Interview – The Benjees

The following responses come from Brooklyn-based rockers, The Benjees. This energetic quartet consists of members Ben (guitar, lead vocals), Joe (bass, vocals), Graham (drums), and Martin (keys). The Benjees, known for their punk and pop qualities, are influenced by a range of artists including Jack White, The Beastie Boys, and James Brown. They released their debut album, ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT, on July 17th. As a follow-up to the record, The Benjees dropped a new video for their track “Ringer” on August 6th. Learn more about the band from their responses and be sure to check out their music below.

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Three words we’d use to describe us are…. Poor, Girthy, Fun.

 

The story/meaning behind our name The Benjees is….

Joe (Bass):  The Benjees, turns out, are also a devil worshiping cult from the Indian subcontinent. Obviously we made the right choice.

Ben (Guitar/Lead Vocal):  Every letter is the start to a very secret sentence.  Clearance level is pretty high for that one.

 

The pickiest eater is….

Joe: I don’t know about the pickiest, but the one who will dawdle the most when ordering food is Ben. He’ll eat whatever he gets, but man don’t give him too many options! I’ve had about 8,000 meals with the guy so I can say this with love.

Ben: I’m not a picky eater – just a picky orderer.  Wanna just split a couple dishes instead?

Martin (Keyboards): I don’t think any of us is really a picky eater. Then again, we tend to drink more than eat with each other haha.

 

The most OCD member is….

Joe: Ah, probably me. If there is a way to tidy up, I will find it and push it within an inch of its life.

Ben: I would say me, me, me.  But maybe that’s just my OCD, OCD, OCD.

Martin: I would bet Ben and I are tied.

 

For fun we like to….

Joe: Uh, play music? It’s fun, I swear.

Ben: My friend put me on to reading the “about sections” of Tinder etc. with a very disgruntled, angry tone… and the results are pretty amazing.

Martin: Rock

 

We’re currently listening to….

Joe: In no particular order: Marvin Berry and the New Sound’s “Bootleg”, D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah”, Palmyra Delran & Bubble Gun’s “No Time Like Never”

Ben: Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” has been in heavy rotation.

Martin: I’m currently listening to Snarky Puppy’s Sylva, recorded with the Metropole Orkest.

 

Our favorite songs of all time include….

Joe: Damn… “Magnificent Seven” by The Clash, “Movin’ On Up” by Primal Scream, “Fu-Gee-La” by the Fugees, “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys, “City Song” by Luscious Jackson, “Sound of Violence” by Cassius. Groove reigns supreme.

Ben: “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone,  “Cant C Me” by 2pac

Martin: Our collective list is probably pretty extensive. It would include a lot of rock and a lot of hip hop.

 

We find inspiration from….

Joe: Driving through the city very fast, very late at night, and imagining I’m somebody who’s observations matter.

Ben: Everything and anything that can provide the backdrop or foundation for a good story.

 

One thing we want you to remember while listening to our music is….

Joe: We are constantly exaggerated versions of ourselves.

Ben: To turn it up and tell a friend.

 

The first song we wrote together was….

Joe: I want to say I contributed to the arrangement of “Mood 2B Rude”, but that is a hazy memory. I do recall putting my own bass fill in there and thinking it rocked harder than it did without it. So, yeah.

Ben: I don’t remember. I know the first one we really worked on together was “The Scene”… a classic Benjees gem.

 

Alright Alright Alright was recorded in….

Joe: The right place at the right time. Rocky at Virtue and Vice Studio helped us achieve our goal by being very patient and professional, and we prepared for the studio to maximize the time we had. It was a great experience.

Ben: …in record time!  (No Dad pun intended).  We recorded it in just two days, filled with Williamsburg Pizza, Chinese food deliveries and a LOT of coffee and some other choice beverages and “cigarettes”. Whatever it was, it worked.

 

Something we learned from creating it [Alright Alright Alright] was….

Joe: The editing and mixing of tracks was as rewarding as we hoped it would be. It’s one thing to have your parts for live performance ready to rip, but I loved that we had time to choose certain takes and arrange layers of sounds that don’t come as easily in a live setting.

Ben: Making an album is very expensive and very rewarding, and that the two are not related.

Martin: There are close approximations, but no substitute for an actual mellotron or B3. “Ain’t nothing like the real thing”

 

Something odd we want our fans to know about us is….

Joe: We do all of this stuff on purpose.

Ben: I guess something odd they should know about is that Joe likes to wear condoms when he plays shows in order to ensure a “safe set”.

Martin: We make promo videos!

 

We’re absolutely terrified of….

Joe: Complacency.

Ben: Texts that say, “We need to talk” or “I’m late.” (That kind of late).  Or the classic, “Sorry, somehow all the tracks we just recorded got deleted.”

Graham: Interview Questions.

 

Our last meals would be….

Joe: The Outside Brown with a side of the Waffle-Fried Mac n’ Cheese from Arrogant Swine, in Bushwick.

Ben: Any type of “all you can eat buffet” where I could continue eating until I became an old man, get diabetes or something and die a slow, “natural” death and completely buck the system.

Martin: Like before execution? Honestly I would rather have sex or rock out one more time, not eat.

 

In the next six months you should expect….

Ben:  We’ll be back in the studio to record some of the new songs we’ve been writing and turn it into an EP or another full length album.  You can also expect some sketch promo videos to pop up as well!

 

 

 

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