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INTERVIEW: Ben Eunson

Hi Ben, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! Thanks, I’m doing great. Very glad to have my new album ACE out in the world for people to listen to.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Three of a Kind”?

“Three Of A Kind” is a song is about three musicians coming together from different musical perspectives, and creating one unified musical statement. After day one in the studio, I felt that a powerful melodic statement was missing from the songs we had recorded up to that point. I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote a song that blended elements of melodic improvisation with heavy rock, and “Three Of A Kind” was the result.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was inspired by the blend of our three individual styles as instrumentalists (Alexander Claffy, Kush Abadey and myself). I actually wrote the song on our lunch break in the studio. The title “Three Of A Kind” refers to the three of us coming together musically.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

I had been a fan of New York-based video artist Steve Brickman, and I asked him to film and direct the video. I basically asked him to capture a “live in the studio” style video, but to put his creative spin on it. I really love how he captured the drama of the song, while still keeping the focus on the three of us as musicians.

The single comes off your new album ACE – what’s the story behind the title?

ACE just stands for Abadey, Claffy and Eunson. I thought it was a cool acronym that not only sounded catchy, but also acknowledged the creative collaboration between the three of us.

How was the recording and writing process?

Recording this album actually took a surprisingly long time. Tracking took place between September 2017 and October 2018, and we cut down upwards of 30 songs into the final 10 songs which are heard on the album. I felt that the 10 songs on the record were the strongest of everything we recorded, five of which were original compositions of mine that I wrote by myself with Alexander Claffy and Kush Abadey’s respective playing styles in mind. I was very specific about how I wanted this album to sound in terms of mixing – my co-producer Michael Perez-Cisneros ended up doing about 25-30 mixes of every song on the record, and he did an incredible job every step of the way. I’m really happy with how everything ended up sounding.

What role does NYC play in your music?

New York City has enabled me to be amongst many of the best musicians in the world. Being a musician in NYC has helped me find my own musical identity, and helped me take my music to the next level.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Depends upon the situation – if I’m playing in someone else’s band (which I don’t do so often these days), I’ll most certainly defer to the bandleader and try to bring the best parts of my playing style to their music. If I’m collaborating in terms of songwriting, producing and/or recording, I’ll most likely be more forthright in expressing the creative direction that I feel needs to be taken.

How did you get to balance all your different influences together?

I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of incredible musicians, and also be involved with a wide array of musical styles. This has most certainly helped me blend all of my influences into a cohesive musical vision that is my own. Also, leading your own band will certainly help streamline your influences into a cohesive musical style that reflects your identity.

What was the direction you were seeking to go on this record? Did you intend to focus on a particular genre or rather keep on with the fusion?

I actually didn’t have a specific direction in mind – I just started writing and had the sound of each musician in mind. Beyond that, I just wanted to make an album that didn’t sound like anything else around today.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs?

There were probably certain influences floating around in my head ranging from Malmsteen to Mehldau, to Michael McDonald, Miles and more. It’s hard to describe, but the music on this record is just where my head was at during 2017-18.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I’m hitting the road in Europe at the end of September, and will be doing a West Coast run in December/January.

What else is happening next in Ben Eunson’s world?

I have some cool stuff available on my website www.beneunson.com, including a gatefold-sleeve CD edition of my album ACE, which (as much as I’m into streaming music these days) is definitely highest quality audio version of the album you can get.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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