DJ Ben Zaven Crane is a self-confessed ‘Boosh-obsessive freak’, and unless you’ve been living in a cave you’ll know he is of course referring to TV’s cult comedy juggernaut The Mighty Boosh.
His recently released dance remix, Oaky Timbre, fuses surreal Boosh soundbites with ‘lotsa kinks, burps and twitches’, and he promises it’s going to be a hit: ‘It’s a wicked hook. I’m lucky to be the only one that’s come up with the idea really. I’m surprised everyone hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon.’
He exudes admirable gusto with an unapologetic self-assuredness, and it’s difficult to determine whether his approach is warranted self-confidence or cocky grandeur. Either way his enthusiasm is boosted by enough Boosh bravado to push his project forward.
‘The Mighty Boosh is my break. Like anyone who knows me knows that I’m totally into Boosh. And to some extent it’s actually helped people understand me. It’s like, don’t talk to me, just look at this video and then come back to me. It’s kinda how I work. I’m totally Boosh. Me and my Mum had this kinda crazy take on life since I was really young. So I think it’s just gonna help define who I am, as opposed to just some kinda rogue producer I’m gonna be like a personality/performer.’
Crane’s got the intense energy of a hyperactive kid who’s downed too many E-numbers: animated in speech, restlessly conversing, hastily filling in gaps with his eternal monologue, zany, crazy-eyed, all arched eyebrows, coiffed barnet and flamboyant print shirt. ‘The track’s getting noticed where it really counts, where it’s really gonna get legs. And more importantly it’s gonna give me a name.’
That name: Mojo Filter. It’s an alias you may well be hearing more of. ‘It’s a brand we’re going to build on’, he says. By ‘we’ I’m not sure if he’s referring to his record people or his dual personalities. He has a propensity to salute his alter ego in third person: ‘It’s enough to give Mojo Filter the momentum he needs to get involved with the kind of quirky sideline electro that he produces. He being me.’
Confusing, yes, but his tendency to talk in tongues (‘My sound is kinda like psychedelic fidget electro. Like mushrooms and red wine’) is offset by an impressive catalogue of prominent DJ campaigners: ‘Eddie Temple Morris on XFM…Annie Nightingale…Tom Middleton…Sunday Best Allstars, they’ve been playing it since day one, they love it…Ministry of Sound radio, Dave Vega…apparently they’ve got an open plan office in Elephant and Castle and they play it every morning. It’s a really big track, everybody loves it. Yep. That’s wicked kudos if you’ve got Ministry boys playing it.’
Crane seems to enjoy donning masks, shedding skins, shifting identities, from Mojo Filter to Crane and back again: ‘I’ll tell you one thing about Mojo Filter, he’s well into the outdoor scene. Like, he grew up in Glastonbury…Stonehenge. Those were my favourite places when I was young. That’s how I came into contact with music, like produced sound made for playing outdoors. It’s a different sound to what you listen to in a club. Club music’s produced with the club in mind. Whereas with outdoor music there’s a lot more reverb, more delays… progressive sounds coming out. So I’ve kind of got a combination of the two. I don’t really have a formula. I don’t really have a sound that you would define in contemporary terms.’
Oaky Timbre is a follow up to a Ghostbusters remix Mojo Filter released three years ago which ‘was a really big track in clubland, but there was nothing to follow it up so you kind of die a bit of a death.’
His catchy new track is ‘woozy and emotive’ with ‘weird stops and fidgets and changes that jolt you on the dance floor’, and he’s certainly not shy about self-promotion: ‘I think The Mighty Boosh is a huge hook for the track, and it’s basically made me say that I’m gonna commit to Mojo Filter as my name cos it sounds kinda kooky, it sounds kinda like a Boosh-related thing. So when anyone hears Mojo Filter it’s already got a name, it’s already got a cool association.’
So what do the Boosh boys of rock-star status, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, think of the track? ‘We just heard that they like it and they’re gonna sign it away. They don’t just give it away for the sake of merchandising. I think they like the track.’
And the future for Ben Zaven Crane, aka Mojo Filter? ‘I’ve got a five-track EP coming out. Boosh is gonna be massive. Then we’ve got an Iggy Pop track we’re going to follow up with that straight away cos it’s a big name, great association. All this is about association at the end of the day. It wasn’t just a whimsical choice of tracks cos I like them. I wanna be associated with The Mighty Boosh. I wanna be associated with that kinda sleazy rock ‘n’ roll kinda feeling. And then I’m gonna go to India and sit on the beach and write an album. Which is what this has afforded.’
Oaky Timbre is now available to download from: