Monday, July 22, 2024
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Q&A with American artists BenBen & Lily Desmond

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Hey both! Can you start by telling us who you are?

L: Hi! Lily here! We are BenBen + Lily, a dynamic duo consisting of one indie rock veteran and one chamber pop debutant, respectively. Ben has an unforgettable singing voice and a spiritually soothing music-making style, complimenting my ornamental violin and vocals as well as my dark composing sensibilities.

How would you describe your sound in a few words?

L: Magic folk rock, emphasis on the magic 🙂

B: Magic, definitely. We’re trying to distinguish ourselves from the psychedelic catch-all descriptor, because it’s not that. If classic-era Smashing Pumpkins, Belle and Sebastian and Alt-J created a hybrid creature, I think that’s a little like what we sound like. With a ton of violin.

What’s your creative process like while working together?

L: It’s so much fun! We will often send each other song seeds and nurture the growth together, with one taking over music while the other takes over lyrics. We have different but adjacent senses of weirdness that help give an appropriate edge to our writing and playing.

B: I am a visual guy – it’s not synesthesia, but every song I’ve made is basically a soundtrack to a video that’s happening in my head. When I’m working with Lily, visions will just appear to me in this overwhelming way that is unlike any other time in my history as a writer.

q&a with american artists benben & lily desmond

What made you want to collaborate on a full EP? And what can you tell us about ‘White Elephant’, now that it’s finally out?

L: Ben found me via Instagram (the one time the algorithm actually worked)! He heard a kindred spirit in my music, someone who was also trying to cram as much magic and supernatural connection into their music as possible. And he was right! We connected and began working together so easily.

White Elephant is a launching point for our collaboration, jumping into a new phase of our artistic careers. Truly, it’s just a taste of what’s to come – they are the gorgeous trinkets that you discover in an antique desk drawer at the front of the antique shop. Wait til you see what we’re making in the back!!!

B: Lily helped me re-write and record almost 1/4 of my debut album Sincere Gifts one week before it was uploaded to Spotify, and we went right from that crazy session into an intense tour of the UK. We came back from that trip as basically creative brother and sister. I have one more solo album in the future that I’m incredibly proud of, but beyond what’s already in the can, I’m not really looking to make new music that Lily isn’t a part of.

What do you hope people will take from the EP?

L: We hope that people will come away from listening to our EP with a sense of hope. Both Ben and I struggle with anxiety and have proven to ourselves and each other time and time again that trusting in the people you love and creating the world you hope to live in is one of the best ways to grow through it. We hope people feel able to make their own leap of faith into the world they want to make!

What keeps you making music?

L: For me, I have no better way of soothing and expressing myself. I know that if I don’t make music I will shrivel like an unwatered plant.

B: The term ‘White Elephant’ comes from the days of travelling circus attractions. Despite being exotic + amazing, the white elephant requires so much expensive maintenance that it’s hard to justify keeping. At times, my music has felt like that for me – but, thankfully, I’m not trying to make this elephant do tricks or serve me. I just love snuggling with the elephant. Especially now that Lily’s in the picture, there’s always a new discovery to be made, or a crazy emotional event to process through two hearts instead of one.

BenBen: Instagram – X

Lily Desmond: Instagram

Tom L.

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