Jan 21 2013 – Very few things are as exciting as finding something new you love. Much like archaeologists that dig to find hidden treasures, we here at T-Mak World really enjoy trying to find new bands (or artists) that we love. Once we find such artists, we approach our favourites to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series. Today we set our focus on Ben Caplan.
Here is what Ben had to say to us:
1. Hey Ben, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?
Caplan: One thing I can tell you is that I am almost always in the band. I do the singing, and the guitaring. Pianoing. Sometimes banjoing. When I bring The Casual Smokers with me, I aim to bring vagabond for violining, a Buddhist for drumming, and a jazz man from Newfoundland for the bassing. Sometimes there’s a clarinet too.
2. How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
Caplan: The band was first formed in 2007. It subsequently was unformed. And then re-formed. And then re-shaped. Reunited. Revived. It then collapsed. Like a phoenix it burst into bright flames, and then turned to ash. And then was born again out of the ashes. The phoenix now lives in Paris, but writes frequently.
3. Who are some of your musical influences?
Caplan: Mostly I am interested in sounds. And the things that people say, do, and write down. Also, recordings have been very important. Especially for hearing specially crafted sounds that cannot be readily recreated without the presence of the creators in the room.
4. So based on the above how would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it?
Caplan: For now, we’ll call it folk-blues with a healthy dose of dancing rabbis.
5. Why should a music fan come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them on any given night?
Caplan: You will laugh. You will raise your voice. You will feel human. It may scare you. In a good way.
6. What is your favorite single line of lyrics you have written and why?
Caplan: There is no such thing as a dying man. We’re alive till the moment we’re dead.
7. What does 2013 hold for you?
Caplan: A present.
8. Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.
Caplan: I would love to join Leonard Cohen on his current would tour for his new album, Old Ideas. I bet Leonard travels in style. I’d love to be on the tour that a much older man agrees to take on. And I’d love to learn from Leonard.
9. What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?
Caplan: In the 1920s, the musical community was in an uproar that radio and recorded music were ruining the sales for sheet music and undermining the music economy, and destroying the livelihood of composers around the world. Some lost their jobs. Others thrived. Change is uncomfortable, but music is immutable. Streaming will likely play a big role. No one can say for sure. The only thing we can worry about is writing great songs, learning to master ones instrument – be it voice, saxophone, piano, or otherwise, and providing audiences with authentically joyful and cathartic moments.
10. Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
Caplan: You can find my music in physical and digital form at http://bencaplan.ca. If you really do need a new t-shirt after your old one wears out, you can order a new one with “Ben Caplan” branding on it.
11. At the end of 2012 we published our picks for top 10 albums of 2012. Lists like those are always a reflection of personal tastes so if you were making the list what are some albums you would you have had on it?
Caplan: Well, I can’t get enough of Charles Bradley, No Time For Dreaming. I also really love Barchords by Bahamas. And I recommend The Modern Grass, High on the Mountain. Oh – and Jennah Barry , Young Men.
12. Any closing remarks for our readers?
Caplan:: Don’t do drugs. Unless you really want to. Then… enjoy yourself. But be careful.
Thanks so much to man!
Ben will be on tour in the very near future and you can check out below to see when he is in your area.