2012 was a massive year for the Dutch duo Firebeatz, Jurgio Ratello and Tim Benjamin. Their track with Chocolate Puma, “Just One More Time,” was a big Beatport hit and gained massive support from Pete Tong. A slew of solid remixes, including Pink’s “Blow Me,” has expanded their reach from the underground to the mainstream. With so much going, they were quite in demand during the Amsterdam Dance Event, and I caught up with them for a quick chat.
RS: How did the two of you meet up? Jurgio Ratello: We met at School of Rock in Tilburg.
RS: Were you DJs first or producers? Tim Benjamin: I was a DJ first and played music, and then I started to create the sounds that I played. In the beginning, it was mostly drum and bass/hip-hop stuff. Later on when we met at school, it was more house music and that genre. Jurgio: I started DJing first and was more into the original house sound. That is where we get this unique combination of all different influences.
With the weather turning cold, the timing of “Ay Mama Mia” to inject some Latin heat couldn’t be better. Well-known as a USO spokeswoman and model, Mayra Veonica has been a hitting the dance floor with tracks like “If You Wanna Fly” and “Freak Like Me.” “Ay Mama Mia” is reminiscent of the festive vibe of classic Miami Sound Machine, think “Conga” or “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” updated with a modern sound. A plethora of strong remixes will guarantee club play with diverse sounds from Chocolate Puma (big room with Latin breakdown), Sick Individuals (electro), Robbie Rivera (a horn-led tribal workout), and Razor N Guido (a New York take on swing house). It’s hard to choose a favorite mix, but I find myself favoring Dave Aude’s swing house take which brings in the rhythm line reminiscent of the Paul Johnson classic “Get Get Down” that was used in the original tropical version. The video syncs classic footage of bombshells like Bettie Page and Trudy Wayne to Dave Aude’s mix – which isn’t surprising as Mayra is now the face of Bettie Page clothing. For another visual interpretation, look out for the upcoming IFC feature film “The Songs of the Buena Vista Social Club” which will feature “Ay Mama Mia” as well.