Native Mix #073: Familiar Face

The Native Mix

Sam Clowes


07 May 2018

Ben Smith AKA Familiar Face has supplied us with an exclusive mix and a few words of wisdom regarding the scene in Southampton.

If you’re a keen party goer in Southampton, and attend events showcasing house, disco and techno, there’s no doubt you will have come across the Familiar Face around town. Ben Smith has been absolutely killing it as of late, with ongoing residencies at Junk and the Goat Shed, while fronting the new event greenhouse, which launches this Friday. His solo ventures are bringing in the crowds and supplying them with that sweet-sweet music.

He's also one part of the popular three-piece disco groovers Gold School, who have managed to secure Horse Meat Disco for their summer garden party at Sobar, but we were very keen to hear a mix from Familiar Face alone, as their sound as a collective doesn’t necessarily represent their ideal sound as individuals. He has been warming up the crowds at nearly every event in the ‘Junk is…’ series, including the likes of Hammer (Feel My Bicep), DJ Boring (E-Beamz), Chaos in the CBD, and Project Pablo this bank holiday Sunday. However, his skills as a DJ have gained attention amongst the Southampton ravers, and he definitely deserves some more recognition for his energy behind the decks.

We wanted to sit down with Ben for a chat and ask him about his involvement with The Goat Shed, Gold School and his up and coming solo ventures as Familiar Face.

Check out his mix below!

How did you get involved in the scene in Southampton?

Ben: Started with learning how to DJ with mates, from there it progressed. Then a little residency at a terrible club around here. From there I suddenly managed to start playing with Gold School. Around the time I got involved with Gold School things started to pick up, we got more noticed, gained good connections with clubs. Then Luca from Junk asked me if I wanted to do a set to warm up the crowd for Artwork, and from there I started to pick up more and more nights around the city.

How did the name Familiar Face come about?

Ben: People used to always come over to me and say they’d met me, because of DJ’ing at a lot of nights around town. But I always had a familiar face, so I just thought about it and thought it’d be a good name to get me started around Southampton.

So, tell us a bit about the new night launching at Junk, Green House.

Ben: Green House is basically a brand-new house and disco night in Southampton, to push more people into the disco scene. It’s pretty terribly represented in the scene at the moment. The more people we get involved here the more we will be pushing the sound. One, we will be pushing the scene in Southampton. Two, we can hopefully help the genre itself. Three, it’s just a really good concept, it’s something a bit new. There are a few brands here already, but we want to push the genre itself.

I can tell disco has been doing pretty well in Southampton as of recent?

Ben: Yeah, we have a few disco brands in Southampton, and that’s a very good thing. So, there must be room for a weekly night. New DJ’s come and play, we’re showcasing new talent that wouldn’t necessarily play anywhere else, but they’re actually getting to play the best club in the city.

What’s the Goat Shed, what are the aims of the brand and how are you involved?

Ben: It’s basically a streaming and media brand. But we want to take it from Southampton and the south coast and expand to UK based or even worldwide. Ideally, we would love to be like boiler room and DJ mag all mixed into one. Push new music in the scene, get involved in the biggest developments, not just by reporting but remaining a part of the scene as well.

How are you involved?

Ben: At Goat Shed I have a few roles. One is just studio manager, I look after the studio. I help bring the DJ’s in, get them sets. I’m also the promotions manager there, I push the events, push the streams and promote our music in general. Lastly, I’m resident DJ. So, when the brand gets booked at festivals and events, I get to go and play those events, which is really exciting.

What festivals?

Ben: Personally, I’ve got three sets at common people, which I’m really looking forward to. One with Gold School, one with Goat Shed and one with Junk, my three loves.

How is your sound as Familiar Face different to Gold School as a collective?

Ben: It definitely is different. As Gold School we’re just house and disco, maybe a bit of wavey Balearic house. With Familiar Face, I love the new Lo-Fi house that’s coming out at the moment, and some of the electronic music that’s being produced is amazing. It’s all really quite techy and heavy for Gold School. Acid house is also a big part of my sets, but I don’t think that wouldn’t go down so well at a disco party.

What events have you got in the pipeline for 2018?

Ben: Project Pablo on Sunday, love project Pablo. One of my favourite producers for a couple years. My mate Buddy Love (Adam) who’s meant to be playing with me on Sunday introduced me to him. Same with Chaos in the CBD and DJ Boring. It’s a real privilege to be able to play alongside some of my favourite artists, and Junk are really pulling it out of the bag at the moment. It’s so much more underground, it’s so great to see these artists in such an intimate environment.

What music do you listen to?

Ben: I mean if I’m going on a walk or doing Uni work, I always listen to mixes. It’s one of the best ways to improve yourself as a DJ, listen to the way they mix tracks and how nicely it flows. It’s chilled, but yeah, I’m always listening to mixes.


What sort of vibe were you going for in your mix for Native?

Ben: I started with a lot of Balearic house music, from some super good artists on small London based labels, then I worked my way into some Lo-Fi house and I finished with some heavier acid- house. Just music I generally like to listen to and throw into my sets on the regular.