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Benjamin Berg

From hip hop to electronic music

  • Sergio Niño
  • 7 July 2024
Benjamin Berg

Benjamin Berg ́s musical journey began with a love for hip-hop and R&B. What started as a curious fascination with the beats and melodies of the streets soon evolved into a full-fledged passion for DJing and producing. From early days spent marveling at DJs in action to honing his skills at workshops in Amsterdam Noord, Berg’s story is a testament to the transformative power of music and the relentless pursuit of artistic expression.

Picture this: a young Berg, immersed in the rhythms of hip hop and R&B, his world pulsating with the beats of the streets. One fateful night, during a family dinner outing, the magic happened. A DJ at the venue cast a spell on him with their turntable wizardry. Berg couldn’t tear his eyes away from the decks, and that’s when it hit him – “Wow, this shit is cool!” From that moment on, he was hooked.

“At that time I was mainly listening to Hip Hop and R&B, so all the parties I went to, that was the music that was being played. My knowledge of electronic music was very limited at that time. So when I started DJing it was obvious that I would play hip hop and R&B”.

“When I started playing a lot of hip-hop parties, I wanted more. When you are a hip-hop DJ, you want to work with a rapper so that you can be the DJ on their tour. That was the main reason I started producing. I wanted to make beats for rappers so I could meet more people in the scene”.

After I got into electronic music. I knew immediately that this was the way I wanted to go and I decided to turn everything upside down and just concentrate on making and playing electronic music.

Berg’s journey took a decisive turn when he stumbled upon DJ workshops in Amsterdam Noord. A chance encounter with a fellow DJ named Lenny sparked a mentorship that would shape Berg’s musical destiny. Lenny’s workshops weren’t just about mixing tracks; they were about counting measures, feeling the groove, and finding your beat in the world of electronic symphonies.

“So this one night I went out, I got to the club early. I was smoking a cigarette and the DJ who was opening the night, Lenny, was also smoking too. We were the only ones there so we started talking. I asked him about DJing and how interested I was in learning how to do it, So Lenny told me that he organized DJ workshops in this community center in Amsterdam Noord”.

“The first time I went I had no experience at all. The setup there was a DJM 750 and two CDJ 850’s. On these CDJ you cannot see any waveform, so it was difficult at first. Lenny taught me everything I needed to know to mix two Hip Hop and R&B records”.

“Probably the most important lesson Lenny gave me was how to count measures properly. Mixing hip hop and R&B goes a bit faster than mixing house records, so I needed to know how to count intros and verses well to do a decent mix”.

“Lenny also did some programming for an event called “NYX op donderdag” at Club NYX. So when he heard that I could DJ well enough he put me on the program there”.´

“I no longer speak to Lenny but I am forever grateful for what he taught me, and I love how he organized these workshops for free so that other people could enjoy the same passion he has for music and the art of DJing. Thank you, Lenny!”

As Berg’s skills grew, so did his musical palate. He went from sampling vinyl on his MPC 2000xl to crafting intricate beats that paid homage to the golden era of 90s house music. It wasn’t just about the sounds; it was about the vibe – that hypnotic, soulful rhythm that makes you lose yourself on the dance floor.

“When I first got into electronic music, I didn’t know what there was to discover. In the beginning, I listened to its more commercial side. Living in Amsterdam gave me the ability to go to more parties and discover more. When I started to get into music, I wanted to find out what I liked. I got a job at Club Claire as a runner. It was the hardest job I ever had, haha, but it gave me an insight into all the different sub-genres of electronic music”.

“I found out that I liked the more rolling hypnotic kind of sound. I just really loved being stuck in a long loop. When I started going to record stores to find more tunes I found that most of the records I liked were made in the 90s and early 00s, this is where I found the music that I love the most and it can still be a lot different from more techy tunes from Terry Francis to more housey stuff from Ian Pooley for example. This is where I get most of my inspiration from these days when I make my music”.

With that in mind, Berg found himself trying to get into the industry. Perhaps some of the most important moments of his life happened while working in Zwart Goud, a record store that broadened Benjamin ́s spectrum of knowledge both in music genres and in the development of his sound.

“I was looking for a job in a record store here in Amsterdam. I went to a lot of record stores, but most of them were not looking for new people. When I went to Zwart Goud, the owner, Ilker Soylu, told me that I could do an internship there. I was very keen to do the internship because I would be able to learn more about the music industry”.

“Zwart Goud has a lot of different genres lying around in the crates there, but most of the music they sell leans more towards techno, electro, breaks, and ambient. At that time in my career, I was not really into that kind of music, so I never listened to it much, but being exposed to that kind of sound gave me a different view of everything that is out there. I can say that this made me appreciate the genres that were being sold there a lot more”.

“Now, I can say for sure that it has influenced my sound. Finding what you’re all about makes you refine your taste in the best ways”.

From the early days in his bedroom to the container studio in Sloterdijk, every beat is a testament to his musical evolution. Collaborating with fellow artists like D Stone isn’t just about sharing gear; it’s about sharing a musical journey, pushing boundaries, and creating sonic landscapes that transcend time and space.

“At first I set up my studio in my bedroom. This was fine for me as I had no other experience. I did not know what a well-treated room would sound like. Now that I have my studio, me and Daan have taken the time to try and make the sound the best for that room. It is still not the best-sounding place as it is in a sea container. He laughs, but we made it good enough”.

A typical day in the studio for Benjamin Berg starts around noon. He finds that he is more productive during the day than at night. When he begins, he usually has an idea of the vibe he wants the track to have, even if the specific sounds aren’t yet clear. His starting point can vary; one day he might begin with the drums, which is often the case, while on other days, he might turn on some sequencers and experiment with the studio gear, allowing ideas to flow quickly.

In his early days of making tracks on the MPC 2000xl, Berg would sample directly from vinyl into the MPC and then cut the samples within the machine. This process was time-consuming, so now, when working with the MPC 1000, he finds all the samples on the computer, cuts them, and records them into the MPC to speed up his creative process. Once he gets the basics of the song right, the rest of the production flows naturally. Berg always aims to finish the track on the same day or at least achieve a descending arrangement. If he doesn’t finish it that day, the likelihood of revisiting and completing the loop diminishes, and it often gets lost somewhere on his computer.


Berg’s vinyl-only series is a testament to his love affair with analog warmth and soulful melodies. Each track is a story waiting to be told, a journey through soundscapes that stir the heart and move the feet. And let’s not forget the visual feast – filmed in his bedroom, these sets are a glimpse into Berg’s musical universe, where beats and visuals collide in a symphony of creativity.

“So the vinyl-only series came about when Sanjay Bults lived in a room in my house for a couple of months. He is a good friend of mine and also happens to be a video/photographer. One day we were just thinking about a project we could do that would be nice for both of us. Neither of us had ever recorded a set with video, so we thought, “Let’s do it! To make it a bit more fun to watch we came up with the idea of making it a vinyl-only set”.


As Berg gears up for his upcoming release on Squid Recordings, the excitement is palpable. This isn’t just another EP; it’s a sonic manifesto, a fusion of beats and melodies that defy genres and expectations. And with his vinyl-only series gaining momentum, the future looks brighter than ever for this musical maestro.

“There was not a specific creative process behind any of the tracks on this EP. The first track is a collaboration with my friend Mat Gusty. Other tracks on the EP are tracks I made when I was using the MPC 2000xl, all sampled directly from vinyl into the MPC. The last track on the EP is a nice hip-hop-style beat that I made, which I think is a nice closing track for the EP”.

“It was not really about making music that could all fit together on an EP, it was more about just making what I was feeling that day. I think that is something you can hear on this EP as all the vibes of the tracks are different”.

Benjamin Berg’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, curiosity, and creative exploration. In a world filled with sounds, he’s found his voice, and it resonates with the soul of every listener who dares to dream in beats and melodies.

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