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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

Big Ben Beats

Is Toronto ready for a serious dose of music and muscles?…

By Mathieu Chantelois

DJ Ben Bakson (@ben_bakson) is taking over the world. But don’t let his good looks fool you—his music does all the heavy lifting. Catch up with this Berlin DJ before his big Canadian debut at the 10th anniversary of Toronto Pride’s legendary outdoor TreeHouse Party.

TreeHouse will be your first gig in Canada. How are you feeling?
A debut is always something very special. I have met many great people from Canada while playing in parties around the world, and I am happy to visit a few of them in Toronto this summer. Therefore, excitement seems to be the right word.

I’m very happy to be introduced to the Canadian scene via one of the largest parties in Toronto, one that gathers thousands of people to party for a good cause. I have been told that Barbara Hall Park transforms into a true magical forest, and I am looking forward to experiencing this vibe.

What does Pride mean to you in 2018?
Gay rights have positively evolved and I am truly enjoying my life being openly gay. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everybody, and there is still a lot of injustice and unfair laws. In 2018, we need to focus on full equality; there is still work to be done.

What are you proud of?
I started professional DJing more than a year ago, so I am one of the newest faces on the scene. Nevertheless, I am already headlining big events in the USA, Brazil and Asia, and in many cities in Europe.

What makes me proud is not only my success in such a short period of time, but it’s also the direct feedback I get from my fans. I love the direct exchange with all of them and am really flattered about the great positive feedback I receive. Making many people happy on the dance floor, giving them motivation in the gym, or a great time at a house party…that makes me feel proud.

What should your new Canadian fans know about you?
I would describe myself as a very positive, happy, trustful, loving and open-minded person, who lives his life to the fullest.

“You only live once” is my motto. I love to travel as much as possible; I love to meet new people around the globe. Those experiences enrich my life very much and I am very thankful for the opportunity I have to live exactly the way I want to live my life.

Who are your biggest musical influences?
I have very talented colleagues I really admire, be it for their productions, their great musical taste or their technical skills. I love the way Dan Slater projects his positive energy onto the dance floor, like a big ball of sunshine filled with great music. Phil Romano’s music and mixing technique are always just on-point and amazing. The incredible Brazilian DJs, Allan Natal with his amazing productions, and Anne Louise whose sets are full of beats that just never stop! There are, of course, many other talented DJs in the world who I like and admire, but those four come first to my mind.

The lineup for TreeHouse is also very inspiring: Isaac Escalante, GSP, Hector Romero and Angel Moraes. I can’t think of a better mix to create the ultimate day party.

What makes an event a great party?
First, the music! The selection, the mixing, and the communication with the dance floor. If the DJ does not feel the crowd, the party will for sure not be great. He has to feel the crowd and adapt his sound to the vibe spontaneously.

Second, the venue. So many things to consider: the location, the right temperature on the dance floor, the bar service, the toilets, the lights. All these factors have to be on-point for a perfect experience. If any of those does not work, it can turn a great party into a bad one. If you have to queue one hour to go to the bathroom, even the best DJ won’t make you happy.

And finally, the crowd. When you gather the right people, you can create a good party easily.

Do you think being a good-looking DJ is an advantage? Or a curse?
Both! When I announced that I would start DJing professionally, a lot of people did not take it seriously. Some even said I only got my gigs because of my looks. I have the trust of some major party producers and have an important and growing number of fans. Those serious producers are not booking a DJ for their looks, but because of the high quality of the music.

How do you want to make people feel on the dance floor?
I want the crowd to smile, laugh, enjoy time with their friends and sing along to the songs they love. I want to bring them to ecstasy through my music and make them enjoy the moment to its fullest.

Green Space Festival’s TreeHouse Party, in support of The 519, takes place on Sunday, June 24, from 1 pm until midnight in Barbara Hall Park. Entrance is free, but donations are appreciated.

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