Making music is like alchemy; it turns nothing into something, turning feelings into notes. Benjamin David, a musician with a Midas touch who plays many instruments, has perfected this transformational talent.
Benjamin has risen to prominence in modern music thanks to his unique style, which can be heard at illustrious places around the country and has left his imprint on a slew of albums and songs.
Proud to call himself a Brit School graduate, Benjamin says that his education paved the way for him to work with Grammy-winning producers thanks to his ability to seamlessly combine musical styles. He is still very much an outsider, going his own way in the music industry.
Benjamin David is now on the rise, thanks to his unique blend of musical genres and honest, heartfelt lyricism. Try to picture the emotional depth of D’Angelo’s “Voodoo” fused with the insurgent ferocity of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bombtrack.”
The indie punk/trap sound that Benjamin has developed from these disparate musical influences combines the energy of punk rock with the lyrical sophistication of hip-hop and the screaming ferocity of heavy metal.
The success of his latest album, “Sandcastles,” attests to his transforming powers. The sophisticated piano ballad, produced by Grammy winner Kipper, transforms into a thundering rock chorus, showcasing Benjamin’s formidable musical skills.
The protagonist of “Sandcastles” embarks on an introspective trip through the landscapes of sadness and nostalgia, only to arrive at the unsettling conclusion that running away from life’s harsh truths becomes more difficult as one gets older.
This mood is also conveyed aesthetically in the music video, which was filmed in and around London and the Dover Cliffs. Cathartic release that gives expression to his primal feelings, beginning with Benjamin sitting alone on a park bench and developing into a full-band performance on the beach.
Benjamin’s late father was the driving force for the creation of this touching picture. Benjamin David’s music has a genuine and honest ring to it because he explores such profoundly intimate feelings.
As his audience, we are given the opportunity to feel genuine emotion, including love and loss, as well as the transformational power of music. Benjamin David, like an alchemist, is making us all wealthy by transforming base metals into precious ones.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I tend to gravitate towards shapeshifters and non-conformers. Some of my favourites are David Bowie, Prince, Kendrick Lamar, Björk, Dorian Electra, Kate Bush and Little Simz.
What inspired you to write Sandcastles?
I wrote Sandcastles soon after my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Each verse was a different fantasy world to which I could escape in order to avoid the sadness I was experiencing in the real world. I was running from the inevitability of having to one day say goodbye to someone I love.
What message do you hope to convey through your music?
I hope the message is to be confident in the parts of you that are unusual. I think there’s beauty in difference. I’ve never really felt like I fit in. Whether it’s gender expression, music genre, cultural interests etc.
I’ve never felt like I have a tribe, I’ve always just done my own thing. My songs themselves are like weird fragments that don’t make sense in isolation but mean something when put together.
I like to use my music to build worlds and those worlds are a distorted reflection of ours. I like to hold a cracked mirror up to myself and to society. I like to smash the mirror up and rearrange the shards.
What was the most challenging aspect of recording “Sandcastles”?
Interestingly, “Sandcastles” was one of those rare songs that came together naturally. The track spoke for itself so it didn’t need much production. Even writing the lyrics had a mystical edge.
I can remember scribbling a bunch of stanzas that started with “build me a castle that’s made out of…” whenever one came to me. I didn’t even realise I’d written a song until I read them all back and arranged them with the music.
What has been your favourite moment or experience as a musician so far?
Collaborating with Grammy-winning producer Kipper on my album was an incredible experience and a huge learning curve for me.
In the studio, he was always full of warmth with a drive and energy like I’d never seen before. It pushed me to push myself and nothing will ever beat the feeling of hearing the mixes back for the first time.
How do you balance your personal life with your music career?
Like a tightrope walker who’s one misstep away from hurtling down into the depths of Niagara Falls.
How do you handle negative criticism or feedback on your music?
I think we have to strive to be as objective as possible and try to separate ourselves from the work we make. It’s one of the hardest things to do as an artist because our music feels like a part of us. Kipper was positive but honest with feedback.
I always tried to take it in the spirit of collaboration because I trusted that he had the project’s best interest at heart. I took on what he had to say and it always resulted in better music.
That said, in the past, I’ve definitely listened to the advice I shouldn’t have. The stronger I have become in knowing who I am, the more I’ve been able to sort good feedback from bad. I try to stay secure in my vision and stay wary of people who project their own vision onto my music.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to make it in the industry?
I think we all need to find our definition of “making it” because it looks different to everyone. We need to set a mission statement. I want to build my career around my art, not the other way around.
I want to be unrestrained by any notion of what I ‘should’ be doing. The search for ‘things-that-go-together-but-really-shouldn’t’ is what keeps me enthusiastic about being an artist and so I want to build a career that has that idea at its core.