RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST RADIO VISION
Hiya folks 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? When I was a little kid I heard the slide guitar Duane all man did at the end of Layla and wanted to figure out how to make those sounds.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I (Ben Stephenson) am the only current member of Radio Vision with the exception of some colllaborators to fill in on some instruments I can’t play. I try not to sample anything if possible so hiring out session work Is the most practical solution. When I gig this project I intend to hire a live band but right now I’m immersing myself in the creative process fully to make the best songs I can.
I’ve been playing music since grade school, starting with drums but switching to guitar because it was a bit loud for the family/ neighbors. Started with classic rock, ventured into punk and my love of history led me back to blues.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums?
Axis: Bold as Love – Jimi Hendrix Loaded – The Velvet Underground Hunky Dory – David Bowie
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Layla – Derek And the Dominoes
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
I try not to worry about the ego rat race. If you get to close to it you lose sight of the art and the resulting work suffers. My best (and usually most well received) songs come about from just having fun, making a collage of sound if for no other purpose than to see what it feels like.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
I think we all have a responsibility to make sure the scene is safe and inviting for everyone. And when all in attendance make that decision to create a loving and friendly environment you can feel it. we don’t see too much of the negative stigma around here, luckily, so for that I’m grateful.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I started using TikTok after the hiatus of my previous project ‘The Shook’ to pass the time. It’s been great for keeping me motivated to play every day as well as building a organic audience who loves to follow along through the creative process. This song actually came about from a jam that started as nothing more than a couple of licks stacked up in a looper pedal and me playing a lead over top of it.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
My name is included on the first page of the first edition of creem magazine that came out last year
I can’t read sheet music
I’m an alien myself
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
I think it’s a necessary evil, it’s great they have democratized the industry as far as making it easy to have your music in the same place as top artists which you’d never have in say your local record store. But I do think there’s work to be done on the side of compensating artists better, and I understand there are brilliant minds working tirelessly to make a way forward that is fair for everyone.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
I’m what’s considered a conspiracy realist, I listen to a lot of podcasts on the subject so I have a natural curiosity for the edges of the mainstream narrative. There are a lot of real conspiracies out there and even the fake ones have a nugget of truth or at the very least a great story about how the narrative got so outlandish. It’s very fun to explore.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Depending on who you ask, there was quite a bit of music equipment, and things to pass the time. But I try not to exceed my money on things I won’t make good use of,
What was the worst experience on stage?
This band I was in years ago showed up to the gig (during a snowstorm mind you) and realized our bassist wasn’t coming, so I bumped up the low end on my amp (being rhythm guitar) and hoped for the best. Those in attendance still loved it but we felt very unprepared.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
In addition to being a musician, I’m also a tattoo artist
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I like to think my reverence for music largely forgotten/ ignored by young artists gives my work an ephemeral quality, and pays homage to what’s considered a bygone era.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
My next releases coming out this year include a few more singles and an EP to cap the year off right.
The next two singles are a little more blues leaning as far as influence goes (one being a cover of the old standard “St. James Infirmary)
And they both feature some trumpet from the very talented Lee Dyer (Tiny Sun/ Aunt Vicki) who is based in North Carolina but was a huge part of the northern Michigan scene for many years.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
Well as I mentioned many come about from jams with very little idea other than a a fun groove that I stick into the looper pedal and see what comes from it and it snowballs into an idea then I come back to the idea for vocals later after I’ve had some time to get acquainted with the track. or in the case of a cover a song that really hits you, and I especially love when it’s been done by so many great artists in so many ways and you get to kind of pick your favorite bits of each to make it your own. This is an important deciding factor to me, I don’t want to just cover a song verbatim to fill space on a record or setlist
What was the recording process like?
rather than the recording experience I’ve grown used to which included having other minds and capable hands to lighten the load and bounce ideas off of, I was in the driver’s seat from beginning to end with the production, and that was a very new experience in which I learned a great deal about not only production but myself as an artist. getting a workflow in my own studio was liberating.
The single (along with the other tracks) were all recorded in my Home Studio. With Additional Production/Mastering by Dakotah Haken of New Level Productions. who I had worked with in the past on previous projects.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
The mixing process, there’s a lot of tweaking and going back and trying new things then deleting others entirely. Learning/trying new techniques to get different results, It can be frustrating at times but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Always, I’d go in circles forever if no one stopped me, the inner critic will put the brakes on at any point if you let it. I try to get a track to where I think I like the mix, then come back and listen again the next day; if I still like it I send it over to my producer and see if it’s ready for mastering.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?