Ben Sandy, known as DJ Sandy is a drum & bass DJ coming from a very active music scene in Leeds to the island of Malta, where he is currently establishing himself locally. At Leeds Met University he set up Audio Active, the university’s 1st ever DJ society. DJ Sandy has since hosted and been invited to DJ at various clubs, open deck socials, boat & house parties in the UK and Malta. Underground Sound asks him 9 questions:
How did you find yourself behind the decks?
I’ve been behind a variety of different decks in my school days but it wasn’t until my 1st year of uni in my halls of residence that I met my best friend Ben SA (Audio Active co-founder) He had a pair of technic 1210’s and a shed full of DnB & dubstep on vinyl! As many people who went to university – the 1st year we had so much spare time on our hands and I took complete advantage of that. I used my student loan to get myself some Pioneer CDJ 800’s and locked myself in my room for hours on end on numerous occasions to teach myself and then it went from there!
Major inspirations to you as a DJ?
I take inspiration from a vast array of different DJ’s and live acts across various genres but the one who stands out for me has to be Andy C – his style, passion, record label and energy behind the decks is second to none. I’ve had the privilege of playing after him in my favourite club in Leeds and his ambition and humbleness reflects in how friendly and inspirational he is in person – a true legend in the DnB scene.
You are a creator of a musical community called Audio Active, established in Leeds, UK – what is the objective of Audio Active?
I co-founded Audio Active, a community of enthusiastic, like-minded people with a passion for all things music and events back in 2012. We provide a platform to showcase, promote and inspire all who wish to get involved. Whether it be – DJ’ing, MC’ing, DJ tuition, production courses, promotion, events management, record label management, graphic design, sound engineering, video production, photography, web design, we can help you get stuck in with all sorts! Whoever you are, whatever your passion, Audio Active welcomes you!
The British are always brewing up new tunes, styles and even entire genres – impressions of the music scene in Leeds?
I was blown away with the amount of events all across Leeds – there is literally a night / event for everybodies tastes and passions every day of the week with some HUGE DJ’s from every genre playing. In fact there may be too many! But one thing is sure with the music scene in Leeds, which is very reassuring is that the promoters talk to each other and try not to double book huge nights on certain dates. When it came to Audio Active – we were amazed with the amount of talent across the Leeds city – the open deck socials at times were so busy we had to start using raffle tickets to ensure the fairness for everybody when it came to booking 20 minute slots.
Now that you are living Malta-side – will you bring a similar community here?
Bringing Audio Active to Malta has been on the back of my mind since day one, when I came here two years ago. It’s only really until the last few months that I have realised that there is a good enough network to bring the same community & underground vibe to the island. I’m not aware that an open deck social exists out here so keep an eye open for the future 😉
What is your impression of Malta’s small albeit dedicated DnB scene?
Growing up in the UK and being a promoter for over 10 years or so I have pretty much been spoilt within the DnB scene. The UK is home to many great music genres including DnB. I respect any promotor who puts in the graft work when it comes to seeing there music passions and artists fulfilled in an event. In my time in Malta I feel that compared to the UK it’s far from the level I’d like to see it. There’s a really positive vibe towards DnB, especially liquid DnB from what i’ve seen so far. This i’m sure with the correct network involved and passionate, like-minded people something incredible can happen here on this beautiful island.
You’ve been rostered on the same nights of quite a few internationally renown DnB artists such as Andy C, Calibre etc. – which was the most rewarding to DJ alongside?
Just recently actually I played at a Symmetry Recordings showcase after the record labels owner – Break. Break has always been one of my all time favourite artists. He played alongside my favourite host/MC – SP:MC. They both stuck around for our set and when they both came up to me and DJ SA and said ‘you boys don’t f**k about’ that really hit home the appreciation. When me and DJ SA get B2B behind the decks something clicks and the vibe and energy we get off each other and the crowd is something else. We have such a loyal and respected following and I thank everyone who comes to support us when we play – gives me so much pleasure and appreciation that sometimes is hard to comprehend.
If there is one club night / festival you would play at next year, what would it be?
I’ve DJ’ed in some incredible clubs, house parties and illegal raves across the UK but for the past two consecutive years I have been to a festival called Audio Farm AKA One Tribe Festival – a very niche, small and special festival in the UK. Profits go to charity and has the most amazing vibe. No mess gets left behind which shows a huge amount of respect for the environment unlike many of the mainstream festivals these days.
Five of your favorite tracks at the moment?
Very hard question this one! I’m going to keep the tracklist to DnB as that is my ultimate music genre passion. I’d also have to say my all time favourite DnB track ever is Chase & Status – In Love – brings back so many amazing memories and got my passion for DnB in full swing!
- Spectrasoul – Second Chance
- Alix Perez & Specific – Just Memories
- Zed Bias – Pick Up the Pieces feat. Boudah (Skeptical Remix)
- Inja – She Just Wanna Dance (feat. Whiney)
Words by: Luc JC
Images courtesy of: DJ Sandy