OH CANADA…BEN G. HAS ARRIVED!
Photos by Annie Thomas of Wreckless Crew Productions & Al Desrochers of Snap Magazine
Many times people see the name of our publication and think that we are simply a local publication only highlighting local talent. We do make a concerted effort to put the spot light on our home grown talent pool but make no mistake about it; we are a world wide publication. We work very hard to help up-n-coming talent receive maximum exposure and it’s rewarding to us when we see talent that we've featured in the past reach their goals and achieve success. It is artist like the young man that I’m about to re-introduce you to that is helping to spread our name in those other areas to help broaden our base of exposure which directly benefits everyone feature in our magazine. We featured this young man back in 09’ and since then he has been working very hard to push is career to the next level and has been very successful in doing so. We felt that his accomplishments will help to inspire others who are striving for the same goal and to see that hard work DOES pay off. He has a new team and new album out and we wanted to catch up with him to find out more about what he’s been up to. He’s taking Canada by storm and has his eye on a US invasion in the not so distance future. It is my pleasure to re-introduce everyone to the artist that dubs his music as “Euro-trash meets Alternative Rock”, Mr. Ben G.
Welcome back Ben G. How have you been?
[BEN G.] I’ve been great thank you.
Well you know we had to bring you back Ben G. because since your July 09’ feature in our publication, you’ve been making some BIG moves over in Canada! Did that feature influence any of those moves you made?
[BEN G.] Things started moving very quickly after the July 09 feature. Having support from a U.S. based magazine is a big deal for a Canadian artist/group. When people saw the Nine5Four feature on my page/press kit as well as in print it turned heads. I got a lot of feedback! It helped me make a strong case when shopping my music and I ended up with a recording contract 2 months later.
That’s awesome! Tell me about the record label that picked you up and how that unfolded.
[BEN G.] I was completely unsigned for the 2 yrs of promotion for my EP. My friend Blu Velvette and I ran things like a mini label. During the end of the promotion I gained a recording contract with FACTOR to create “Stories I Tell”. I had support in the application process from Joni Daniels and Christine Carson.
FACTOR isn’t a record label; it’s an organization that supports the arts in Canada. But the opportunities they have provided are similar to a development deal from a label, and I’m free to upstream when the time comes. They provided funding for the album and the upcoming promo campaign for the next single. I’m very blessed to have involvement from FACTOR, and I want to do right by them and make things go as far as possible.
I’ve partnered with two companies on a few projects to support the album. Wreckless Crew have been taking care of organizing and producing videos, live events, and working with me on photography. They brought about the exclusive shoot for this article.
Digital Underdog Productions (Dave Thompson (who produced the album)/Geoff Kent) are in charge of directing the music side of things they are taking on management and promotional roles since my business partner Blu retired.
How does it feel to finally have this kind of support behind you now?
[BEN G.] It feels very good to have involvement from outside companies and people who have a vested interest in me. Things are already moving more steadily and some great opportunities are popping up all over.
Let’s jump right into your latest album release entitled “Stories I Tell”. What inspired this collection of songs and the title of the album?
[BEN G.] The album has a wider range of emotions then the E.P. Everything that happened in the last 2 years is well documented in the songs on the album, everything from getting away from problems through music, to long distance love. There are even a couple of pop/rock songs that are just fun.
Talk a little about your producer for the album and were all of the instrumentals performed by you?
[BEN G.] Dave Thompson produced the album, he was also the band. He played and co-wrote. I came to him with some songs and song ideas on the guitar. I play rhythm guitar for live shows, usually with a band. But at the end of the day my guitar playing is like a ford tempo compared to Dave being more like a Corvette… I really don’t know anyone who could out play him. He’s in the top percentage, so of course that’s what you GOTTA hear on an album.
What type of response have you received thus far about the new album?
[BEN G.] It’s been extremely positive; it seems like it’s what people have been wanting. So many bands and artists make ‘get down music’ about how great it is to have everyone looking at them when they hit the clubs… a Jersey Shore scenario 24/7. It’s valid and fun to a degree, but not all the time. I wanted to make music that was relevant to me and everyone else not represented in a lot of today’s music. I think a lot of listeners feel left out, but there is a song on this CD for everyone so check it out!
I have listened to the album several times (thank you for providing me with the download) and although the music is very good, it is your voice that stands out profoundly. It’s very smooth over the tracks and blends effortlessly. Has anyone else given you that type of feedback about your vocals?
[BEN G.] The feedback on the vocal front has been ultra positive; I’m surprised because to me it’s the songs that are really special. I’m glad I could serve the music and be a good conduit for emotions on this record.
Now, “Getaway” is your first single off the album and you also have a video for the song (very nice concept for the video). Why did you choose this track to be the first single and who produced the video?
[BEN G.] ‘Getaway’ was the first song I wrote for the album. I played it at a couple of acoustic shows before I showed it to Dave. My friend Sean G from the band Motion Grove commented that it was really different and better then the songs on my EP. A lot of people favored it from that moment on. Dave wrote additional song parts, and re-arranged things in the studio. The production is VERY fresh and ultra-contemporary which really enhances the message of the song. The theme is transcending things and moving on instead of staying in the same place your whole life. I thought it was a fitting first single to really show everyone what this album is about.
The video was produced by Wreckless Crew, there are two versions… well actually 3. My friend Danielle Pilon (the actress in the video) went all over Ontario with me for the shoot. She’s awesome, and very dedicated. The version of the video on my Youtube/MySpace is the one we are sending to AUX TV in Canada.
Frank and I made that cut. I’m very happy with it; I absolutely stand by Wreckless Crew and the quality of its productions. Frank also directed the video. He wanted to bring my storyboards to life in the best way possible. I’m proud to work with Frank and call him one of my closest friends.
I understand you are already planning to release your next song and video. Can you tell us which song it will be and why…or is it top secret?
[BEN G.] It’s not top secret lol, it’s being figured out. Geoff Kent is making the call on the 3rd single, which will be the first properly executed Radio campaign. The video is probably going to be for the same song… maybe not. We were really looking at ‘Light My Way’ as the 2nd video. We are figuring that out in the next 2 months.
Dare I even ask which song off the album is your favorite?
[BEN G.] That would be ‘Circles’ hands down, it’s a great driving song.
You told me that you were involved in some important talks regarding possible tour/performances dates in the works. Anything you would like to report to us at this time?
[BEN G.] It’s not what you think. All I can say is I’m set to wear a very different hat over the next 2 months and I will be all over Canada. Stayed tuned on facebook.com/bengmusic for more!
It seems as though you and your new team have all of your ducks in a row. What else do you have planned to help promote this album?
[BEN G.] We are planning to do lots of acoustic gigs early this summer and there are tentative plans for a tour with a band…hopefully for next fall. I also may join my dad’s band on a few shows as they play a lot of festivals. I am looking forward to hitting the road with my own band though, cannot wait for that to happen.
Where can the readers and music lovers go to get your music and to follow your promising career?
[BEN G.] Wrecklesscrew.com has my CD available for purchase, but the easiest place for music lovers in America to grab my stuff is right off iTunes. To follow me, check out www.bengmusic.net as it has links to all those social networky type pages.
Finally, I remember that you are also an accomplished photographer as well. Not too long ago your cities top production company (Wreckless Crew Productions) brought you on board. How did this come about and how has your experience working with them thus far has been.
[BEN G.] After working with Wreckless Crew on my music videos and events, Frank brought me onboard as a photographer. Things took off and the deal made me the top choice for Hip Hop artists locally. I’ve had a blast shooting some larger than life characters.
It was a great pleasure bringing you back and finding out about all of the success you’ve achieved since our first meeting. Its artist like you that lets us know that we are doing the right thing for up-n-coming talent everywhere. Thank you for your continued support and we will continue to do the same for you. Please share with us your closing remarks.
[BEN G.] Thank you again for including me in this amazing publication; it’s truly a blessing for me and all the other artists you feature. Having this kind of support makes a huge difference for artists.