Party Ben is a DJ, producer, curator and radio host now based in Seattle, Washington. He is best known for his mashups, remixes, radio shows and eclectic live sets. He stumbled upon viral remix and mashup hits starting in 2001 with a rework of Eminem's "Without Me," and a 2004 Green Day/Oasis combo called "Boulevard of Broken Songs" received airplay around the world. He was named a Top 10 "High Note" of the 2000s in Bay Area music by the San Francisco Chronicle, and two of his mashups (including a famous Snow Patrol/Police blend) were featured in the Razzie-nominated Adam Sandler comedy "Just Go With It." He's credited with helping jump-start the mashup phenomenon in the United States with his "Sixx Mixx" program which ran from from 2002-2006 on Bay Area alternative station LIVE 105 (now ALT 105). He has produced notable remix work as well, with a DJ Shadow remix called "perfect" by DJ Shadow himself, and a remix of Lyrics Born showing up in the movie "Sisters." His DJ career took him around the world, and he was a resident DJ at the Bootie mashup club. Since 2010 he has been a music curator for multiple streaming services, including Slacker Radio (now LiveXLive), Pandora, and Amazon Music.
After moving to San Francisco in the '90s, Nebraksa native Ben Gill began a long career at Bay Area alternative stalwart LIVE 105 as a producer and program host, eventually attaining the position of Imaging Director. One day he realized that the audio editing software he used to make silly station IDs could also be used to mess around with the music. It was also at LIVE 105 that Music Director Aaron Axelsen gave him his embarrassing moniker: as a co-host of LIVE 105's long-running electronic music program Subsonic, Ben would provide news on upcoming raves and events in his weekly "Party Report" which gave Aaron the idea to cheekily refer to him as "Party Ben." It's a terrible name, but it stuck.
Party Ben's blends, bootlegs, audio collages and remixes were gaining nightclub attention and radio spins even before the word "mashup" was invented. In 1999, Party Ben reworked Fatboy Slim's own Rolling Stones-sampling rework "Rockafella Skank" into a local radio and club hit, and a sample-based 2002 remix of Eminem's "Without Me" was a Bay Area phenomenon. Party Ben had been a part of "Subsonic," the station's electronic music program, since the show's inception, but in 2002 Party Ben started his own show to feature his and others' mashups, remixes, goofy covers, newsworthy novelties and whatever else seemed interesting at the time. (Credit for the idea belongs to then program director, Sean Demery, who passed away in 2018.) This half-hour show, airing Fridays at 6pm, was first called The Six Mix but eventually gained two more X's, for no reason, to become The Sixx Mixx. Inspired primarily by Belgian duo 2manydjs and their "Radio Soulwax" compilations as well as the novelty of Doctor Demento and Weird Al, and with an SNL-like nod to current events, the Sixx Mixx was a genre-smashing, fast-paced and topical show, which gained a large drive-time radio audience. The Sixx Mixx also helped to jump-start the Bay Area bastard pop scene, providing local producers like DJ Earworm and international stars like Go Home Productions and Adam Freeland a prime-time audience of hundreds of thousands.
Around this time, Adrian and the Mysterious D approached Party Ben to guest at their new all-mashup club, and a long residency began, with Party Ben DJing through much of the club's first few years and participating in its international expansion.
It was Party Ben's own musical combos for which he has become most well known. His first "hit" came in October 2004 when a Green Day/Oasis/Travis/Eminem hybrid he called “Boulevard of Broken Songs" became an unexpected worldwide phenomenon after its debut on the Sixx Mixx. The mash-up eventually received airplay on hundreds of radio stations around the world, from Tokyo to Cape Town. Green Day's own Billie Joe Armstrong called the mash-up "cool" on MTV News, Rick Dees invited Party Ben on The Weekly Top 40, and the San Francisco Chronicle made Party Ben front-page news. In fact, the mashup was such a phenomenon that it was unofficially credited with helping extend Green Day's run on the top of US rock airplay charts.
Party Ben later joined forces with Australian producer Team9 to produce the mash-up album American Edit under the pseudonym "Dean Gray," combining the Bay Area punk band's album with music from Johnny Cash to Queen. The album became an internet sensation and received a five-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle as well as positive reviews from Spin and the Toronto Star. It also received a "cease and desist" order from Warner Brothers Records within 10 days of its free internet release. Team9 and Party Ben pulled the files from the Dean Gray web site, but in an act of defiance, fans worldwide posted the mp3s on a day of coordinated disobediance (modeled after a similar earlier action in support of Danger Mouse's "Grey Album").
Many more of Party Ben's unofficial musical creations found unlikely audiences in the "pre-YouTube" era. A 2005 combo of Tegan & Sara with Mylo ended up on legendary Seattle dance station C89.5's Top 5 most played songs of that year, and a 2006 blend of The Chemical Brothers' "Galvanize" with John Williams' theme from "The Empire Strikes Back" was a hit among Star Wars fans worldwide. A combination of Snow Patrol and The Police called “Every Car You Chase” initially gained popularity in Ireland, with Dublin's 2fm calling it “probably the biggest hit in the country” in April of 2007. Another blend of General Public and Rihanna called "Tender Umbrella" got props from Dave Wakeling himself, and a cheeky mix of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" over the theme from the Andy Griffith Show grabbed media attention. Over this period, he was asked to create guest mixes for radio stations around the world including Radio Bis Warsaw, XFM London, Fritz 102.6 Berlin, Pure FM Belgium, Oui FM Paris, Indie 103.1 Los Angeles, 91X/San Diego, and Sirius Sattelite Radio.
In 2010, comedian Adam Sandler heard "Every Car You Chase" and tracked Party Ben down, hoping to feature it in his next movie. Eventually, both "Every Car" and "Tender Umbrella" appeared in the 2011 comedy "Just Go With It." Both mashups were licensed for the film, gaining rights from the artists and songwriters involved, making it the first time mashups had been officially used in a major motion picture. With access to the original instrumental and vocal tracks, the mashups were recreated in high quality for the film. A full album release of mashup featured in the movie (which also included DJ Zebra) was planned, but various issues prevented this from happening, so those new versions are not available commercially.
Since 2010 or so, Party Ben has focused more on remixes, producing versions of tracks by Martin Solveig, M.I.A., and Bay Area artists like The Limousines, Kreayshawn and Geographer. A remix of DJ Shadow's "Scale It Back" was picked up for promotional distribution by Island Records and placed third in a Soundcloud-sponsored remix contest, and a version of "We Are Young" by Fun. became a Hype Machine hit. A remix of Lyrics Born's "Coulda Woulda Shoulda" was included on a remix EP available on iTunes via Decon and is featured in the movie "Sisters."
From 2006 to 2009, Party Ben was a music and culture writer for San Francisco magainze The Mother Jones' arts and culture blog "The Riff." He was a contributor to San Francisco radio station 99.7 Now's legendary House Nation in the early 2010s. In 2012 he began a career in streaming, starting at San Diego based Slacker Radio (now LiveXLive), eventually moving to Pandora and most recently Amazon Music. He has released multiple tracks with Phoenix-based Mykill, a long time DJ and production partner.