Benny Atlas talks to 2&6 about his DEBUT single “Paradise”

Hi Benny, Thanks so much for your time, we are super gassed for Paradise to come out to the world, we loved getting to hear a sneak peek. How are you feeling at the moment, on the release week of your Debut single? 

Eyyy feeling good thanks… I think! It’s been a strange year for sure, with many unknowns and uncertainties, but one of the things I have had a stable level of certainty over is the fact that I wanted to release this music, so I’m really excited that the time is finally here. This project is the result of two years work, and it always feels shitty sitting on songs for ages, so too finally be putting it out means the world to me. 

Who are some of your key musical influences? 

Eurghhh, tough question! I think many musicians struggle with this question as the answer can be so wide ranging, but if I had to narrow it down, I would say Marvin Gaye, Jeff Buckley and Dennis Brown. 

Paradise is a very peaceful and retro feeling track, how did this song come into fruition AND who produced the track? 

This song was one of those that came straight off the middle of the bat, and didn’t require too much forethought or complex thinking. I had just fallen in love with an amazing woman, and felt a super charged energy everyday around that time. I had also been making a lot of music with my boy Dogus aka Mindy, so we were locked in each session and knew what to expect from each other.

Around that time, I had  been listening to Earth Wind and Fire everyday, songs like “After the love has gone” and “Fantasy”. Their sweeping seven part harmonies, funky baselines and soulful melodies were stuck in my head. Pretty much all of the song was written and recorded (mostly) in one afternoon, I tend to think that the songs that are made quickest are often the best, the songs you don’t have to think about or internalise are often the most honest. Paradise gave me the chance to transport myself. 

On your debut project you have teamed up with Charlie Sarsfield, a dope photographer famed for shooting the likes of Stormzy & Avelino,  what is it about Charlie’s work that makes it a perfect match for your creative vision? And how did you guys first come to work together? 

Ehhh shout out Charlie, what a G! I’ve actually known Charlie for a long time now, we did a few things a while back with my old band,  and have stayed in touch ever since. I think Charlie’s way of working is to really get to know the artist, personally and musically, he then projects what he knows about them to capture the best visuals. He is also really down to earth and easy to chat to, which creates a nice ease to the atmosphere on set. 

What are some of your best tips for guitar players who suffer from a lack of inspiration and get bored of repetitive practices?

This will always happen to every creative, and it is a natural part of the process.  Our creative output will go up and go down like our emotions, and it’s all about managing those fluctuations and not beating yourself up too much. Sometimes you will write 5 songs a day, another day you will struggle for a verse, this is fine, don’t beat yourself up. If you are struggling, try and reset yourself, for me, rigorous exercise helps me do this,  you gotta wipe the canvas clean, but there are many ways to do this. Sitting in a pub for a number of hours can also help you crawl out of the rabbit hole too, choose your poison. 

What does your creative process look like? Do you have a clear idea of what kind of track you want to write when you begin or do you prefer to experiment and see where the music takes you? 

For the setting, I like to be in a warm room, there needs to be some juicy skunk in the air, and it’s normally just me and the producer. We will start with some chords, then as the producer is layering the beat, I tend to go quiet and start humming melodies and seeing if any of the words or sounds stick. Sometimes a chorus comes first sometimes a verse, it really varies. Most of the time, I won’t have an idea of how I want it to sound, ill go with the music, but I will try and ask myself how I’m feeling in that moment, and what am I trying to get out. 

Lastly, if you could work on a collaboration album with one other Musician and one producer, who would it be & Why? 

Artist wise, Anderson Paak, the guy is just a freak and can turn his hand to any musical style, I pretty much love everything he makes and a producer I love is Channel Tres. This guy is blending west coast hip hop with Deep Detroit and European techno, and I really feel like he is onto something. 

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