Ben Ivory is a walking contradiction of light and shadow, East and West, soul and intellect, melancholy and euphoria. It’s easy to forget Ben’s a human: he’s so easy to think of in abstract terms. But when he opens his mouth and the music comes out (it’s a little like having an Instant Opera boom from a movie star’s face), his humanity overwhelms the moment. Ben’s singing is a powerful, passionate and blood-warm experience in a world that feels otherwise dominated by the sterile, the cool, the pre-packaged and digital. A world dominated, most of all, by the merely average. Necessity is a mother, indeed. And into this world will come a Savior…
Neon Cathedral is Out NOW !
Thanks to Ben
Merci Laurent <3
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud
I would say I am passionate, resolute and sensitive and I think you can hear it in my music as well. I am a child of the 80’s, I grew up with pop icons like Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna and David Bowie, which affected me and my music a lot. In my own work, I am trying to carry this legacy and to convert it into now.
How came your envy to make music ? Are you from a musician family ?
Yes, music has a long tradition in my fathers family. That’s why I made my « first musical » steps in a very young age already. And because my moms side of the family had a lot to do with theater and visual arts, I was glad to learn the best from both worlds from the very beginning on.
Do you write your texts and create your sounds yourself ?
Yes, I write the melodys and the lyrics myself. But of course I had help from a lot of professionell people, supporting me, giving me advice and helping me defining my output.
For example, my two amazing producers Kim Wennerström and Alex Reuterskiöld, who translated the song ideas, into finnished productions with me. Or Michael Ilbert, who has done the mix at legendary Hansa Studios in Berlin, as well as the great team at Sterling Sound in New York, who mastered the album in the end.
Where do you find inspiration ?
I do find my inspiration everywhere. It always depends on how we look at the things around us. I mean, of course there are tools to help you enter « another reality » (laugh) but it is also possible, to find a lot of inspiration in life, without starting every morning with a bottle of vodka… Its possible to choose your reality, every day anew, this idea inspires me the most.
Which artists influence you the most ?
There are too many. I really love music and and I need it like oxygen, its more important than food to me. And if you are fascinated about something, you study everything existing, that could be interesting (in one way or another). From classical music to KRAFTWERK or Tom Waits, I met them all on my way, developing my own sound in the past 10 to 15 years. My heros (the ones I own the most records of) are: Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, IAMX, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Anthony And The Johnsons, Radiohead, Björk, Depeche Mode, Placebo, Tori Amos, Tool, James Blake or The Smashing Punmpkins (to name a few).
Can you tell us about your first album ?
This is the first time I am doing pop music, so it was my attempt, to create a classical pop album, that is catchy but also toughtful, containing real messages instead of plastic. I was searching for an international sound and was trying to draw a certain kind of « anti-concept », to what was going on in the german pop charts in the past years. I think it is an aspiring and passionate project, that has the potential to become the perfect soundtrack to many peoples lifes.
What is your favorite song off of this album and why?
Every track is a special memory, I wrote them in different moods and different situations. They all belong to my path of life, so it’s hard to point one out… But I think All FOR LOVE and NEON CATHEDRAL are different in a way. Both came to me like a dream and where written and recorded within less than hours, I think they are the most « driven by instinct » songs. But also REMEDY is special, cause it’s such a timeless tune. And THE RIGHTEOUS ONES, which has a very important message, especially in our world of today.
Could you define it in just three words ?
NEON, MENTAL, POP
If you weren’t making music right now, what would you be doing ?
I would try to distract myself from the fact, I am not actually making music, by visiting a gallery (definitely listening to music over my player), watch movies or start any other kind of creative project, to shorten the time until the « next musical adventure ».
What makes you consider that a track is finished and ready to be shared ?
To tell the truth, it is one of the hardest things to decide. If you are involved into a full album production, you always have to make sure, to « not get lost » inside it or to loose the ability of seeing things objectivly from time to time. It’s like painting a picture, you can put layer over layer on the canvas but there is always the risk to do « too much » and to destroy the whole vision in the end. So I am always trying to stop, when the composition contains enough information, to disclose the character of the song (which is of course a very subjective decision).
If your phone could talk, what kind of secret would he tell us?
That I am a bloody liar! My mobile was broken three times this year already, I told my provider that it’s their problem cause they always send me damaged phones… But the truth is, that one died in a bowl of vodka and one was flattened by dancing feed in a club. This time I have to be very careful cause I fear, I won’t recieve a 4th one (sponsored by this company).
What can we find in your pocket/bag right now ?
Blackberry, headset, lip balm, cinnamon-gum
To finish, a song that may be on your mind right now.
You mean, what it would be about? Think it would be something dark and edgy, cause I am really looking forward to work on my next album which will be totally different to what is going on in « chapter one ».
And now, what’s next ?
A tour through germany is coming next, starting in the end of October, as well as bigger tour (hopefully all around Europe) in the beginning of 2014. Beside that, I am also planning more collaborations in fashion and visual art in the coming months. The album is out now, so work has just begun and I am really looking forward to what’s coming next!