Born and raised in Chicago, COFRESI pushes the boundaries of production and live electronic performance. Whether it’s his creative approach to rhythms and percussion or his energetic live sets, COFRESI never ceases to impress and captivate his audience. Since making his official release debut in 2017, he has gone on to perform his unique live/electronic hybrid set at a myriad of globally-renowned festivals. We had a chance to chat with COFRESI, and ask him about his new single, upcoming releases, and plans for the future!
Hey Cofresi, welcome to CelebMix! Could you introduce yourself? What are some of your most important releases so far?
What up! My name is Ben and I am a Chicago native that is known for my hybrid drum/DJ/producer project COFRESI.
Looking back, the most important release I ever had was my Mr. Sandman flip. The song did well, but the performance video really got lot of exposure and traction for the project at the time. It hit over a million views on Facebook within 2 weeks and for the first time, people got a proper presentation of my live drum/mpc/ableton setup.
The most important release to me on a personal level was my first collab with Matisyahu & Kind Dyce called “Daylight”. It was my first project working with a higher level artist and someone I had listened to and looked up to in my youth.
Speaking of the future, I can confidently say that these upcoming releases will be my most impactful and important ones to date!
Last month, you dropped “I’M NOT,” the lead single from your upcoming EP. Can you tell us more about this release? What inspired you to write and record it?
I started making this song after seeing Polo & Pan perform at Radius in Chicago. My appreciation for dance music had grown at the time after attending an Elrow show at the same venue a month prior; and I was inspired by their energy and musicality. I basically took that inspiration, went with it the next day and this song was born.
I’m super proud with how I’m Not turned out and I’m glad it’s the first single we decided to release from Agenda. It captures a melodic downtempo vibe coupled with intricate percussion and memorable vocal elements. It’s the first taste people got from the upcoming EP and it acts as perfect bridge between past releases and what’s to come!
What can we expect from your forthcoming AGENDA EP? Are there any tracks on the project that you’re particularly proud of?
This EP is my first deep dive into house music and you can expect a refreshing blend of my signature style of production infused with more danceable elements. I put a lot of love and experience into the sound design, structure, and flow of these tracks. As a result, they each have their own sense of depth and individuality while also working together cohesively as a collective project.
All of the tracks aside from I’m Not sit between 120 & 126 BPM range. My personal favorites are the opening track “Follow”with it’s nostalgic 90’s feel, “Agenda” because of the percussive drops and “Make U” since it’s my first collab with the talented Jason Leech!
How would you describe your sound?
In a few words… genre bending, melodic, organic, percussive, soulful, cheeky, refreshing & eclectic. I love to mix things up and surprise listeners with sounds, elements & vibes they’ve never experienced before.
On stage, you integrate live musical elements into a digital soundscape – where does that come from? What inspires you to create such a unique approach?
Coming from a live band background, as soon as I got into DJing and music production, I wanted to integrate live instruments in some form. In my case, drums and MPC performance pads like the launchpad & Ableton push made the most sense. I integrated these elements into my production process early on and as a result it came natural to add them as a part of my live show.
Currently, I use a blend of live percussion with digital pads or all digital pads depending on the gig. The drum element along with my Ableton Push allows me to add a layer of live rhythm and live sample launching that people can see and feel on a deeper level in comparison to a CDJ performance.
What is your process when you get in the studio?
Before I step into the studio or a production session, I always try to be in the right mind state. I’ll either work on ideas, finish tracks, start new ones, create new sounds or work on videos/content. These days, I’m juggling a lot of projects at once, so I either have multiple sessions in a day or I’ll hop between different modes in one session. It’s all relative to what’s going on at the time.
My process and overall workflow has become a lot more fluid over the past few years. However, over the past 6/7 months, I’ve become the most consistent, fluid and creative with Ableton than ever before. I’m really excited to keep creating and evolving in the studio.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Fred Again, Luude, 6lack, Big G, Inzo & Camilla Cabello to name some.
What other passions do you have other than making music?
I’m one of those people with a lot of hobbies and “side passions”. Definitely a skater art heart and I always keep up on skate news, videos and contests. Unfortunately, I broke my femoral hip skating 2 years ago and ended up getting deep into finger boarding since I couldn’t skate with my legs. I got super into it and now have multiple skateparks around my condo lol.
In addition to skating, I really appreciate modern gaming and mess around with my SteamDeck or VR from time to tie. Game design is a similar process to music production, but on a whole different level. I truly appreciate the art and passion that goes into it.
Other than that, you can catch me messing with my model trains, planes, RC’s, paddleboard, kayaks, cooking, hangin with friends, drumming or watching random short docs on YouTube!