5 Mins With… DJ Zinc

Bringing in the New Year at Sheffield O2 Academy, Benjamin Pettit AKA DJ Zinc has been on the drum and bass scene since the early nineties. We collared the dance artist ahead of the show to find out what makes him tick.

You released your first single, ‘Super Sharp Shooter’, twenty years ago and now you’re reaching a new generation of fans with your music. What do you think has been the key to your longevity?
I think that probably not knowing when to give up is the first point. Secondly, I just do what I really enjoy and try not to follow trends. That way, if it connects with the audience it’s cool; if it doesn’t it’s still not a problem. I’m just doing what I want to do, and hoping that it works.

As a DJ and producer you have experimented with many different genres – is it important to display a variety within your sets?

Yeah I definitely do, in 2005-6 I started getting bored of drum and bass and I really thought about what I planned to do. I started to play mixed genres which then actually lead to a tour in 2006, which was a lot more eclectic in style. However it didn’t work out because I think at the time people were more interested in hearing just one genre. Since then there have been more DJs that have become popular that mix it up and play different stuff, and it has become more accepted. So as time has gone by my sets have become more varied. I love it, I love mixing it all up.

Are you working on any new music at the moment?

Yes, I’ve got a new track featuring Boy Matthews called ‘This Time’. I’ve also been working with a couple of other vocalists on tracks that are going to be coming out on my Bingo Bass label over the next 3-6 months.

The line-up for Detonate’s New Year’s Eve events read like a best of British underground music. Why do you think that genres such as garage, drum and bass and grime have been receiving such widespread recognition again recently?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the deep house feel was big for a few years and now people want something a little more rough and tumble. Those genres definitely deliver that. I like house with bass, but I really love jungle, drum and bass, garage and grime: the rowdy music. For me it is great that this kind of stuff is so popular, to see some of the grime MCs like JME doing so well; they’ve been grafting for years and now all of a sudden they’re ‘overnight successes’ – even after working for ten years!

You’ve played Sheff a few times before. Do you have any good memories of playing here?

Yeah, I’ve played in Sheffield many times over the years and there is a really good vibe there because of the history of electronic music from the place. Plug has been the sort of recent big club that I’ve played at a lot but over the years and it’s been always good there. The Tuesday Club has been great too.

See djzinc.com for details of upcoming shows and record releases.

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