RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST BENEDICT SINISTER
Hiya, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’m actually just doing music to pay the bills until an opportunity opens up in a field I’m actually interested in.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
All artists have the same message fundamentally, including myself: “I’m desperate for people to pay attention to me.” At one extreme are artists seeking mass acceptance – to get those gushing reaction shots from Britain’s Got Talent, where even Simon Cowell is compelled to give a standing ovation. And at the other extreme are contrarians who crave begrudging acknowledgement of how special and unique they are. I fall more on that end of the spectrum. What was life like for you before music?
It was the abject life of an unemployed poet. For a while I stopped eating and instead just drank a cocktail of vodka and milk – what today we’d call “vilk.” So I ended up sleeping twenty hours a day.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
It wasn’t a song.It was more the desire to consume something other than vilk. Like snorting cocaine off caviar coated in gold-leaf.
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
My job is flying round the world doing promotional appearances and hitting up afterparties. In between I occasionally write and produce songs and videos.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
Frank Zappa : “Don’t eat yellow snow.”
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
One of my songs was used as a backing track at a figure skating world championship. They played the clean version during the official competition, but in rehearsal the skater performed a triple Axel every time I dropped an f-bomb. Magnifico!
For a short period of time I was part of the same polycule as Sam Bankman-Fried and Fake Charity Nerd Girl. Surprisingly, a cast member of The Great British Bake Off was also involved.
I can’t think of any lies, sorry.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
Surviving till I’m old enough to date Noor Alfallah.
Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….
Thank you for raising this and giving me the opportunity to apologize for making a grievous mistake in the video clip for my song ‘Ne dramatise pas,’ which has given offence and caused harm to members of several communities. I am ashamed to admit that the video does show champagne being poured into a Martini glass. The fact that the glass was the most convenient shape to conceal the vulva of a naked woman was no excuse for this insensitivity to the communities implicated.
I am beginning a process of consulting with people most deeply affected – sommeliers, vignerons, champagne connoisseurs, and glassware aficionados. I profoundly regret the pain that I have caused, and I am grateful for the insightful critiques I have received. I am listening closely and I am reflecting deeply. The fact that I did not foresee the distress my video would cause is humbling and eye-opening. I am stepping back to re-evaluate not only my creative process but also myself as a creator occupying a place of privilege.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
Yes I do. When I first heard Olivia Rodrigo’s “Get Him Back,” I thought she had totally stolen Baby Queen’s song writing style. Then I saw that Baby Queen supported her on her European tour and Olivia did a TikTok post of herself singing and dancing to Baby Queen. So that confirmed it, but where are the protests? It’s like this issue has been intentionally buried by the mainstream media.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Taking the stage after GG Allin. He didn’t leave the crowd in the mood for a chill house lounge set, plus I had to be so careful about where I was stepping.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I can actually polish a turd, as my fans have learned – especially the ones at the GG Allin gig.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
The combination of extreme modesty and astounding genius.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yeah, I just downloaded 1989, Taylor’s version. So excited to hear it. Haven’t listened to it yet though. Been too busy doing the publicity circuit for a song I just released.
What was the recording process like?
For my song “Only Sixteen”n? Long. I first recorded it almost three years ago. Then, because it’s an adaptation of an Italian song, it took a year to negotiate for the rights with Universal Music in Italy. Then I decided I wasn’t happy with the recording. Fortuitously I met the wonderful Nikola of the very talented Bedingfield family. She helped me get the final arrangement right. That was one year ago. Then it took me another year to work through ideas and casting for the video. And now at last it has been shipped.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
“Only Sixteen” is one of many songs I have adapted from originals in other languages. Sometimes there are lines in the original that are very poetic and difficult for me to understand as they’re not literal. And I have found that trying to find English equivalents for those lines that I don’t quite get, can inspire the best lines in my adaptations – for example from only Sixteen, “So broke I couldn’t even afford to cry.”
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Luckily that option is available today – it’s called remixing. And the remix comes out on November 21. It’s called “You Dance in the Club.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
A young child says to his mother, “When I grow up, I want to be a musician.” The mother replies, “Well honey, you know you can’t do both.”