Ben Seretan: “…every place on Earth needs music” (Original)
17 junio, 2016
Entrevista por Astrid Montaño ( Twitter: @astridmt )
Llegar a artistas es un camino fácil, nos rodean, nos observan y producen belleza en los días más sombríos. Están ahí, hay que tropezar a diario con ellos y ellas. Para mí es fundamental tenerlos cerca y poder transmitir sus mensajes. Ben llegó a mí por una gran amiga llamada Thomasin Alter, un talento de mujer a la hora de hacer pan y dirigir una cocina de pays.
Muchas veces envío una entrevista a cuanta persona me habla de su trabajo artístico. Muchas de esas veces jamás responden. En otras ocasiones, toco la puerta de grandes nombres y las abren con facilidad. En el caso de Ben, me confirma que la calidad y la sencillez cuando van de la mano son una carta de presentación . Me siento muy agradecida de haberlo encontrado y les comparto la entrevista que le realicé esta semana.
Por cierto, tendremos la traducción al español en próximos días. A continuación les dejo las respuestas intactas:
Acerca de Ben
“I was born in Orange County, California – about 30 minutes south of Los Angeles – and lived there until I was 18. Went swimming in the Pacific a lot, went to church all the time growing up, also spent a *lot* of time driving on freeways blasting “London Calling” and the Minutemen.
After high school, I went to study music at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where I continued to play in bands and write songs (my thesis was a concert / essay on the cellist Arthur Russell).
I moved to New York after graduating and have been here ever since, trying to spend as much time outside the city as possible.”
I’ve always played music, as long as I can remember. I remember being very young – maybe 4 or 5 years old – and gleefully banging on the keys of our family’s all-white upright piano. I sang in my church’s children’s choir from a young age, too, and I remember listening to the adult choir sing backstage while they were rehearsing. Through my elementary school’s orchestra program, I started playing the cello, which I took pretty seriously for a while til a few years later when my cello suffered a terrible hot-car-related accident. While the cello was in repairs, my brother loaned me his electric guitar which just totally blew my mind.
Who and what has influenced your work?
I really try to be open-minded about what I listen to and who I take inspiration from, but a few names stick out. Neil Young is a huge inspiration – his jagged, brutal guitar solos and extremely tender acoustic numbers and just continuing to do whatever he wants creatively all the time. Arthur Russell is another person that worked in a variety of different forms and represents the ultimate in freedom when singing, he’s just completely unfettered. Lately I’ve been coming back to Joni Mitchell, whose weird guitar tunings are a big influence on me. Other big names might be Dolly Parton, Stars of the Lid, the Carter Family, Jim O’Rourke…I could go on!
How would you define/describe your music? What are its underlying themes and messages?
The underlying thing of my songs – and pretty much everything I’m interested in creatively – is tenderness. Tenderness between lovers, friends, strangers, humanity at large…human kindness is still the most compelling thing to me.
I’m never good at describing my music, but today I would say this:
Trying very hard to thank somebody for being in your life, but you’re both at a crazy party in a room full of people, so you have to scream “I love you” at the top of your lungs.
What is your creative process like?
Never ending! It’s an extremely compelling thing to be alive and walking around and almost every second somebody will say or do something unbelievably beautiful or the light will hit something in just the write way…
As far as writing songs goes, my usual method is to pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and work myself into a state of deep relaxation, like almost dreaming, and follow the first lyric that comes to mind down the rabbit hole. I’m always surprised by what is down there.
Are you interested in other art disciplines?
I’ve been writing more and more prose and poetry – I think that’s something I’d like to do more publicly in the future. I also recently began acting in a web series called “Snug” which is about a guy who offers cuddles-for-hire. And I really get a kick out of taking pictures with a Holga, but I’m terrible at it.
What are the pros and cons of being an musician living in New York?
It’s dirty, cramped, and expensive here. Extremely challenging in terms of having the time and the space to do real work. And it’s noisy! But – there is no greater collection of other hustling musicians in the entire world. There is something truly remarkable to listen to every night of the week, not to mention the best of pretty much everything else, too – movies, food, dance, etc. It’s almost like there’s too much stimulation – it’s distracting! But you can play a show in a different venue every night of the week and you’ll never run out of things to sing about.
What are your plans for this year?
After many months of working on it, a new album of mine is coming out this month. “Bowl of Plums” – June 24th. I’m doing a big release show at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn that night. A few weeks later, I’m heading to Europe to tour and support the record over there. After that, I’m hoping to do some touring in the states, as well. After that…I have no idea!
What advice would you give to young people who make music in faraway places ?
I would just say that every place on Earth needs music and that even if you live in the tiniest of towns you are doing a noble service for humanity.
Also – – playing music is all about feeling good in your body. Find something that feels good in your body.
Share a little bit more about yourself with us. What js your favorite book? Favorite movie? Your most listened to playlist? Favorite visual artist? What is your favorite food? The one thing you can’t live without?
Favorite Books – – Johnny Cash’s autobiography, The Foam of the Daze by Boris Vian, anything by Richard Brautigan
Favorite movie – – tie between Stop Making Sense and True Stories, both by the Talking Heads.
Most listened to playlist – Spotify’s Discover Weekly is honestly amazing! My friend LJ does a monthly playlist, too: http://tinyletter.com/DJLJB
Favorite visual artist – I really like Philip Guston and Cy Twombly. I like all the minimal stuff – Michael Heizer and Walter de Maria. I feel like Nathaniel Dorsky is in this category even though he’s a filmmaker.
Favorite food – Court Street Grocers, oatmeal (rolled oats!), any and all types of pizza, al pastor tacos, mezze plates
One thing I can’t live without? Right now I don’t think I could live without cute pictures of my baby niece sent to my phone every day.