With a tonne of new music up his sleeve that will be announced soon, and a live show in London next week at the famous club Slimelight supporting Belgian noise artists This Morn Omina, Benjamin Schoones is a busy new artist making an awesome impact on the electro-industrial scene. The below feature is an interview with Benjamin that I (Pete) put together to give an insight into what makes him tick.
Benjamin’sPlague + This Morn Omina live Facebook event
You’re a student living in the Netherlands. What are you studying? Do you like to keep your creative side just for music or do you see yourself pursuing a creativity-oriented aspect in your studies/career?
I’m currently studying in media design (graphic design), so the study really helps me to get the picture done around my project itself since I’m doing my own artwork.
How do you like the scene in Europe for festivals in countries like Germany, UK and the Netherlands? How does living there have an influence on your music?
It is a little bit of an ‘in-between’ feeling knowing that there’s more going on in the UK and Germany. We used to have a lot more going on 2 years ago and it seems to get even less since Summer Darkness is no more.
For me this is not the reason not to go out and that’s why I like to visit the UK or go to Germany once in a while.
You clearly see the difference between those scenes as in the people and the music. I find it very easy to identify a German or a UK band. But some Dutch bands always seem to get their influences from everywhere. I don’t really feel influenced by any sound since my way of producing music always comes very natural on the point when I’m working on it.
On your debut single You Will Pay, and from what I’ve heard of your upcoming material, I can hear that you have a great sense of song structure, melody-creation and rhythm, despite being quite young. Do you attribute this to also being a DJ or do you have a musical background or some other secret?
I definitely have a musical background going on. This all started with my parents, they’ve met at the conservatory where they both have studied. My dad is a writer and a musicologist and gives part-time piano-lessons. My mom plays harp. So I was raised with a lot of classical music and went to several concerts, which gave me a real good sense of melody’s (we’re even listening classical music while dining). at the age of 12 I decided to play bass guitar this was mostly metal music until I discovered ‘’industrial’’ music which got me into making it myself.
As well as DJing, you’re also involved in organising events such as the Unterwasser boat party in Delft recently. The Dutch are definitely known for their ability to party as well, at least in my opinion! Do you sense this to and is a debaucherous party element important to your music, or do you go for more of a personal feel?
I’d like to combine both elements. It’s a kind of a struggle sometimes when I want to make something loud but the outcome of the track is not what I have expected from the moment I started on it. For me a track has got have the right atmosphere and feeling every track also needs to have a deeper element in it or else making music is pointless for me.
You’ve got some great photos out there by photographer Alexandra Sleaze, and your live show has an impressive visual element too. Is having an integral visual side to your project an additional creative outlet for you and what is your inspiration for this aspect?
The inspiration comes from various places and I never seem to understand what it is exactly. It seems all to get very easily. I think it’s a picture, which I get when I’m listening to me own music.
You’re the live bass player for London-based industrial band Biomechanimal, who also have a great aesthetic edge. Can you recommend any other upcoming acts to check out?
There’s this Swedish band called Wulfband who’s having an oldskool EBM sound with some angry shouting in German. Definitely a band to check.
Sometimes it’s a little too much to praise your labelmates but I cannot stay quiet about [SNUFF]. I instantly got hooked to their music when I first heard it. It really kicks in the places where it’s really needed. It’s catchy, seductive and dark.
You use an unusual DAW for your music creation (the name of which I always forget, even though you’ve told me twice now!). Is there any particular reason you don’t use one of the more well-known packages like Live or Logic? And what is your studio setup like?
Some people will probably laugh, but I’m using Acoustica Mixcraft 6. I easily got hooked on it when I first started experimenting with music and it's a great way to start learning things about producing. I just didn’t had time to switch over to a new software yet, but it’s something I’m planning to. But for now it’s perfectly fine.
Mixcraft can handle all my plug-ins very easily and it doesn't seem to disturb my writing process. My audio setup is also not very special and very low budget with a 25 mdi keyboard and a usb microphone with a pop-filter. I’d really like to add some analogue toys but I don’t have room for it yet, I still have the years ahead for that.
I’m a young musician in progress, so are my production skills. But it clearly shows that you even can have a great production with such a low-budget setup. As long the feeling, a good ear for sound and room for creativity is there.
I think we can safely discuss the fact that you have 2 new EPs coming up. What else are you working on to follow that?
I’m currently need to plan one last meeting with the video editor for my coming music video which will be coming online when the first EP called ‘Choke on Euphoria’ is out. I’m also working on a full-length album, which is taking shape slowly.