Andrew Benjamin, known by his stage name Benjamin, was hard at work in late 2014 recording his ‘The Guardian Angel EP’ here at VMS. We talked to him about his music and what to expect from this new recording project. Click through to read the article from the December Newsletter and to listen to 'The Guardian Angel EP'! <!--break-->
What is the nature of your project?
The project I'm working on is a 6-track EP!
How would you describe your music? Who are some of your influences?
The Guardian Angel EP draws from many different influences and encases anything from slow solemn acoustic melodies to stuck-in-your-head all day hip/hop. The two artists that have had the greatest impact on my music are Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper. Both artists have a sound and charisma so different from anyone else on the market that it's almost impossible for me to go a day without listening to a few of their joints.
What sorts of instrumentation are you using on this project?
There is a variety of instrumentation on TGAEP, it ranges from live piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and drums to professionally programmed logic sounds such as bells, pads, and synths.
Describe your songwriting process
My songwriting process varies with what I'm creating. If I'm making a simple acoustic track I'll figure out the sound I'm going for, create the melody, and write the hook to give me a feel of where I want to go with the verses. If I'm producing a song from scratch, I typically find a song that inspires me, draw ideas from it, and begin producing through Propellerhead's program - Reason. After a rough draft of the production is created, I ask myself how the beat makes me feel and begin writing through those emotions, simultaneously adding more to the production.
When did you first start making music?
The first guitar I received was given to me when I was 7, but it collected dust until I decided to really start learning when I turned 11. After I turned 13 I began posting covers of me playing and singing popular songs on Youtube. It wasn't until I took 2nd place in a singing competition my sophomore year of high school that I began writing my own songs.
What is your favorite part of the recording process?
I love the whole process, but what I love most is being with others while creating. Writing music as a solo artist can be a very lonely process, and it's nice to bring it to an environment where ideas can be bounced around the room.
Where do you typically perform live? Any shows coming up?
I have played many open mics over the past couple years while the process of releasing a professional project has been underway. Although I do not have any show dates to announce currently, I recently joined forces with a drummer and plan to begin booking shows shortly after TGAEP is released on 12/22.
When do you hope to release this? Where will your fans be able to get it?
I plan to release TGAEP for free download through band camp, on 12/22/14.