I first saw Ben Roth when he played with the sadly, now-defunct band Perkasie. He was this crazy-haired, guitar player who – had his bandmates not also been amazing – would have absolutely stolen the show. His music is wide-ranging in style, but no matter the style, there’s an authenticity in every note. If I was 10 years younger, okay even though I’m not, Ben’s one of those musicians you get those heart-rending crushes on. The interview will show you why.
What got you into music? What do you love about it? What do you hate?
My parents got me into music as a kid, always playing it in the car and at home and encouraging me to sing along. When I found my dad’s old Martin in our basement I knew right away that I needed to learn how to play it. I would have friends over and show it off to them even though I had no idea how to play; I just thought that guitars were the coolest thing in the world.
I love music because it’s my creative outlet and a way that I express myself/cope with all of the questions and emotions life brings. Music brings people together and makes people together; whether you are the one playing or listening, everyone loves music; it’s a universal language!
One thing that I do hate about music is what the music “Scene” has become. Kids with super tight pants and shirts and stupid hair are starting bands for all the wrong reasons (attention, girls, money, image, etc). It’s discouraging to see musicians who don’t even believe in what they are doing in the music scene. I just put faith in the audience and listeners to tell the difference between music with substance and heart, from its counterparts.
What bands are you in? Can you describe their influences?
Right now I am involved in two musical projects. My solo project, and Bright and Early. They are considerably different styles of music, but I enjoy both very much. My stuff is a little more laid back rock and roll with some indie and acoustic influences. Bright and Early is a little more aggressive and straight forward rock and roll with more punk-ish influences.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced?
The most beautiful thing i have ever experienced is love. The ability to love and the ability to be loved are the greatest gifts a person can receive/possess. Not in a single instance or circumstance, but everywhere. Be it as a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a lover, or just as a human trying to make the world around them better.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I would definitely be a penguin!
If you could tour with any person or band, who would you want to tour with?
If I could tour with any band ever it would probably be Okkervil River, because I want to watch them play my favorite songs FOREVERRR!! I don’t think I would ever get tired of seeing them.
I write about books a lot, so what books would you recommend?
As far as books go I am a Charles Bukowski fanatic; anything by him I would suggest checking out, particularly Post Office. I’m currently reading Dune. Haha I know, I’m a bit late on that one. Ryan Adams has a book of poetry that I like a lot called Infinite Blues,too.
What’s your process for writing a song?
I don’t have a process really, sometimes it takes days, weeks, even months, sometimes it takes 20min. Lately I have been writing music first and lyrics second, but typically I write the music and lyrics together and then go back and make changes after the song is done.
If you were a spice, what spice would you be and why?
If I were a spice, I would probably be something WAY SPICY! I’ve been on a mega spicy kick lately, gotta spread the heat!
What’s on the horizon for you musically?
My musical horizons are to keep playing and writing and recording until the day that it doesn’t make me happy anymore (which hopefully will never happen).
If you were to make my readers a mixtape for today (10-12 songs), what would go on that tape?
1) “Heartbeats” by The Knife
2) “Liz Phai” by Weston
3) “Fabourite Colour” by Tokyo Police Club
4) “Old Bikes” by The Trucks
5) “Hate Everyone” by Say Anything
6) “False Jesii Part 2” by Pissed Jeans
7) “Kissing Families” by Silversun Pickups
8) “Non Photo Blue” by Pinback
9) “For Real” by Okkervil River
10) “Stays The Same” by Transit
11) “Tammy Smith” by Wesley Willis
After playing in various bands with various musical styles, Ben decided to start taking his songs seriously, and his friends believed in them enough to play them with him. They just released their first full length record which they are all very proud of, and hope to be able to continue to keep playing bigger and better shows until the end of time!