With his delicate approach to pop, Zach Benson has the ability to make you a fan with one listen. At least that is how it worked with me. A sweet song with a nostalgic bite is just one of the handful of tracks on his latest release, Prom, that will leave you wondering when he’s coming to a city near you. Well, you’ll just have to continue on to see what’s up next for the young dynamo.
Kendra: When you decided to go all in with music, were there any skeptics in your life that made you think twice?
Zach Benson: Honestly, I was my own biggest skeptic when it came to pursuing music. Everyone’s been incredibly supportive and kind throughout the process, but I’ve constantly had a voice in my head telling me to focus on a more sustainable career path. It’s the feeling I have after stepping off stage after a gig or hearing someone say that they enjoy my songs that keep me going.
Kendra: No matter what, I’m happy you’re doing what you’re doing. Now let’s talk about it more. You just dropped Prom at the beginning of June. How do you compare creatively on this record to when you were writing and recording Pretty?
Zach Benson: Aw, thank you!! Pretty was my first serious attempt at original music production – beforehand, I was just doing covers. I really had no idea what I was doing and was still working in Garageband, so a lot of the production choices came from the limited range of sounds I could choose from. Prom is the result of a little over a year of practice and experience with more elaborate software like Ableton and Logic. For Pretty, I was really just trying to pass the time at school by writing songs and learning how to produce, so there wasn’t a solid creative direction. I went into writing Prom with the idea of writing songs that felt warm, nostalgic, and melodramatic.
Kendra: So “Ferris Bueller” has to be one of the sweetest songs I’ve heard in awhile. What is it about that movie that you feel stands the test of time, because you’re not old enough to have loved it when it first dropped, right?
Zach Benson: Yeah, I was born a solid decade after Ferris Bueller came out. But it has that element of whimsy and grandeur that anybody can feel inspired by. The way that Ferris can just say “fuck it, we’re young and free, let’s act like it” just makes me wanna ignore all my responsibilities and have the best day ever. I named the song after the movie because the song itself has a heavy ’80s pop ballad influence, the movie’s themes of youth and carefreeness parallel the themes of the song, plus I made out with a boy for the first time while watching Ferris Bueller. Which was dope.
Kendra: Another song that stood out for different reasons is “Hang Up,” especially the line, “I’m not your booty call.” Do you feel like the Tinder culture, the hook up more often than not culture, is killing romance?
Zach Benson: I’m not a fan of hookup culture at all. “Hang Up!” was inspired by this boy (who had a boyfriend) who slid into my DMs trying to flirt with me (which I ALSO had a boyfriend) and I was just not having it. I don’t think Tinder or hook up culture are necessarily killing romance, because there are a lot of super sweet people out there who are ready for a relationship. I just think the shitty boys are the loudest and most persistent.
Kendra: Right now you’re at the end of an east coast tour. First off, how was the road this time around?
Zach Benson: This tour has honestly been incredible thus far. No hold-ups, no technical issues, fun shows, incredibly kind and courteous fans and new friends.
Kendra: Secondly, what are some advantages and disadvantages of touring out east?
Zach Benson: The east coast is full of incredible cities and towns. I’ve lived in Virginia all my life and really only played solo shows in-state. So being able to explore new places has been such a cool advantage. Obviously, I’d love to go out west/around the rest of the US as soon as possible. For right now though, I’m so grateful to be able to showcase my songs to new places.
Kendra: What’s next for you? More touring come the fall or even later this summer?
Zach Benson: Yes!!!! Later this summer, there’ll be some new tour dates announced. New cover out in the upcoming weeks. New single by the end of the summer. Then lots of songwriting, performing, and other cool stuff throughout the fall semester. I’m getting so stoked just thinking about it. I might’ve revealed too much. Oh well.