Photography by Daisy Fromkin and Olivier Zahm
Videography by Chromodyne
Ben Anderson sits down across from me at the table, and runs his hand through his short hair that is still growing back from when he shaved his head for his video Clay Pigeon . He smiles slightly, his mouth only tilting up on the right side and raises his clear blue eyes to be level with mine. He sips his coffee and looks expectant.
“I have had the opportunity to listen to songs from your upcoming EP, what can you tell me about your EP – YOUTOPIA, and specifically the song titled Clay Pigeon that caught my ear on first listen”. His whole face lit up in response. “As a song writer you are always looking for cool song titles” Ben begins “A song title needs to be a representation of the meaning of the song and then once you have it, the title will create an image in your head. “Clay Pigeon” is stimulating and in itself tells a story. The metaphor of the target and then the relation of a gun shot, all leading into the social reactions to authoritarianism and the code of the strict obedience that we as a population are expected to follow.” He smiles angelically again and continues, “It’s the value in the corporate world of the value of human life only as it relates to production. How we become nothing but a resource or part of a machine.”
The entire EP of YouTopia is like a series of connected stories, segmented from an over all arc, and reconnected by the genuine sound that He creates in his music. While interviewing Anderson you can feel that who you see is who he truly is. No gimmicks, image working or marketing ploy; just talent and sincerity that is refreshing in this day and age of the manufactured machine of clicks and circles.
I shift my focus from the EP and Videos to ask about his passion and love of music. “Music is something that I always had a natural draw to.” Ben opens his hands palms up as if ready to grasp the concept from the air. “It’s the closest thing to my existential purpose. The passion for writing and performing songs is my main motivation.”
Ben talks about his eclectic musical tastes and admits that some of his best songs have been written while listening to guilty pleasure songs. An example would be “No Clouds in the Sky” “may” have been written while under the influence of R. Kelly’s “Ignition Remix”, but that’s just a rumor. I would classify Ben as a true songwriting chameleon with a solid respect for all types of music.
Ben shares an embarrassing memory from a performance in Old Town Scottsdale while singing “Sweet Caroline”, a bachelorette party came over to him and tried to take his shirt off, the show had to go on while the bouncers wrangled the sobriety challenged Ben Anderson fan club out of the bar.
“Music is a complicated business, everyone path is different. But the need to work hard, research and network stays the same. Musicians stay relevant by creating and maintaining a balance of staying true to you and feeding the desires of the market. Most of all don’t let your pride get in the way of growth.”
The last thought Anderson would like the world to know? “Love is the answer.” and this writer happens to agree.
Can’t wait for the EP Release on November 2nd? Check out this sneak peek of the video for the song LukeWarm.
Can’t wait for the EP? Click link to order Ben Anderson Debut Album
Special thank you to Olivier Zahm of Chromodyne for making all the parts of the machine work properly.