**** THANKS To family, friends, followers etc! ****
(AS OF FEBRUARY 2014 - UPDATED)
NEW SETS on the way, stay tuned...
Ben is a veteran of the underground trance scene, having been exposed to its hypnotic influences around 17 years ago. His musical journey started much earlier though...
He has dabbled in production over the years ("no releases as of yet, but that may change shortly..."), and is now studying an innovative production course under the mentorship of Richard Hinkson AKA Interpulse - a name many people will be familiar with! (links to the website can be found on the Interpulse Intuition FaceBook page)... :)
An amateur dj since 1998. Ben has occasionally appeared at various parties and gigs around Adelaide, sometimes jumping on the decks - usually as NE-1 or ??? (codes for a spare slot in the lineup) - and, most recently (at the time of writing) on SoundPond.net with the Psy-Ence Fiction crew and heat one of Massive Hard Dance Icons at H.Q. In Adelaide, and the 2011 reconnect festival held by the Astral Lotus crew, and numerous small beach gatherings.
Some punters may remember a certain warehouse party in Hocking Street, Brompton a few years ago ("cheers to Paul, Mark and Nicky for that gig!") where Ben, Tim Young (playing didge) and a few live musicians dropped a marathon set from around midnight until dawn, with the pace barely letting up at all...
He is now aiming to move into a more professional role as a dj, after needing some "me time". Moves to recommence production are underway, pending some upgrades for the studio.
Long story, literally...
A life long music lover, Ben could apparently hum his way through entire albums by the age of three ("I have to "blame" my parents for that...") and had already busted a good number of toy instruments as a toddler - perhaps after watching rock bands smashing their instruments on television...
"Yeah, its a long story but to sum it up, I always had a huge affinity with sound. I always had this weird feeling at a very young age that I was older. Having pieced things together - and with the aid of a spontaneous memory regression - I now understand that I became conscious while in the womb. I'm sure we all do, but I retained that memory somehow... My personality type is INFP, and I think this memory may have something to do with that. I know I'm not alone too, there are some interesting articles online about prenatal consciousness."
"Birth is the most traumatic and stressful experience I remember, imagine going 30 rounds with somebody like Mike Tyson when he was at the top of his game. I was exhausted!! I think it's a thing we PREFER to forget! We wipe the memory clean to avoid trauma, basically..."
"By contrast, gestation is a HEAVENLY existence!! The thing about it though is that sound was my first sensory experience. A heartbeat like constant deafening thunder which I felt going right through me (DOOF, DOOF, DOOF, DOOF !!), always there. Strange, squawking, inquisitive, alien bird-calls that I can hear in my mind right now if I contemplate the dawn of time (sounds made by the mother's digestive system - called borborygmi), the sound of my mother's voice rising and falling in pitch, the sounds of breath and the strange way the environment moved with it, and another constant sound like when you take a shower and rinse your hair out and the water runs over and into your ear canals (which I find very comforting and relaxing), like a muffled rumbling noise..."
"There were other things too, a dim orange-reddish light, a sensation of being immersed in a hot, sulphurous spring - breathing and swallowing the amniotic fluid I was immersed in - without bodily awareness or any sense of separation, being part of something greater, able to contemplate all kinds of abstract feelings, utterly at peace... The sounds were overwhelming but I remember being used to them and comfortable, and I DO remember hearing music while I was there..."
"I even regressed to the point of conception and that FREAKED ME RIGHT OUT in a good way!! As I rushed backwards in time, following the memory stream, it suddenly FORKED, just like a laser beam striking a crystal, and THAT made me sit bolt upright rather quickly! It suggested that I had existed BEFORE that moment somehow - which has huge ramifications for me not only regarding the concept of genetic memory or something related to it, but also as an individual at the very least - but that is ANOTHER story..."
Ben was first coached in playing recorder ("Bloody Hippy !! I'm too rusty on that wild-thang now!") at age 9 and guitar ("Gotta say I'm pretty shocking right now on that too!...") at age 10, also taking weekly singing lessons from age 7 to 13 as part of the curriculum ("massive thanks to Judy Kuchel, Jenny Smart - world's best teacher IMHO - and Geoff Rowe for that start").
"I'm keen to educate people about music, perhaps not so much in the traditional sense, more holistically. As I learned the 12 notes, things became very clear for me very quickly (it was easier than learning the 26 letters of the alphabet and even more natural). I'd already got to know each note very well at a young age - I would sit and hold notes in my mind - but knowing what to call each one was like unlocking a cosmic code! Later it was like a hi-fi system in my head. I'd always had some trouble studying especially in high school because it was a really difficult time for me and anytime my stress levels hit a certain threshold, it would switch on - and pretty loudly, too! It was always incredibly clear, I could sometimes run it backwards, with any tune I had memorised, or else I could freestyle it and write music on the fly, even in new styles and looking back, some of it reminds me of the stuff I like to get filthy to these days. It is odd too but that audio engine which my brain is running even has the ability to translate speech into different accents phonetically..."
"I found that I had not only a musical ear but so-called perfect pitch - that makes key mixing a cinch! I found that I could play pretty much anything simple enough on any instrument I touched. Ironically that meant that I felt limited by focusing on any one instrument to any great extent, except guitar which I was ok at, but I couldn't do it on its own forever... I still have the urge to get myself a drum kit to mess around on too, though!"
Ben later studied further with teachers Virginia Lakeman, Cynthia Ridley, Edith Craig, Geoff Bridgland and guitarist and instructor Iain Davidson ("thanks to each of you") learning drums, keyboards and guitar, and was invited to study percussion under Ryszard Pusz ("I really wish I'd been in the right state of mind to pursue that path at the time!").
After that, Ben studied briefly with singers and vocal coaches Chris James and Wendy Grace ("amazing teachers! unfortunately my voice still sounds strange to me - even though they taught me how to make the most of it!"). He then co-hosted a weekly harmonic toning workshop for a while from home ("we all produce vocal harmonic sounds as part of everyday speech e.g. vowels and a few of the consonants"), and at one point took an opportunity to do a workshop in Adelaide hosted by the Gyuto Monks of Tibet, who taught the class how to recreate their haunting vocal harmonics and sub-harmonics.
"Now I'm bragging, but later on I somehow even managed to figure out how to coach my girlfriend to sing in sub-harmonic tones (she had also attended the Tibetan Monks' class), and imitate a male speaking voice, although it was a little rough on her throat I think - so, WOMEN CAN IMITATE A MALE ADULT VOICE IF THEY CHOOSE TO, basically you just start with a soft growl until the lower octave kicks in, then speak softly or just hold a note. As far as I can tell, the difference with the adult male larynx is that it appears to produce a subtle sub-harmonic automatically, which kicks in and drops out during singing or if the voice is raised. The female larynx can still produce the sub-harmonic as well - I don't know many women who aren't able to produce a growl - but it takes a relaxed focus to make a steady tone. I don't know if I can tell you much more than that, but you can look me up on gmail if you have a question...".
Ben has lately been living proof that life is what happens when you have other plans, but is now committed to following a career in music, in whatever satisfying way that can be done. He has worked as a roadie on and off for the past 12 years for a little extra cash here and there ("I had the honour of moving gear for Iron Maiden in 2011 and just missed a chance to tweak their audio setup with Ben Shapiro (DAMN IT!), and I was able to see Tool perform at B.D.O. once from the audio booth. It was pretty cool - especially when somebody from Rammstein tried to screw things up by attacking the drum kit with a flame thrower and Danny Carey was so professional you wouldn't have noticed him swapping kits unless you were watching the stage - I was gobsmacked!").
Ben was also strongly inspired by the electronic music of pioneering artists such as Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis Papathanassiou and bands like Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. He has also listened to a lot of metal bands and virtuoso guitarists, jazz, blues, classical, ethno-tribal music, and "just about anything", but now is more into the modern electronic styles.
"Many people don't take electronica that seriously, and I can't blame them. Anyone can slap a hard core dance track together in half an hour. I think a lot of people who take the effort to play instruments feel that way about it. Instruments take discipline and dedication which I must say I respect, and technology can make it LOOK so easy, but it probably isn't quite so easy because you still try to push your own boundaries just as much. It's a little unfortunate because trained musicians can write fantastic electronica, especially if they blend in a traditional instrument here and there."
"What gets played in the media is tailored to the market so musicians don't always hear a lot in it. The mainstream is less adventurous by default because it's a meeting place for different styles and has a finite range of accessibility, not to mention the influence of commercial interests. When your ears want more of a challenge, less compromise and a more rewarding experience you then tend to go underground to hear what is at the frontier in whichever styles you most enjoy."
"Digital music technology keeps improving constantly, resulting in clearer, cleaner, more expansive and open soundscapes. The sounds become richer and deeper, more absorbing. There is so much more room in the mix for all of the sounds to come through and they each have razor sharp clarity and even the softer sounds really smack you upside the head (the bigger ones knock you right out of the park)!! You need to hear it live on a powerful system, through a high spec audio card, in an outdoor setting without buildings all around reflecting the sound back to really understand its appeal or to believe how fat it sounds! I reckon it won't be too long before you'd need a Blu-Ray disc just to hold a single album at full quality. It makes me wonder whether analogue sound will always be superior to digital sound, or if they may at least become indistinguishable to the casual listener one day."
Although possessing a reasonably solid background in musical theory (I forgot how to read music years ago, but it's impossible to transcribe a psy-trance track anyway!), Ben would also like to pursue studies in audio engineering ("I feel like it's practically essential these days, computers are changing the game when it comes to music production, right across the board, and recording and live sound techniques are also changing. Electronic styles demand the latest equipment and techniques to exploit their full potential, and to my way of thinking that sets them apart somewhat from the older styles, it's a whole new world waiting to be explored. I see the computer as the most flexible musical instrument there is - besides the brain - but that's just how I look at it...").
"I love spinning tunes for a crowd!, I was always pretty rough at beat mixing but key mixing comes naturally if you have a musical ear (BIG SECRET - WE ALL DO !!... It helps to develop it when you're young - anyone older trying it may want to ask their g.p. if it's safe to take Brahmi to help facilitate the growth of synaptic connections that will occur - but it's the same principal as recognising colours, which are not easy to describe at all, but are each very distinct). Now that I have my own equipment (big up to Freestilyr and Samhainn for that one!) I am slowly improving my technique, and sorting out my beat mixing. I don't really get into turntablism or scratching it up that much - even though I'd try it for fun - as my collection is on CD's. I prefer to let the tracks do the work but the magic that comes out of mixing tunes together keeps me fascinated. I am looking forward to producing my own work and mixing it in and eventually doing some live sets too...".
"Finally after much contemplation I settled on an old nickname a close friend gave me years ago, took me a while (in case you were wondering it's pronounced BEN-zoyd-TRIP-ta-meen...)."
"Normally I like to start my sets with something a little different, and I enjoy playing with various positive, tender and powerfully uplifting moods within a handful of genres. Music connects to emotions more directly than pretty much anything else I know of... I prefer to fly as opposed to wallowing, but a little tenderness can really compliment a strong positive groove. It's the design process in action and it's all about contrast of elements for maximum effect (thanks to Stuart Gluth for teaching me that!), and it works both ways, I like how a tender song can seem even more so with a crackling synth line hidden in the mix threatening to tear it up, or a big kick driving it along sometimes."
"I have no real idea where I'm headed musically right now so I find that REALLY exciting. If I had to guess I would say that psychedelic and progressive trance have influenced me pretty strongly but I also love glitchy, funky, trippy sounds, tracks with guitars, world music, raunchy house, stupid funny stuff, downbeat, ambient and experimental music, even ancient music. Sort of anything that broadens my sense of time or culture - from ancient to futuristic sounds, but it's gotta be fun and it has to groove somehow - beyond that anything goes."
"I cant wait to get back into production as soon as I can get my system up to spec but it's all down to the usual bullshit finance issues at the moment XP' ' '... For now I am dj-ing partly to fix that by doing something I believe in if possible, but also largely to improve the way in which I listen to music, which will hopefully enhance my production skills (I've noticed many dj's who - whether they start out doing that or as musicians - end up becoming brilliant producers. Alexander Coe - Sasha - is a great example, I still dig out the Wip3out disc just to hear the soundtrack, it's insane...)."
"I really love the scope that modern music technology has to express beauty, power, humour and intelligence, and to juxtapose those elements in endlessly fascinating ways - in order to create mind-blowingly uplifting experiences. I remember a Protoculture set at rainbow serpent which had me practically levitating! I see that as the true purpose of music though, it's all about enjoying life to the fullest. Keep on doofin... Hope to see yas out there, innit!"
A.K.A. "Tha LOOSE MOOSE" / NEPTUNE / DISCO-BALL-HEAD / U. C. BISQIT-RYDER / B. C. BISQIT-RODE / R. C. MATHER-FARQUHAR / SXCDJ / LAWNMOWERHEAD / PiTHON - and occasionally "idiot"... :/
"A big hello and thank you to my natural and extended families, both off and on SoundCloud (including Samhainn, Irene S, Blessed Life, Certified Kush, Overlord4Life, Persistent Flow, and anyone else I forgot to mention...), my friends the K family for their support, my neighbours, friends and SoundCloud buddies (you know who you are, sorry if I'm not following you yet!!!), Tim Francis for the nickname, Tim Young for advice regarding my audio, Danielle Gawler, (and once again) Samhainn, Blessed Life, Persistent Flow, Certified Kush, and Overlord4Life, and also Kittenkaboodle, Tim Brierly and Mum and Dad - for the encouragement - thanks to all of you, it means the world to me!! Tony Fardone for his advice and techno-boffinry, the Astral Lotus collective for slotting me in now and then, Tony Newport for introducing me to quality electronica in the first place - I always feel the presence of your spirit in the music matey !! AND Steve Law a.k.a. Zen Paradox for writing THAT tune that DID IT for me... , Oli, Vixen and Jota for showing me the ropes, Nate Raubenheimer a.k.a. Protoculture for some valuable advice, to any and all new followers, thanks to YOU - for reading this ridiculously long bio, and anyone else who has supported me in this adventure thus far - or who may do so in the future... many thanks!!"
"Biggest thanks of all and massive respect to all of the amazing artists whose incredible work I am featuring in my sets. Also to any who I may be fortunate enough to work with in future. I hope to be among you producing and writing again soon. What I am doing now would not be possible without your encouragement, inspiration, hard work and dedication. You people utterly rock!!!!"
Peace & Love,
ENQUIRIES AND BOOKINGS WELCOME...
NAMASTE !! :D