My London: Just Be

DJ and producer Just Be – aka Matthew Benjamin of former tech-house duo Layo & Bushwacka! – is currently based in Ibiza, but his heart resides in London Town. Ahead of his Sancho Panza set at Notting Hill Carnival next Sunday he opens up to The London Word about west London, Layo & Bushwacka!, partying and Princess Diana.

London is such a vast city, but I do love Ladbroke Grove; my home until very recently, for so long. West is best!

Seek and you shall find, but be careful what you ask for because you might just get it.

I know it sounds morbid, but all the flowers at Princess Diana’s funeral were laid in Kensington Palace Gardens up the road from my house, and the feeling of united loss and a true sense of sadness was weirdly one of the most beautiful things I’ve been witness to.

My favourite London day out would involve lunch at the Mitre Pub followed by a walk in Holland Park, and an ice cream somewhere, then some live music or an early evening session at Secret Sundays, followed by a sofa session.

As long as the sound system is phat, the music is great, and the crowd are up for it, I could happily have a night out anywhere in the capital.

My inspiration is coming from nature, people, feelings and adventures. My sound is anything from deep house to tribal techno to psychedelic breakbeats. As long as I can feel it and it works then I’m happy.

I am currently living in Ibiza and plan to be here for the foreseeable future, although life is full of surprises. My time is divided into traveling, touring, studio, beach and social down time at the moment. The balance feels really good right now, and I must cherish these moments because I feel very blessed.

Layo (Paskin, the other half of Layo & Bushwacka!) and I achieved pretty much everything we set out to do in our career together, and it was an incredible journey. We are and always will be the best of friends – brothers – but I felt that to follow my heart was to take things on another journey and go back to my roots as an artist, and develop and launch something new.

Our back catalog of singles and albums is something I am very proud of, and gig wise there have been so many magical moments and highlights; The End – wow, so special!

Working alone feels very different and takes a lot of discipline – especially in the studio. It’s hard. DJing wise I am currently enjoying the longer set times mainly because I can express myself musically but it’s swings and roundabouts. At the moment it feels just right!

The melting pot of cultures and nationalities make London unique. There is nothing like it anywhere. And of course its history.

When something has pulled on my heartstrings, this brings out the most creativity in me. It’s not geographic.

My favourite Londoner? Boris; his bikes and the hairstyle.

I miss the rain, the road works and the rush hour. I seem to get sad when I think about it.

London drives me mad because everyone is so busy all the time, you need to book 10 days in advance to have a coffee with a friend.

I go to Holland Park and the river by Richmond to relax. And St Mark’s Park is a hidden gem.

God: when I talk to him he gives me the right answers.

Sancho Panza is hands down the best thing at Notting Hill Carnival and I love those guys so much. I intend to give everyone a portion of my energy and drop some funky house tracks, old and new, and keep it party, party stylee on the Sunday. I can’t wait!

Sancho is king, and they are doing these events with no sponsorship, and their after parties are always legendary. This time it’s at The Supper Club. See you on the dancefloor!

I’m thinking about re-launching Plank Records; my breakbeat label. But a modern version. I’m also DJing everywhere as Just Be and producing music for a selection of different record labels and collectives. As well as carefully forward planning for 2014. Watch this space!’

Just Be will be DJing at Sancho Panza for Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday 25 August at 3pm.

The Sancho Panza after party is at The Supper Club, 12 Acklam Road, Notting Hill, W12 5QZ.

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