benAM is a Los Angeles-based progressive house DJ and producer. A few days ago he released amazing new EP 'Seraph.' We teamed up with him to ask him all about the new music, his influences, and crazy music scene of Los Angeles.
You have just released your new EP Seraph. What are the first reactions from your fans?
benAM: The reactions have been great! From what I've heard so far, people have been really enjoying the records. I threw a release party for the EP about a week ago, and getting to play the records live on a good system for people was a blast. Their reactions were amazing. My production quality has gone up a lot in the past year, so I think some people were shocked to hear the new release. 'Daze', especially, got people really dancing and grooving!
Can you tell us more about the writing process? Where do you see Seraph comparing to your earlier work?
benAM: For 'Seraph', I started writing, unfortunately, when I got news that a girl I knew passed away. I wasn't extremely close with her, but we hung out a few times and it definitely impacted me. 'Seraph' is a deep, emotional, insightful track, and that's where the inspiration came from. I spent a ton of time perfecting it, as I wanted to make sure the mixdown and technical details sounded great.
On 'Daze' I started writing not long after my girlfriend and I broke up. We were dating for about 4 years and things got really tough in the end for us. 'Daze' came about when I was feeling good and ready for the next stage of my life. I felt free, relaxed, and happy to focus on myself and the things that matter most. What I was going through and those good vibes spilled fully into 'Daze', turning it into a fun, happy club record. It’s definitely my favorite record I've made to date.
With this EP, I think my tracks are sounding more professional than a lot of my earlier work. This is the beginning of a new chapter for me. I've developed my personal sound/style a lot more, and things are sounding more unique! I'm very excited moving forward.
You come from the hectic music scene of Los Angeles. How would you describe the local music scene, and how hard was it for you to find your own place?
benAM: Los Angeles is an extremely difficult city to stand out as an artist. The unfortunate thing about the nightlife here is that at many clubs the music is not the main focus. Promoters want DJs who are going to sell them tables and make them money. So either you sell a lot of tables and become a DJ/promoter, or you are extremely well connected and have friends on the scene that can connect the dots. I’m hoping to build a relationship with promoters and nightlife people to keep the ball rolling. That’s why when I came back from college, I decided to heavily focus on production. I wanted to stand out as a producer, and eventually get bigger gigs from the music I make.
Progressive house is not really the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the LA. How did you get into it, and what attracted you to it?
benAM: I’ve always been a big fan of music. When David Guetta's 'When Love Takes Over' helped pioneer and introduce dance music to the US mainstream market, I was right there. I loved that record. I started paying more and more attention to the dance scene and starting falling in love with electronic music as a whole. Loved Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, and Avicii (mainly at the beginning of his career). From then, I started following Beat My Day and Dancing Astronaut, never missing a post. I was always excited to hear the industries new releases. The music connected with me deeply, and the many emotions the records had stirred a fire in me.
I started going to shows, seeing my favorite artists perform. I Loved the scene, the energy, and the good vibes that these artists were putting out. Somehow, I managed to get backstage at EDC Las Vegas, and I saw Steve Angello perform. I was right behind him and watched him control a massive crowd. Seeing this performance and the way the fans reacted to his music lit a fire of inspiration in me. That's when I knew that this is what I wanted to do.
With many house producers getting more into pop music in recent years, do you think it's the right time for the new generation to take the genre over?
benAM: I don't think it's necessarily about a new generation taking over the genre. I think it's more about genuine artists being real and able to take the risk to create something different. Something they are truly passionate about. Something that really means something to them, as opposed to wanting to create music that will be as successful as possible to the mainstream in an attempt to make as much money as possible. Dirty South, one of my favorite artists who has been around for years, is now making music that he loves, and he's having fun, taking risks, and not worried about how many records he sells. He's doing it because this is the music he is passionate about and he wants to share something real with his fans. Whether it's up-and-comers or veteran producers, I think we need artists who will take risks and be themselves no matter how different the final product is.