Ben Wylen ’21’ : Always takes a step to give you – the listener – a seat at the table of that experience.

Ben Wylen / Photo: Svet Jacqueline

Gorgeous works from the voice of Ben Wylen delivers in every way. Again, and again. And from his full album ‘People Say’, his remembrance and climb towards bliss, always takes a step to give you – the listener – a seat at the table of that experience.

It follows in the footsteps of the heartrending and inspirational songwriting of Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, with nods to modern artists like Coldplay, Lady Gaga and Hozier, who he sees as carrying on that spirit.

Ben says, “Before I travelled to London to record this album, I made a bunch of demos in my apartment in LA. At the time, I didn’t really understand production so I thought that I was just getting the song ideas down in their raw form so that later on Danton and I could spruce them up. In hindsight, so many of my initial instincts about structure and sonics informed a lot of the production. When I showed the demos to Danton, he immediately saw what I was trying to achieve. Thanks to his incredible production ear, he took my Beatle-inspired “Oo’s and Ah’s” and helped shape them into new and interesting textures. He ran them through Organ Leslie’s and all other sorts of sound manipulators. In almost every song in some form or another you will probably notice these sounds tinkering around in the background and defining a big part of this record’s character.”

“When I was recording in State of The Ark Studio, we spent 12 hours (or more) each day. Danton would have me jump around from instrument to instrument. We’d do organ for an hour, then piano, then guitar, then blitz some vocals. Everything felt urgent and fresh while it was happening. Frankly, we didn’t have the time to stop and break down every idea so we went with our instincts. Over the course of a month the album started to take real shape. When Audrey Riley came in to record strings about half way through the process, it was a real turning point. All the sudden the songs came alive. They felt whole. I give her tons of credit because I am not a classical musician in any way. I spoke in vibes and she translated those vibes into notes on a score somehow. I still don’t think we will ever to be able to recreate the ending sequence of the song “veins.” It was a moment I’ll never forget and one of my proudest musical moments on the album! I pushed hard throughout the process to get the record into a place that I felt was perfect. “People Say” is the culmination of a years worth of constant work.”

Members of Elbow (drummer Richard Jupp) and Starsailor (bassist James Steflox), string arranger Audrey Riley (The Cure, The Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins) and Grammy Award winning mixing engineer Steve Fitzmaurice (Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi) helped flesh out the album to its gorgeous state.


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