Bonus Stage Boss Betty's Bringing Ballroom and Beyond on this Bouncy Beast of a Mix
Ahead of the next Bonus Stage party, we spoke to the Parisian DJ about grime, ballroom, and Beyoncé.
Photo by Hélène Feuillebois
Betty Bensimon's been one of our favourite DJs for a while now. The Parisian selector's probably best known for the genre spanning, super exciting Bonus Stage parties that she runs out of Paris and London. I first met Betty at a Just Jam session a few months back where she played with Teki Latex, Air Max '97, Madam X and Gage, before joining them and pretty much every sick club music DJ in London at the Miranda Bar for the aforementioned Bonus Stage night. A few weeks later I found myself eating green beans and artichoke with her, Teki, and THUMP's favourite French photographer Hélène Feuillebois. Could life get any better?
Alongside Bonus Stage, Betty's spent the last few years playing out in clubs around Europe, DJing on Rinse (both here and in France) and becoming a vital part of the Parisian ballroom scene, as DJ for the House of Mizrahi. Next month sees a special edition of the Creme de la Creme parties she runs with Teki taking place as part of RBMA's Parisian takeover, and the end of this month sees Betty bringing Bonus Stage back to blighty with another party at the Miranda. Ahead of that, she's put together this absolutely essential mix for us to get everyone in the mood for a night to remember. Spanning bedspring-bleating boogie, UK Funky, techy-grime, grimey-tech and Fetty Wap, you won't be able to stop giving this one rewind after rewind.
Check out the mix and a conversation with Betty herself below.
THUMP: Firstly, how's 2015 been, Betty? What have you been up to?
Betty: 2015 has been good to me so far. I've played quite a lot, and I'm playing outside of my hometown Paris more and more often, in a couple of European countries. I just got back from Belgium where I was sharing the bill with Stormzy, and I'm still buzzing from it.
Also I was able to throw my party Bonus Stage in Paris and in London, which makes sense to me as I'm largely influenced and fascinated by a large spectrum of electronic music that finds its roots in the UK. I think it's interesting to make the British and Parisian scenes communicate. This year I also got more involved with the Paris ballroom scene. As the DJ for the House of Mizrahi in France I had to learn how to properly deejay a ball and all the related rules and codes. The Creme de la Creme parties this summer were really formative. It's really fun and stimulating to be part of such a great team.
Boring question I know but what's the thinking behind the mix? Is there a theme?
It's really hard for me to think about a theme before the mix is actually finished to be perfectly honest. With this one it felt like I was playing Legos with my best pieces and trying to make something harmonious. I like to make long blends, superimpose melodic and percussive tracks, mixing DJ Oddz and Fetty Wap. Hope that's a valid answer.
You're back over in London later this month for another edition of your Bonus Stage parties. You've got Teki coming over (obviously) but can you tell us a little about who else will be joining?
Teki's coming back — he's part of the DNA of the night, his sets are always highlights and this time he'll be playing b2b with a special guest which has to remain secret for the moment.
I invited Gage from Crazylegs, I love his sets, his track "Bad Bitch" with Kevin Prodigy is an anthem amongst the Paris ballroom scene so he's also coming to play the next Bonus Stage à La Java in Paris on November 5. Chemist, who is affiliated with Coyote records and makes dope dark and melodic grime tracks is coming down too, and so's Ahadadream, who does a show on Radar Radio, and whose track "Gunshot" I've played a lot lately.
[daily_motion src='//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x2xzpjw' width='800' height='450']To those who haven't been to one, what's the Bonus Stage vibe?
It is a specialist underground party with a very niche palette of sounds, and as a result the people who are here are really concerned, they know all the tracks and are really receptive. Last time there was a bunch of DJs in the audience so it ended up in a fun giant b2b between Ikonika,Teki, Scratcha DVA and Akito. It's a fun party where unusual combinations happen. You never know who's gonna pop in behind the decks unannounced.
After a summer of your Wednesday night ballroom parties, are you super excited for the one you're throwing with RBMA? What can we expect from it?
I'm dead excited. It's great that RBMA is choosing voguing to represent Paris, and is linking with New York by bringing Vjuan Allure over. The Honey Bee Ball written by Lasseindra Ninja and my mother Stephi Mizrahi is about Beyoncé and actual bees so we can expect great outfits!
Betty's Bonus Stage takes place at Miranda Bar, London, on the 30th of October. Head here for more information. Or cast a glance at the poster below: