Benny Smiles is an Irish synthwave/retrowave producer based in London. Favouring electronic instruments, vintage synthesisers and drum machines, his most recent work nods to M83, Neon Indian, and Com Truise. Think Stranger Things / Drive / Hotline Miami soundtracks and you’re most of the way there.
“When We Touch” marks Benny's fourth release, and is the first single from his forthcoming “Fearless Leadership” EP. It follows the "Hotline Miami 2 EP”, which is featured in the cult video game Hotline Miami 2 and in Spotify’s Retrowave / Outrun editorial playlist, both of which have helped to garner an international audience and more than 5 million streams of the EP across various platforms.
Benny’s latest material follows a period of focus on his work in studio engineering, building his knowledge of old school recording techniques and equipment in some legendary recording studios, and learning first hand from some of the world’s most renowned record producers, songwriters, and artists. Having cultivated a collection of vintage analogue synthesisers and audio processors along the way, he now returns with a newfound appreciation for sonics, analogue imperfection, and the soul that lives in electronic instruments.
Prompted by the tongue-in-cheek artwork, the most pressing question about the Fearless Leadership EP thus far has been “is your face really that small?” And the answer is... it could be.
Benny Smiles has supported artists including London Grammar and Ghostpoet, and performed at festivals including Electric Picnic, Indiependence, Castlepalooza, and Ireland Music Week.
INDUBLIN.IE: “First [at Hard Working Class Heroes festival], to the Workman’s Club for one-man electro wonder machine Benny Smiles. Infectiously upbeat loops, guitar, and Bowie-esque vocals, with the occasional healthy dose of slap bass was warmly met by the crowd. Yet it was Smiles’ stage presence that really endeared him to those present. Informing us early in the set he had foolishly taken a valium to help fight off a flu; if he is this good when sick and under the influence you can only image how good he is when on top form. A definite highlight of the festival, how this guy isn’t already huge is a mystery.”
GOLDENPLEC: “[Somehow Yours Do] is a beauty of a track with hypnotising synths and a captivating video”
NIALLER9: “Benny Smiles has given me one of my favourite tracks of the last month already with ‘Sunday Morning’”
PUFFERFISH: “Playful, fun, fucking awesome… Benny Smiles is making funky electronic music that you can really enjoy. And we mean really enjoy.”
CHASSEUR MAGAZINE: “Benny is by far the most charming, energetic, addictive, unique and pleasurable acts of the [Hard Working Class Heroes] festival so far. He asks everyone to take “seven steps forward” and then proceeds to move and shake across the stage, never missing a note. The audience are in the palm of his hand throughout, truly captivated by his inescapable talent, showing many of the bands how it is done. Industry execs must be salivating at the prospects he presents.”
HOTPRESS: “‘Moonlight’ featuring Ham Sandwich’s Niamh Farrell is radio-friendly whimsy at its finest. Known to his postman as Ross Fortune, this shapeshifting musicmaker has covered a whole lot of musical ground…barely stepping a foot wrong”
GOLDENPLEC: “With [Sunshine / Moonlight] Benny Smiles shows that he is a diverse and talented artist. His willingness to use different instrumentation and sounds results in tracks that are varied and unique and aurally tantalizing. It is solid proof that he doesn’t have to rely on novelty to grab an audience’s attention.”
AOIFE MC RTÉ 2XM: “[‘Sunday Morning’ is] definitely, definitely my favourite of the whole podcast [Nialler9 Podcast 39]…it’s so much fun!”