Updated: Dec 17, 2019
BEN RAMA (CA)
“At the forefront of the progressive techno movement[...]”
...Cut To The Chase is starting off with Ben Rama, a friend of mine and client of my studio since a long time, who is an incredible music producer and he is also running the music label Techgnosis Records. The latter of which is almost a phenomenon to me, regarding how quickly it actually went to the “forefront of progressive techno” and how quickly it gathered a pool of amazingly talented artists. I will even claim that Techgnosis has become a spring of innovation and inspiration for music artists of that genre.
Ben has been active as a professional DJ and producer/performer since 2010 and has been awarded Electronic Artist of the Year in 2015 for Music NB.
Let’s get stuck in...
1. Ben, how are you so down to earth? What is the secret? :)
*laughs* Well thank you for the compliment, Rob. I'll do my best to be objective here - it's probably due to where I grew up and currently live. I was born and raised in a semi-rural town called Hampton in New Brunswick, Canada - the pace of life is slow compared to most places and it's a running joke about how overly 'friendly' people here can be. And with respect to music - I also consider myself a dancer, or a 'fan', first and foremost. Anyone that has gone to parties I've played know I'm on the dance floor before and/or after my set!
2. Which are the first memories that you have of music?
Growing up my parents had this vinyl of really upbeat French Canadian music, and apparently I loved that shit because I have really early memories of rocking out that in my diapers in front of the speakers (my mom has video evidence of this, apparently)
3. How did you develop an interest in the music you’re making today?
Hm, where to start? Although I was initially passionate about psytrance and goa, I was quickly made aware of the more progressive and techno-leaning sounds through my regular attendance of Eclipse Festival in Quebec. Specific 'a-ha!' moments include hearing Bodzin for the first time in 2007 and seeing D-Nox play a 4 hour set in 2008, as well as a very memorable Perfect Stranger DJ set at a loft party in Montreal in 2009 that was also thrown by the Eclipse festival promoters, Tech Safari.
4. What led you to music production?
When passion exceeds mere interest, what else to do but create?
5. Which is your favorite studio tool?
This is going to be a boring-ass answer, but the built-in Ableton EQs. Like I said - boring.
6. If you don’t mind me asking, where do you stand on the seemingly eternal battle of “analog vs digital”.
To me, it's a complete non-argument. I know of artists that get more out of a single software synth than many a hardware enthusiast gets out of a room full of gear (when they finally do get around to actually producing something, that is). It comes down to what you do with what you have.
7. Considering your life’s circumstances and also my personal insight into the amount of projects that you have to take care of, I would like to ask you this: Are you super dedicated to consecutive hours of production time or do you split it up into little bits and pieces?
These days it's difficult for me to find a big block of time for production, so it usually ends up being in hour chunks in between getting everything else done.
8. Would you like it any different?
Yea, I'd love to not have to work a part-time job, and devote my entire 'work time' to music and music related shenanigans. I actually did that for a few years while I was starting the label, but quickly found myself way too broke so things had to change, alas.
9. On that note, I’m interested in your opinion on the topic of: artists getting help to organize or to further their career, with the intention to focus purely on being creative instead of dealing with bookings or book keeping or things like that.
Well, I think artists should have at least a basic understanding of that stuff, but at the same time, you have to play to your strengths. If artists aren't having to stress about gigs, career planning and tour logistics, they are able to focus more wholly on their craft. So if someone feels as if they are struggling with one of those aspects, there are options out there for artist, tour and social media management.