From birth, we are labeled with pink or blue and it only continues from there. Our styles, our interests, everything about us garners a label. For artists like Ben Stevenson, he’d rather do without but given that most musicians have to adhere to the idea of being placed in a genre, well we talked about that. We also talked a bit about his inspirational trip to Joshua Tree that left him with his latest single “Yellow Bird,” his eccentric ways growing up and more.
Kendra: Looking through your Instagram, you seem like the type of guy who was very eccentric growing up. Any truth to that?
Ben Stevenson: For sure. I always felt at odds with the crowd, always was acting strange and feeling may be over excited about things. It’s been a beautiful life and also super painful at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Kendra: When did your interest in music really start to take shape?
Ben: I always loved music and felt it very deeply, but it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 when I really started to play the guitar and get into it. I started a punk band with friends from my neighbourhood and we were playing shows when we were 12 and 13; it was crazy.
Kendra: When it did, were you loving the style you wound up making a career out of? That psychedelic soul?
Ben: I’d say naming styles and genres is my least favourite thing about music, as it really defies categorization, but I guess people latch on to these things for familiarity or whatever. I like those two words so sure put them together why don’t you haha. I think soul is vital to any form of art and psychedelics make you realize a lot of truth and understanding. So yeah, if that’s a style of music I dig it.
Kendra: You’ve noted that Cara Cara is the album you feel most connected to. Why is that?
Ben: Well maybe other than Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen, but no for what I’ve done, I feel like this is a record that really embodies where I was at in my life and achieved some degree of truth. It’s still something I’m uncovering every day, and I just hope that I’m enabled to continue on that journey.
Kendra: What made you leave Canada and head to near Joshua Tree to record your latest single “Yellow Bird?”
Ben: It was actually recorded back here, but I wrote it up in the Dez’. I was looking for inspiration and even a year or two before making the album, I had this thought of the desert being the theme or something. So we went there to start the process and that song came out really naturally in the first couple days I was there.
Kendra: The new album’s out at the end of September. Do you have plans to tour after that?
Ben: Yes, that’s the plan. I love playing live more than any other aspect of music, so I hope they let me!
Kendra: Lastly, we love all types of art at ZO. With that, if you had to compare your sound to an art piece which would it be and why?
Ben: Well maybe this is reaching a bit but, say the film Enter The Void as it deals with love, pain, sex, reincarnation all taking place in this psychedelic modern scene which evokes something more ancient. Does that make sense?