Wonderland.

Backstage Pass: Benny Mails

Photographer Joseph McDermott meets Benny Mails.

In a unique access-all-areas series, south London based photographer Joseph McDermott goes behind the scenes with music’s finest.

After shutting down his support slot with Lil Peep, Joseph meets South London MC: Benny Mails to talk inspiration, pre-show rituals and the state of UK Rap.

Tell us, who are you and where are you from?

Benny Mails, London.

How did you get into creating music?

I began wanting to be involved with the music my boys were making around me. Free-styling with live musicians threw me in the deep end. We moved it into a studio and then onto a stage. Only now do I see how lucky I was at the time. Some of those musicians are doing so well and some aren’t here with us anymore. Love to anyone that shared wisdom along the way. R.I.P David Turay.

How would you describe your music?

Anxious. I can’t write without taking a step back to paint what my reality really is.

If somebody hasn’t listened to Benny Mails, what’s the first song or project you would recommend they check out?

‘Mantra’.

How do you feel about the current state of UK Rap?

Shit is gleaming. The UK is breeding some of the most true-to-self writers. It’s hard to say from the perspective of someone that is categorised within it. But I know from seeing what’s behind the scenes that this is gonna flip tenfold.

What’s the best show you’ve ever done and why was it the best?

The Garage Islington, cos I had a point to prove and proved it. I was young too so the excitement was nuts.

Who’s on the line up for your ultimate/dream show?

James Brown, D’angelo and Benny Mails accompanied by Yussef Dayes, Madukwu Chinwah, Dan Lutz. Fantasy right?

Who is your biggest inspiration, musically?

Outkast

What’s your favourite song to perform?

Charming ft. DaeStreet

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Blood Orange & Lemon shots with my brother Dae.

What’s one song you’re currently playing on repeat?

2pac – All Eyez On Me

If you could collaborate with any artist / producer who would it be?

I like NAO’s uniqueness. But I heard Justin Timberlake & The Neptunes are getting back together, I’d be Clipse in that situation 1 time.

Who’s an up and coming artist we should keep our eyes on in your opinion?

Slowthai

What can we expect from Benny Mails in the future?

I wish I could answer that, I’m busy getting more addicted to this.

Any final comments?

I’m about to jump in the deep end. Large up my parents for supporting who I am, my family & my girl for keeping me on the ball. I don’t support a football team, I support Soul Mavericks & Sunni. But maybe Crystal Palace I dunno!

Photography & Words
Joseph McDermott
Backstage Pass: Benny Mails

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