Gaining a series of awards, including 12 Gold Discs and the coveted Ampex Gold Reel Award, Mike Bennett has written produced and remixed a diverse range of artists, including Ian Brown, The Stranglers, Gregory Isaacs, The Specials, The Selecter, Hazel O’Connor, Wishbone Ash, Emerson Lake and Palmer, BMX Bandits, Bad Manners and The Fall, of whom he was also a group member.
After working with many independent artists Mike’s first break came when he was asked to write and produce Toyah’s ‘Dreamchild’ album which was released on the Pinnacle- based Cryptic Records and featured collaborations with the acclaimed Utah Saints.
It wasn’t long before Mike was expanding his repertoire by co-writing and producing albums for the legendary Frank Zappa/John Lennon cohort Kim Fowley. The albums around this period include ‘Let the Madness In’ (Receiver Records) and ‘Trip of a Lifetim’e (Universal). The latter featured a string of guest stars including Roni Size, William Orbit and Teenage Fan Club to name a few. Mike went on to produce Kim Fowley and the BMX Bandits Receiver Records Album ‘Hidden Agenda at the Thirteenth Note’. Mike also co-wrote and produced tracks with Fowley for the BMX Bandits album ‘Theme Park’ (Creation Records).
Hell bent on pushing the creative envelope into an even more leftfield direction Mike went on to produce and co-write several albums for celebrated Manchester group The Fall. These offerings include ‘Cerebral Caustic’ (Permanent Records), ‘The Light User Syndrome’ (Jet Records) and the Number One Indie single, ‘The Chistlers’ (Jet Records) in which Mike is heard duetting with Fall frontman Mark E. Smith.
Mike’s next project was for ex-Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown for whom he co-wrote the smash hit single ‘Golden Gaze’ (Polydor).
Other albums Mike co-wrote and produced around this period include the Wishbone Ash albums ‘Trance Visionary’ (Universal), ‘Psychic Terrorism’ (Universal) and Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Big Night’ (Universal) and Frankie Howerd’s ‘Get Your Titters Out’ (Tring) for which he was both lyricist and composer. He then went on to produce the ‘Clubbed to Death’ album for The Stranglers (Universal).
Whilst working as an in-house producer for Trojan Records Mike produced and re-mixed many leading artists including Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekkar, Gregory Isaacs and Bob Marley for whom he re-worked ‘Soul Shakedown Party’, ‘Mr Brown’, ‘One Love’ and ‘Concrete Jungle’ for the reputed Trojan Jungle series. Other remixes during this period include ‘Too Much Too Young’ by The Specials, ‘A Train to Skaville’ by The Selecter and ‘Double Barrel’ by Dave and Ansel Collins.
Mike’s obsession with beats, pulses and street rhythms was soon to take him into the ever-experimental world of drum and bass. This resulted in a prolific period where Mike and his newly-formed team of DJs produced 27 consecutive albums including massive sellers such as ‘Drum and Bass Mania’ (Demon), ‘Drum and Bass Frenzy’ (Demon), ‘The Jungle Collection’ (QED), ‘Drum and Bass Invasion’ (Universal) and the acclaimed ‘Junglist Jazz Collection’ (Intrinsic/Pinnacle).
This deluge of quick-fire releases caught the attention of Seventies’ stalwarts and stadium-fillers Emerson Lake and Palmer who commissioned Mike to produce the triple album ‘Reworks/Brain Salad Perjury’ (Universal) which was subsequently performed in part at the Royal Festival Hall to commemorate the album’s release. Highlights from this eclectic set include a notable re-working of the band’s worldwide smash ‘Fanfare to the Common Man’.
Mike is currently in partnership with ex-Prodigy collaborator and engineer Angus Wallace of Far Heath Studios. Together they are developing a series of exciting new projects that embrace genres from M.O.R. through to industrial thrash metal, including an album by Welsh trio The Hush. They are also working with one of Mike’s favourite female vocalists of all time Diane Charlemagne of Moby, Goldie and Urban Cookie Collective fame.
After years of mixing live performances with loops, beats and breaks Mike is currently enjoying creating music derived from live instrumentation in a strictly organic environment. However, he reserves the right to change direction at any given moment!
Click the images below to hear some of Mike's work...
Check out Mike's West End Musical.... Click the image: