How Benji B Became Music Director for Louis Vuitton Menswear

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 |

Hired by longtime friend Virgil Abloh, BBC Radio 1 show host, “Life of Pablo” producer and all around taste-making force, Benji B has stepped into the Music Director position for Louis Vuitton Menswear. Given that Abloh has given Benji B a lot of praise for his own musical knowledge, calling him a mentor in the DJ space in a recent interview with The Guardian and comparing him to the likes of an Anna Wintour of music. Explaining that he initially got turned on to Benji B through his work with Gilles Petersen. “I’ve been listening to Benji B literally for 12 years every week. I’m from Chicago, and I learned about my own house music history through his radio show, him doing Chicago specials or Detroit specials or what have you,” the position seems like a perfect fit.

Business of Fashion sat down with Benji B to discuss his career evolution. Benji credits his most important break was working at Kiss FM aged 16. “I approached [former Kiss FM] DJ Gilles Peterson and famously said to him, ‘I really like what you do on the radio, but I can help make it better,’ which is the kind of thing you’d only do aged 16. We developed a pretty amazing relationship and I was producing his show while still at school.”

The interview dives into what motives him as an artist, crossing over into the fashion industry, his music director role a Louis Vuitton Men, the creative difference between DJing and curating sound. It’s a nice read with some enlightening quotes; some of our standouts include:

“When I was 18, on the day of my last exam when everyone else burnt their books and got pissed at the pub, I got on the tube and went to my first day of work—and I’ve been working every day since.”

“Conformity is not the root to success.”

“Studying your craft, with the privilege of being able to make mistakes, is more important than immediate recognition, gratification, one million followers and a cheque.”

“A by-product of the age of followers is the difference between being in love with the idea of being a DJ and being in love with actual records.”

“The most valuable thing that you have is your thumbprint, which is to say that no one is the same… And the rule of thumb is still the same—if you don’t hear the record you want to hear, make it. If you don’t have a club night you want to go to, create it. That’s what I did.”

You can read the interview here.

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Having only missed the very first year of WMC in 1985, it was 1986-1990 that initially placed me on the map globally due to the international attendance of the entire dance music community. All throughout the 90s I was often getting written about by various high profile mags and websites for having contributed to help break many artists, DJs, producers and remixers. WMC enabled me to bring many top industry people together all under one roof, especially at Groove Jet, where house music officially met Techno in my sets and it’s all been uphill since…TBC

Danny Tenaglia

DJ, Producer

I feel fortunate to have been part of the first-ever WMC. Over the 35 years, it has grown to give us an international forum where we exchange music and ideas. As an attendee and host of many of the award shows, I am proud each time I see new young talent emerge and then become world-renowned. We all have so many Winter Music Conference moments of hearing a seminal breakthrough record for the first time as well as a new DJ with star quality. Magical moments in my career.

Daniel Glass

Glassnote Records

If you want to know about our industry from the people that make it happen then go to WMC. It’s an accelerated masterclass in all things dance music.

Carl Cox

DJ/Intec Records

I first went to WMC ’87, the year I started Big Beat. It was an incredibly inspiring congregation of indie labels, DJs, artists, songwriters, producers and dance music lovers dedicated to breaking and discovering new music. WMC has been instrumental in furthering the dance and electronic cause; keeping the community connected, vital and relevant, and serving as an amazing springboard for talent. It’s a fantastic crucible for the future of dance music. Long may it live.

Craig Kallman

CEO & Co-Chairman Atlantic Records, Founder Big Beat Records

Before there was Ultra Music Festival, there was The Winter Music Conference, the annual coming together of the dance music tribes. Miami in March is a fundamental place to be from a business perspective, and has always given me endless opportunities for discovering new partnerships and talent. WMC brings together the dance music industry and surrounding culture like no other event in America. I’ve been attending WMC for nearly 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing its evolution in 2019.

Matt Colon

Director, North America - YM&U Music