Name: Ben LaMar Gay
Occupation: Cornetist, composer, vocalist, improviser
Recent release: Ben LaMar Gay teams up with Paul Giallorenzo, Charlie Kirchen and Ryan Packard for the debut LP The End and the Beginning of their quartet RedGreenBlue. It is out now via Astral Spirits.
If you enjoyed this interview with Ben LaMar Gay and would like to find out more about his work, visit him on Soundcloud.
For insights from one of his collaborators, read our Tommaso Moretti interview.
[Read our Paul Giallorenzo interview]
[Read our Charlie Kirchen interview]
[Read our Ryan Packard interview]
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started out as a 5 year old person in choir of young folk.
NWA was my influence. The joy that lives inside the gathering that allows folk to bond over Efil4Zaggin
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
My entire body is activated when experiencing a good sound. I seek to activate bodies in spaces.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Slowly but surely. And fresh af.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I identify as a listener. I listen and share what I’ve heard through the filter of me being a listener.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Honesty, mixed in with a few cute lies that inspire future listeners to be fresh af.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I’m not sure. I’m interested in the tradition of keeping the future musical.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
My body. Keeping it up.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Wake up. Make a sound. Listen to the sound slowly die throughout the day. Go to sleep hoping that I get to press the loop button the next day.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I think of something. I ask a friend to be themselves inside of this something, just see if anything really matters.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Whatever comes natural and feels good to the participants.