Interview: Olugbenga

Perhaps packing the greatest grin ever sourced from a DJ's face, Olugbenga is probably one of the busiest men on the scene today. When he's not playing bass in Metronomy - having joined for the band's recent album The English Riviera - he usually finds himself in one venue or another, hosting mind-blowingly slick DJ sets - "just sipping drinks and playing a few songs" - at clubs across the country. At RockNess, he found himself especially busy, playing Metronomy's set on the Saturday evening and performing an hour-long live DJ set for the Red Bull Studios Stage, the results of which were recorded and will be posted on the internet for all to hear sometime in the near future. On all fronts, he is an exceptionally busy man. So how can he find time to crack smiles like this?

Born in Nigeria, Olugbenga moved to England in the late Nineties and, from there, found himself intertwined in music everywhere he went. "I grew up listening to Nigerian music and gospel music. I didn't get into guitar music until I was in my teens, and I moved to England when Britpop was really kind of dying out. Everybody had decided it wasn't very good…I didn't feel like I had to pick a side between Blur and Oasis because I missed that whole thing."

Initially starting out on bass - "I had lessons, like a dweeb" - he moved onto DJing in university, and found himself turning it into a full-part-time commitment when Joe Mount of Metronomy passed offers of DJ sets his way (Mount losing interest in doing them himself). Despite this, Olugbenga doesn't see playing bass and DJing as two clashing lifestyles, and neither takes priority over the other. If anything, the variety between the two are what he finds so interesting.

"Playing with three other people on a stage is very, very different to just travelling by yourself to a club and I play way longer. I DJ for two hours - we've only just started playing for an hour and a half with Metronomy and that's [only] after three and a half years of touring."

That said, the balance between the two is evident once the topic of influences is brought up. From Radiohead and Coldplay - Guy Berryman, he says, is "not the world's most revolutionary bass player, but there's something very melodic about the way he played on their early albums" - through to the likes of Flea from RHCP, Olugbenga happily checks off a number of bass players who are doing more than "just holding [the song] down".

The same goes for DJs and producers, and especially those he name-checks when the conversation turns to the Red Bull Studios stage. A long-time fan of the Red Bull Music Academy's lectures, which he compares to TED Talks, he planted the seed of appearing at RockNess in his agent's mind after watching lectures featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy and Tony Visconti. He rolls off names of acts involved with Red Bull and with whom he's familiar: Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Om Unit, Buraka Som Sistema and GhostPoet.

"Apart from the fact it's a huge corporate sponsor, it's all very musically credible," he said about the Red Bull initiative. "They put a lot of money into giving new producers a chance to have good spaces where they can record in the different cities around the world. You look at all the people who have been involved and it's like: 'wow, fair enough, these are all very good producers you've given assistance to.'"

As he prepares to hop into the car which will drive him up to the Red Bull stage, he becomes oddly humble - like all of this keeping busy, and working with big names, isn't all that. "I've done DJing quite a lot now," he says when asked about how much of a DJ set is simply having a good time. "I'm one of those loser DJs who practices."

He cracks a smile - that amazing, massive grin - and chuckles. He might be a busy man, but Olugbenga knows how to have fun no matter what he does.