on Smooth Agent Records in Chicago with some great Atjazz remixes and some stuff I’ve been working on with Eddie Leader which is coming out on Morris Audio and Huddtraxx later in the year.
Benedict: I’ve got an EP coming out later this year on Halo’s brand new label Surface Recordings with a few nice remixes in the package. I’ve also got another similar project using ‘interesting’ samples lined up after that too.
Tomson: We’ve just finished another single together too, which we’re really happy with. It’s unsigned as yet though!
Before we wrap up our interview would you like to end it on some wise words?
Benedict: I find production is a psychological nightmare, like any kind of art. One day you’re on top of the world and the next you doubt what you’re doing altogether. I suppose its the obsession that keeps me drawn in.
Tomson: Life’s too short, house records are usually too long and the world is wide. Embrace it!
And with that…we thank you Tomson & Benedict!