FvF Mixtape #115: Ben Bobby
A blend of bouncy disco-tinted tunes and tech house heat, Berlin
Mixtapes > FvF Mixtape #115: Ben Bobby

There’s something cathartic about having a nice night of dancing—it’s a cherished weekend ritual for us at FvF here in Berlin. This mixtape from our friend Ben Bobby perfectly captures the feeling of those long club nights that roll into the early morning.

Ben Robin on the dotted line, he’s a very relaxed fellow who works for Skateistan, an NGO that uses skateboarding as a tool for empowerment and community building. In 2007, Skateistan established a ‘skate school’ for the youth of Kabul—particularly girls, who are forbidden to ride bicycles but are able to skate stigma free. When Ben’s not helping Skateistan with their mission, he’s DJ’ing and soaking in Berlin’s club culture. The mix he put together for us has a fun and energetic bounce, with hints of disco and house, while dipping into moments of minimal bliss.

Tracklist

  • Soundstrean – Sweep Magic

  • Kyle Hall – Measure 2 Measure (Original Mix)

  • Da Rebels – House Nation under a Groove

  • Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Today’s your Lucky Day (Instrumental)

  • Loshmi – Be my Love

  • Steve Pointdexter – Happy Stick (Original Mix)

  • Hamo – Once (Kickflip Mike Remix)

  • Kalisha – I got Something here (Original Mix)

  • Magnesii – Want Need (Original Mix)

  • Moodymann – Tribute (Original Mix)

  • DJ Jus-Ed – Something Sexy (Original Mix)

  • The System – You’re in my System (Atmospheric Vocal Mix)

  • Dude Energy – Renee Running

  • Daphni – Usha

  • Midland – Blush

  • Lauer – ESC (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)

  • Bicep – Just

  • Visage – Fade to Grey (Extended Version)

How did you select the songs for this mixtape?

I rarely make mixtapes, but I always have playlists and selections for playing or just getting to know the tracks better. The selection itself always goes pretty quick, figuring out what goes well with each other takes some time, though. Not just sticking to one genre is always important for me too. But this one was kínd of a no-brainer. As days grew colder again, I wanted something to reminisce over that feeling you have during nights out in summer, somewhere between unsettling and laid back, peppered with this positive melancholy you have once everything comes to an end.

I don’t know too many people with a double name (Ben Robin), what’s up with that?

Talking names is a bit weird. It’s something that draws a lot of attention, yet it’s something your parents decided over. Good nicknames always just happen to be as well. Long story short:
My mom lived in London for a while. She wanted to give her first child a British name, and she just liked the sound of Robin. Ben as well I guess, besides it also means ‘son’ in Hebrew.

Freunde-von-Freunden-Ben-Bobby-01
Ben broke his foot after not "minding the gap" getting off of a train. "I customized a worn out skate shoe into something I could walk around with. This snapshot was taken at a friend's birthday party, later that night I went dancing with crutches."

“Besides all this cool-dudeism, skateboarding conveys so many positive values.”

When you’re not DJ’ing what do you normally do?

DJ’ing has always been more of a hobby to me. So there’s lots of time to lead a rather ordinary life between working, skating, meeting up with friends, cooking, reading, digging for music, shoes and clothes. It’s fairly normal to me.

Could you explain the Skateistan project to us?

Skateistan started out as a grassroots project almost ten years ago. Today it’s an award-winning international NGO that uses skateboarding and education for youth empowerment. After starting out in Kabul, Afghanistan, we now run five sites in three countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Despite having over 1500 students (almost 50% female) attend our classes every week, we’re still running a rather small operation.

They had a vacancy at the Berlin HQ and I was amazed how well skateboarding works as an educational tool. Besides all this cool-dudeism, skateboarding conveys so many positive values. So I applied. I’ve never worked with a team so dedicated and I’m proud being part of it.

How do you see skate culture and DJ’ing related?

Well, there’s progress and competition in both cultures. Which draws more attention to details and style. Most DJs can do good transitions and most skaters nowadays can do lots of tricks. So for DJs, a good track selection becomes key and skating wise, a simple trick done well could be more outstanding than something technically difficult or something ‘big’. Personally, skating broadened my taste in music and skate videos taught me how important and powerful good music could be. Finally skate videos are having better soundtracks again—and I even dug out a few gems from them for DJ’ing recently.

Thank you Ben, for putting this mixtape together for us—it really got our bodies moving and we’ll definitely be listening to it further on down the line.

For more information on Skateistan, visit their website and support their international skate schools.

Be sure to check out the other FvF Mixtapes here.

Text: Kevin Chow
Photography: 
Kevin Münkel (Portrait), Akitoshi Mizutani (Landscape)