No kid 'n play

Interview with ROD

No kid 'n play

03-05-2013 | 10.53

Benny Rodrigues is coming to Trouw this Wednesday with his RODnacht for the first time. The perfect moment to sit with Benny to talk about his techno alter ego ROD, his releases on Klockworks and the musical relationship with his good friend Darko Esser.
Hi Benny! This is your first RODnacht in Trouw. Do you approach it as just a long set or do you try to give it something special?
I consciously do very few RODnacht editions, because I want it to remain special. I never do such a long set like the one I do at RODnacht. I find it extra special because it gives me the opportunity to showcase the entire spectrum of techno, from the really deep and layered stuff to the hard and firm techno. The fact that I’m doing a RODnacht in Trouw, is extraordinary because Trouw is simply one of my favorite Dutch clubs. On Wednesday I’ll begin playing when people are still eating, which gives me the ability the build up very spherical and subtle until the dance section. And of course the flexible closing hours… Who knows how long I’ll play this time?

One of your first releases under the moniker ROD was released on Klockworks where only Ben Klock himself and DVS1 had done so previously. How did this come about?
MySpace haha… I knew that Ben was playing a remix of mine that I did for Josh Wink. I asked him on MySpace if I could send him some new material for a yet to be assigned project. No sooner said than done and within two weeks he was sending me YouTube clips of him playing ‘Malmok One’. He’s been asking for more tracks ever since and after I had send him dozens of set-ups, he chose the three tracks for my first ROD release. What’s remarkable is that we came up with the name ROD together, just like Malmok. Ben didn’t only release my first ROD EP, but also literally gave life to it. Without Ben ROD would probably still be a thought inside my head.

You’re also present on the Klockworks label night in Berghain on May 11th. This is the third time you’ll be playing the Berlin club. Can you tell us something about the way you personally experience playing there compared to your gigs in the Netherlands?
This is indeed the third time; I played there once as Benny Rodrigues and this will be my second time as ROD. What can I say about Berghain that hasn’t been said already? Everything they say about Berghain is true! But playing in Berghain can’t be compared with my Dutch gigs. It required a totally different energy, the kind of energy you have to learn to deal with as an artist. For example the fact that there are no closing times… Where in the Netherlands I normally play towards the end of the night. This is definitely not the case in Berghain… On, on and on! But I also play much more subtle in Berlin than I do in the Netherlands; I use a lot less effects for example. Both locations truly have their own unique charm!

Recently you’ve been very active as ROD, but you also still play under the moniker Benny Rodrigues. Is it hard switching between these two monikers?
For me it’s very simple, has always been actually. Benny is house and techno in its broadest sense. ROD stands for pure techno in the broadest sense. Although most people now seem to get what I’m about, I do experience it to be difficult when I’m doing a ‘Benny Rodrigues’ set and people ask me ‘if I want to play a ROD set’… To me, ROD isn’t an opportunistic project where I try to look like the man. ROD is definitely not a replacement for ‘Benny’, or ‘the way that Benny would REALLY like to play’: a thought I sometimes pick up with people. ROD is the piece of Benny Rodrigues that was always there, but never had a name… and that’s why I’m glad I found a way to detach these two entities. This makes switching between monikers so much easier than ever before. The fact still remains that I need both Benny Rodrigues and ROD in order to completely let go musically. They can't live without each other, but they also need their own space.

There are a couple of clear similarities between Benny Rodrigues and Darko Esser. Besides the fact that you are friends and often play back-to-back under those names, Darko also started producing under a techno alter ego. Is this something you talked about or is it just a coincidence?
Darko is one of my best friends in the scene, but also an artist that inspires me. Just like I hopefully inspire him! Darko being active as Tripeo wasn’t something we discussed, but as far as music goes we are totally in sync. So when he came up with Tripeo, I wasn’t surprised! I’m very happy for Darko that the Tripeo project is going so well: Darko really deserves that!

Can we expect a Tripeo vs. ROD set in the future?
When Darko and I spin together, we usually end up playing techno: especially at the bigger festivals. How illogical it might sound, during my back-to-back sets with Darko I always consciously choose to play under the Benny Rodrigues & Darko Esser moniker. Mainly because with ROD, I want to keep the focus on the solo aspect: it’s complicated enough as it is! But I definitely won’t exclude the chance that we’ll do a TripROD set and/or production some day.

Text: Daniel Zeinstra & Frans Bootsman