Hot out the oven, Benofficial and Prozac's Still From The Sauce is their debut EP on Potent Funk. The rapper/producer combo come through with a trap-flavoured five-track project, which is as spaced-out as it is down-to-earth. We caught up to chat backstories, sober studio sessions, and why the universe is now the audience...
What’s your go-to sauce?
B: "Hollandaise, Béarnaise, peppercorn sauce... nah if we’re talking bottle sauces, then Baby Ray’s."
P: "Bruv that’s what I was gunna say, sweet Baby Ray’s honey glaze baby."
B: "To be honest, I’m a chef innit, so I’m fortunate enough to know how to make BBQ sauces, hot sauces and I mix around with the chillies."
B: "One of the suppliers at work had a load of lobsters left over so one of my colleagues did a siracha-grilled lobster the other day and it sounded peng."
P: "And siracha sauce on ramen – game over. What else is there? Peri peri mayo from Nando’s, that’s a top sauce. Aioli. So many good sauces out there man."
Is making music like making a meal then?
B: "Well, I guess you’ve got different ingredients so it depends on whether you’re gunna sweat down those ingredients or whether you’re gunna turn it into a sauce, or roast it, it depends how you’re feeling at the time."
P: "We’ve got a good formula as well. When me and Ben make music, usually we’ll be jamming in his yard and I’ll be sat there cooking up a beat, whipping through some samples, adding little flavours to the mix, while Ben’s in the kitchen cooking up a storm. So, we’re literally cooking while we’re cooking."
B: "I take long cooking when its for my friends, obviously I’m used to time restraints at work, but when it comes to my friends I can take the piss. I must have spent six or seven hours making this really deep chilli yeah, I ended up putting it on fries and covering it with cheese then ovening them, but we must have left it too long ‘cos when it came out it was cremated.
P: "Oh god, the dirty fries! We’re either cooking up in the kitchen or cooking up in the studio, it’s as simple as that. Constantly cooking."
How did you two start making music together?
B: "I was on a trip to Bristol, I was gunna see one of my boys from Oxford who’d moved there for uni, and we were chilling in his gaff with another geezer called Milo who lived with Zac. In the background there were beats playing and purely out of the fact that I liked what I was listening to, I said ‘Who’s that?’, but he was like ‘That’s my housemate but he’s not in.’ He passed through some information and then a weekend after that he sent me a beat, the tune was actually called ‘Give Me Some More’ and that’s the first track we made. We were talking online, I was probably moaning to Zac about mixing and shit, but then five months later we linked up and that must have been about six years ago now. Since then we’ve become best friends innit bro. Also, the geezer who’s done a lot of our artwork - that’s Milo - he’s done our logo as well, and the geezer that’s done the animation video for the Still From The Sauce EP, he’s Max who I actually went to visit, so it’s quite cool how it’s organically grown and been kept in the circle man."
P: "I think Max messaged me one day like ‘My boy from Oxford is sick but he needs some beats’, so I sent them over to Ben and he was rating them instantly. So after that, we were like ‘Fuck it, let’s meet up’, so we linked up and made bare tracks in one session. We got waved, got nice food on, and were just chilling. We’re in the same headspace when it comes to what we’re listening to so, we just worked straight away and it’s all been natural from there."
B: "It’s nice to have a peaceful environment where you feel comfortable and can be yourself. There’s nothing worse than going to a studio that’s full of egos. I can do that as well, I can go prove myself, but it’s nice to be relaxed man. Everyone’s tryna put a front on a lot of the time so it’s nice to let your hair down fam - even though I’ve got none."
On a similar note, what’s the story behind ‘Ranch’? It seems very honest.
B: "Maybe too honest! Nah, throughout this album, I’ve gotta put it out there, mental health and addiction are real innit. Ratings to anyone that’s come out the better side of that or is still going through it. I’ve been dealing with issues myself, tryna get myself back on track, but cheffing doing 12-13 hour shifts five times a week doesn’t help. Tryna fit in music as well, and I’ve got a pretty hectic family life so it’s stressful man."
P: "I think that everything that we make is relevant to that day and what we feel in that moment. Fuckin’ ‘Ranch’, he was ringing me up saying ‘Let’s get in the studio and not get waved.’ We both get seshed up, but we were tryna focus on getting shit done ‘cos we’ll get waved and I might make a whack beat or Ben will freestyle a drunken verse and we’ll be like ‘Nah’. The ‘Ranch’ thing was the last time we met up before the coronavirus shit."
B: "I think that was one of the first times we had a sober recording session. 'Always bottles in my hand me, fell in love with the brandy.'”
P: "Oh true! That was the tune we made when you was on a vegan flex. He was like ‘I’m turning vegan watching these documentaries.’ In that tune he’s saying it how it is and contemplating it all, tryna work it out for himself."
B: "Yeah, I would say I’m in a transitional phase at the moment. A lot of the music I make makes sense after I’ve made it. It’s almost like I’m fortune telling my life. I hope I’m right with it, but gotta be positive with it."
Do you think that narrative is missing in a lot of hip-hop?
B: "Well, look at Instagram, everyone is just showing their best life. Everyone is influenced consciously or subconsciously by the information they’re listening too, so I try not to listen to much other rap per se, ‘cos I think in rap there’s a lot of ego. Even me though, I get caught up in it, but it’s two different directions: you’ve got your conscious and or your waves. It’s about bringing both together ‘cos everyone wants to vibe but they also want lyrics."
How does Still From The Sauce differ from Straight From The Sauce?
P: "That was our first project and we wanted to showcase our different styles with it - hybrid rap shit fam. It’s all hip-hop in my opinion, whether it be 140 BPM or whatever, to me I’m still making hip-hop. Ben feels the same way innit, so with the bars you approach each tune the same, right?"
B: "Vocally I don’t necessarily come with a concept to a tune, its more like sonically what flow is gunna sound nice on it. Unless it’s a feature, but usually it’s just off the top what feels good."
P: "But that was our first project so we wanted five tracks of different music and to get different vibes thrown in there. We’ve got different concepts for the different albums we’ve got. We’ve got Five Star Anarchy Vol. 1, which is more sample-based and more traditional, then there’s Pro Pesci & Ben Pacino, which is strictly soul loops and keeping it real raw with no drums. Then we’ve got this other style, which is keeping it heavy and wavy."
B: "It’s like garage-trap."
What is Five Star Anarchy?
B: "That’s me and Zac fam. That’s basically what encompasses our sound; Five Star Anarchy. It’s the juxtaposition of going to a five star restaurant or a three Michelin star restaurant and just wearing a tracksuit. It’s glamping almost, if I ever went camping man’s bringing every essential with me."
P: "See, I come to the festival with no tent and Ben’s glamping. That’s the juxtaposition right there bruv. Not crusty vibes though, it’s swag."
In reference to your final track, in what way is the “universe now the audience”?
B: "Just look above man. Look above. There’s more to this bricks and mortar inside. The more information that comes out, I’m not gunna sit here and say ‘I believe in this’ and ‘I believe in that’, but there’s a lot out there man, we know that. A hundred years ago we didn’t know what was going on in other countries personally, now we’re connected with people like they’re across the road but they’re across the globe. The universe is the audience already man."
P: "And putting our music out as well, just getting it out. It’s there for everyone."
B: "It’s there for generations to come man. This is our first stamp from Potent Funk Records - Still From The Sauce - it’s a body of work where the quality is amazing and it’s gunna sit there for years to come. That was me at this present time, passing on a message to a later on generation, even to the generation now but also to my children. We only use a certain percent of our brain consciously, right? So, there’s a lot that I don’t even know that’s going on in there, but there’s a lot of information in there and I’ve got a big ol’ noggin - as do we all. I think we’re a lot smarter than we believe. We’ve been taught to think we’re a lot stupider than we are."
What’s next for Benofficial and Prozac?
B: "More projects on Potent Funk, more shows once this lockdown finishes, more videos as well ‘cos I’m focusing on music a lot more now. Just being on the ball a lot more, we’re putting out another single/video, another EP, we’ve got an album ready but we might shuffle that a little bit. We’re always making stuff so there’s an abundance there. We’ve got two albums really if we wanted to stretch it out. Gotta learn to be patient with it though."
P: "We’re sat on loads of music at the minute from all the old projects and sessions. We need to go through it and make sure all the good ones are in a folder. But yeah, we’ve got Five Star Anarchy Vol. 1 which is the finished album, I say it’s finished, we need to mix and master but that’s another process in itself. Getting quicker now we’ve got a formula, so we’re looking to get it all out this year. Once Still From The Sauce is out I wanna drop another mixtape. I’ve got the Loudpac project that I dropped and I’m working on a volume two, it’s got some mad features on there already. Gunna re-release volume one on Spotify ‘cos it’s just on Bandcamp at the minute. We’re also gunna start pushing more Five Star Anarchy merch, we’ve done hoodies, tracksuits and T-shirts but they’re all sold-out."
You should do a sauce range…
P: "I was saying that to Ben! We need our own signature sauce."
B: "It’s coming trust me. Five Star hot sauce man."
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