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Bensley & Justin Hawkes give us their Top 10 North American D&B Tunes


Throughout the majority of 2023, Bensley & Justin Hawkes have embarked on a joint tour across the United States, including memorable performances at renowned festivals such as EDC Las Vegas and Forbidden Kingdom. With both artists’ unique sounds and captivating stage presence, it comes as no surprise that they have joined forces to create their latest offering: ‘Don’t Be Scared’, which is being released through UKF.

Bensley is rapidly establishing himself as one of Canada’s most thrilling young producers. Equipped with impressive production expertise and a proven track record in dance music, Bensley has crafted a distinctive sound that draws inspiration from various genres. His music exudes a powerful energy and bass-driven undertones, making it irresistible for the dancefloor. Yet, amidst the infectious beats, Bensley manages to maintain a captivating musicality that resonates with electronic music enthusiasts. In recent years, Bensley has achieved significant success, boasting an impressive catalogue of releases with over 15 million streams on Spotify alone. Renowned dance labels such as Monstercat, Deadbeats, RAM Records, mau5trap, Nightmode, and UKF have all embraced Bensley’s music. Notable highlights from Bensley’s impactful discography include ‘Hit The Lights / Slow Motion’, ‘Roll The Dice’, ‘Leaving / Debonair’, ‘That Feeling’, ‘All Night’, ‘Vex’, ‘Fandango’, ‘One Last Chance’, and his 2019 album ‘Muskoka’. Additionally, he has delivered official remixes for Zeds Dead, Flux Pavilion, Camo & Krooked, Eliminate, Delta Heavy, and more.

Justin Hawkes burst onto the DnB scene under his alias Flite, making waves with his self-released track ‘Blue Spark’ in 2013. Liquicity showcased this seminal track on their influential YouTube channel, exposing Justin’s ability to seamlessly traverse from delicate and emotive tones to euphoric brilliance within the realms of bass music. His talent quickly garnered him a devoted fanbase, including support from renowned DJs like Andy C, Porter Robinson, RL Grime, Netsky, Friction, Sub Focus, Wilkinson, and many others.

Growing up in a small town in Virginia, Justin’s introduction to the world of DnB was not immediate. However, his musical influences, such as his early involvement in the school’s marching band playing the trumpet and his passion for blues, rock, jazz, folk, and gaming, have significantly shaped his artistic journey.

Bensley & Justin Hawkes ‘Don’t Be Scared’ dropped today via UKF, check it out below and grab a copy from here!

To coincide with the release of Bensley & Justin Hawkes ‘Don’t Be Scared’ we asked the guys to tell us about their favourite North American Drum & Bass tracks…

Bensley’s Selections

Justin Hawkes – Heartleap

This one’s in my head all the time! Justin took an iconic sample and brought it to the next level with his incredible vocals. Heartleap always creates a euphoric moment in our b2b sets!

Machinedrum & Holly – Hide Sun

Top notch! I find everything about this track addictive, from the organic half-time drums to the lush chords. The bass sounds in the second drop are insane.

Mirror Maze – Elsewhere

I only discovered Mirror Maze’s music after meeting him in Austin earlier this year. The guy is incredibly underrated and I think this tune showcases just how fierce a producer he is!

Kumarion, Smoakland – Worth All The Wait

This one is a serious stylistic curveball for both Kumarion & Smoakland! The light drum hits and wobbly bassline are impeccably executed. Both producers have brought in some unique influences to build upon the UK sound of DnB.

Polaris & Schematic & Natalie Wood – Inner Vision

This one comes straight out of my hometown of Toronto! Inner Vision is an absolute masterclass in liquid Drum & Bass. I absolutely adore the end of the main chord progression – lush!

Bensley & Justin Hawkes

Justin Hawkes’ Selections

Machinedrum & Sub Focus – 1000 Miles

This one is such an amazing tune to me. Making music with Sub Focus is such a great accompaniment. I can’t help but feel super inspired when I think of Machinedrum’s story. Any artist that can come from a small town in the middle of the woods in the South and go on to make a well respected career in electronic music…they’ve got my admiration. I really relate to that kind of origin story.

CLB – Badboi

CLB is Chicago’s greatest secret. He’s probably proof of reincarnation, because there’s a Bristolian level of Drum & Bass skill and taste hiding away inside him somewhere. Badboi is one of those tunes I am positive the greats will want to rinse as soon as they hear it. He’s got so much to offer as an artist and I truly hope he can bless lineups around the world soon.

Reaper – XLR8 (Audioscribe Remix)

When it comes to newcomers who took the entire EDM scene by surprise, Reaper is one of the most fiery I can think of, dropping a well received and stronghearted debut album on Bassrush. Equally as surprising of a newcomer is Audioscribe, from Salt Lake City Utah, who is in the eyes and ears of Wilkinson’s Sleepless, UKF, Hybrid Minds and many of the world’s top dnb tastemakers. This tune has the perfect amount of bite while remaining mellow and as full as it is. Audioscribe is any anthemic liquid enjoyer’s bread and butter, and it’s only a matter of time til a massive hit is in his hands.

Des McMahon – Space Candy

Des McMahon is one of the grittier, industrial warehouse vibed producers I can think of who we are lucky to have in the US. Out of Philadelphia, he’s got such a flair for dark and mysterious industrial ambien, with techy rolling drums on top. Space Candy though…this one is insanely catchy and pure dancefloor fun. This is a favorite of mine to play. I love when DNB artists can express their craft in many different forms, and having both techy rollers and melodic dancefloor anthems is a powermove.

Bensley – Never Enough

Now obviously I didn’t have to put Bensley, but he legitimately is one of my favorite peers in North America. Very few artists could retain such creative independence and output while also having such persistence navigating an industry built mainly for Europeans. I’m insanely proud of him as an artist. Never Enough is a play on an obvious truth and the answer to every question we have as artists. Executed flawlessly.

Bensley & Justin Hawkes ‘Don’t Be Scared’ drops via UKF today (Thursday 15th June), grab a copy from here!


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