Interview by Kieran Webber
The Australian artist based out of Wollongong, NSW first caught our attention with the breezy single ‘Clutching At Shadows’. It was a fantastic fusion of indie-pop, soul and funk, creating a groovy and enjoyable sound. This is something felt throughout all of Benjamino‘s music, including the latest release ‘Paradise Is Here’.
Benjamino‘s music has a certain charm to it, it’s hard not to be swayed by his soft vocals and eclectic mix of sounds. Although he is a relatively new artist he is releasing music that far outclasses his peers. He truly is one of Australia’s hidden gems, for now.
With this in mind we wanted to have a chat with the artist before he blows up. We chatted about how he got into music, his influence and much more!
Kieran: First off, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! How have you been and how have you been keeping occupied during this strange period?
Benjamino: Thanks for having me! Going into lockdown and working from home gifted me a lot more time to work on my music, so I was lucky enough to take some positives out of it. Most of my debut EP has been recorded and mixed during the course of the pandemic, so it was great to have that creative pursuit to keep my mind ticking over.
Kieran: Who or what got you into music and at what point did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Benjamino: First and foremost, it would be my school music teaching and my piano tutor, they both strongly encouraged my enthusiasm for music and gave me a lot of opportunities to perform. I was about 14/15 when I realised I wanted to be a musician, I had been so passionate about music all my life and was learning 3 instruments at the time, so it was a pretty obvious choice when I look back it.
Kieran: When writing your songs where do you take influence?
Benjamino: I try really hard to make my song topics/themes to be as original as possible and to be centred around things that aren’t often written about. Some of my favourite experiences with hearing a new song is when I learn something new, and that can’t be done if you hear the same type of songs all day, so that what’s I strive for as a writer. I take a lot of influence from human ambition, sometimes historical events and even biographical songs.
Kieran: If you could collab with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be?
Benjamino: Damon Albarn probably, just because of the breadth of music he’s written. No genre is off limits and whatever he comes up with you know it’ll be interesting.
Kieran: How has the pandemic affected you as an artist?
Benjamino: The biggest effect on me was playing live, I had a lot of gigs booked with a variety of acts and they were all cancelled. It came at a rather frustrating time as I was on a roll with playing Benjamino shows, but I was also very lucky because I got to play two shows on the last weekend before lockdown.
Kieran: Have you found that the extra time during lockdown has made you more creative or less?
Benjamino: Yeah definitely more creative, I’ve had nothing but time so it was the perfect excuse to try out some spacey synth sounds or use different samples on my tracks.
Kieran: Did you learn anything new during this time?
Benjamino: I have learnt a lot about mixing and production, I now feel so much more confident when it comes to that stage in producing a song. Outside of music though, my partner and I also learnt how to grow our own vegetables which has been great!
Kieran: Your music has a lot of different sounds, ranging from soul, jazz, funk and indie pop but are there any particular artists that have directly influenced your music?
Benjamino: That wide range of sounds in my songs comes from a wide range influences, but the most direct influences are Father John Misty, anything Alex Turner does, Billy Joel and more recently artists like Rex Orange County, Matt Corby and Holy Holy.
Listen to ‘Paradise Is Here’ here:
Kieran: Outside of music do you have any other creative outlets?
Benjamino: I’m a huge sport and history fan so outside of music I’m often thinking/watching/reading about those things. Other than that I’m trying to improve my Italian or hold on to the limited French I know.
Kieran: Lastly, what is in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond?
Benjamino: The aim is to record over the New Year and be ready to release a bunch of songs over 2021, whether that involves an EP or a full album or just releasing singles I’m not too sure. I’ll also be hoping to get back to playing more live shows and beyond that hopefully pick up a Grammy or two.