There is a wide range of Organic House, Down Tempo and Electronica artists, many of whom deliver fantastic work. However, hardly anyone manages such an exciting balancing act between the genres and such a soulfully cinematic output as BEN & VINCENT. The German-based artist not only has a wide repertoire of productions to carry you away but an equally exciting life story and path to music. We talked to the artist – behind whose name one actually suspects a duo.
So, let’s take a deep breath together from the material of BEN & VINCENT and let ourselves be carried away.
Connect with Ben & Vincent on Instagram | Spotify | Website | Soundcloud
Hey Ben, great to have you here with us at Tanzgemeinschaft. How are you doing?
I’m doing well thank you. I have been fortunate enough to escape European winter this year and spend some time in Capetown.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey so far. What made you want to be involved in the industry, and what are some of the key moments that gave you the passion to be an organic house producer and DJ?
I was born in Iran and my mom is an Iranian and Assyrian folk singer. I grew up listening to a lot of music from that region which today can be heard in a lot of my tunes. In addition, we have always had a lot of family friends around our home that were artists… writers, painters and musicians. Very interesting personalities who all influenced an inner drive of creativity in me.
As for electronic music, I remember hearing Be Svendsen music for the first time a few years back. I had never heard someone take a variety of musical influences that I’ve always felt drawn to from cinema, the middle east or older nostalgic tunes and bring them into such an interesting balance with electronic music. This definitely sparked my interest to explore music productions myself.
Years later I was fortunate to connect with him and have some interesting discussions about music, the creative process, the industry etc. which really helped me get started. I still believe that Be Svendsen is an old soul from a past time that time travelled here to share his musical imagination with the world.
What’s one piece of advice you can give to other aspiring producers?
Limit yourself. There will often be a feeling that something is missing in a tune. Especially in the beginning there is this impulse to fix that by adding new stuff. Buying new hardware, new software, new plugins, adding more sounds until the tracks start to get way too crowded.
For me the game changer in production was actually quite the opposite. Limiting myself to only using few tools and sounds. Try to create a groove and mood with only a handful of elements. Get really good at using your DAWs stock plugins before buying new plugins. To me some of the best producers out there are able to create captivating songs with a handful of elements while putting lots of dedication to each individual ingredient.
For you, what are some of the ingredients to a track that stands out from the crowd?
To me the magic can come from different ingredients … can be in a vocal, a melody, a harmony, a rhythm … something that is just quite captivating and unique and creates an interesting emotion, draws your attention and pulls you in.
If you listen to Danny Elfman movie scores for example a lot of the magic is in the chord progressions and selection of sounds which creates this mysterious, otherworldly Tim Burton movie mood. If you like to listen to Chopin a lot of the magic comes from these interesting and playful chromatic melody variations.
Now if you listen to some uplifting middle Eastern tunes you will often find something very unique in the rhythms and percussions. So essentially the magic can really come from a lot of different places and it’s something that’s really fun and interesting to explore.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the electronic music community now?
I believe one of the forever challenges not only in electronic music but also in all arts is that there is this huge focus and push for commercially successful pieces. There is this high demand for high-energy, mainstream, simple and flashy movies or music etc. that is entertaining and easy to digest.
More and more people are losing the patience to sit through a long, complex movie or listen to an 8-minute music track with lots of depth. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach people with art that has a bit more depth and meaning to it.
However I chose to always create music that has meaning and depth to it. You will for sure reach fewer people compared to just dropping 1:30 long Radio mainstream tracks but the people you reach, you will touch on a much deeper emotional level. That’s a fair trade-off to me.
What is your current studio setup?
For hardware, I use a Yamaha P-515 stage piano and a sequential take 5 synth. I have not walked down the rabbit hole of owning a lot of hardware synths yet and am relying on a lot of software instruments and synths. Since I use a lot of organic instruments in my tracks I also work with talented, real musicians who do original recordings for my tracks.
Do you have any specific bits of gear or software that you find yourself returning to time after time?
As in gear I really love my Yamaha P-515 stage piano. I grew up playing keys so this is what I use the most to come up with new harmonies, melodies and improvisations.
Can we expect more music from you this year?
Yes, I look forward to releasing new music this year and collaborating with some amazing labels. There will be some new tunes including an EP on cosmic awakenings which has become one of my favourite labels for meaningful and groovy downtempo music.
Also, there are EPs planned on Desert Hut, Yulunga which is Valerons new label and some tracks that I will release on my own label.
Releases on my own label will include a new tune I created with an amazing folk/jazz combo from Portugal called G combo. I have always loved the honesty and playfulness of street music and am super excited about this collaboration.
Finally, please can you recommend one piece of music that has especially resonated with you in the last few months…
I recently rediscovered an amazing theme song from the Korean movie Old Boy. The song is called The Last Waltz by Cho Young-Wok and has a beautiful mood to it.