Tag: Degraw Sound

New Video: Ben Rice Longs for The Old New York in “Everything Changes”

Ben Rice is an accomplished singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer and owner of Brooklyn-based DeGraw Sound. As a producer and session guitarist, Rice has worked with the likes of Norah Jones, Jonas Brothers, Valerie June, Fletcher and The Skins. As a guitarist, Rice has played in couple of indie rock projects that signed with Warner Music Group and toured internationally with Arctic Monkeys, Band of Skulls, The Bravery and Brendan Benson.

Rice’s self-produced, self-engineered and self-mixed, full-length debut Future Pretend was written and recorded at his DeGraw Studio during the terrifying and deadly first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sociopolitical upheaval of that year. The album which features contributions from the likes of producer Gian Stone, who has worked with Justin Bieber and Maroon 5; Norah Jones’ and Mavis Staples’ Pete Remm (keys); The Autumn Defense’s and Norah Jones’ Greg Wieczorek (drums); Raffaella’s and Leyla Blue’s Charlie Culbert (drums, production) and Eighty Ninety’s Abner James and Harper James is a personal and artistic reset for Rice, who saw Future Pretend’s creative process as an opportunity to process seismic life changes and connect with our tumultuous present. Featuring nine reflective songs that thematically finds Rice offering intimate and personal ruminations on culture, our society and personal evolution. Sonically, the album finds the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, producer and engineer embracing what he dubs “big city Americana,” which isn’t really about cowboy shirts, boots and twangy guitars but about yearning for a halcyon days.

Future Perfect’s latest single, the Damn the Torpedoes-era Tom Petty-like “Everything Changes” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, twangy guitars an anthemic hook and the sort of Romantic yearning for the past that New Yorkers are known for. The song finds Rice’s narrator lamenting about the passing of time and the inevitability of aging while shouting out beloved places and a long lost innocence. Certainly, as a 40 something, who finds his city phasing him out while losing the places I loved, the song hits me in a deeply personal and familiar place. As James Murphy once sardonically yet wisely sung “New York, I love you but you’re bringing me down . . .”

“I wrote ‘Everything Changes’about watching the city I grew up in change and realIzing that every generation of New Yorkers has probably experienced something similar,” Rice explains. “The things that to me feel like authentic aspects of the city that are now slipping away might have felt like the strange and new things that ushered in change to previous generations.”

Directed by Abner James, the recently released video for “Everything Changes” is split between footage of Rice and his backing band performing the song in a backlit studio and James Spenser Saunders, who plays a young New Yorker, walking the streets of the Lower East Side and stopping at some of the places Rice references in the song. Shot during the pandemic, the video captures New York at its eeriest with beloved bars, clubs and eateries closed or barely opened. The video captures a city going through some incredibly unforeseen and unimaginable changes, the seemingly unending sense of unease and uncertainty of our world and a palpable loss of innocence.

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the emerging Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, keyboardist and indie pop artist Sophie Colette. Colette initially relocated to New York to pursue fashion design, but she pivoted her ambitions to music after being scouted at a high school reunion by The Party Faithful‘s bassist. About a month after that, the Brooklyn-based pop artist found herself contributing vocals, keys and synths for the band and playing with the band at venues across the New York Metropolitan area. During that same period, she met Degraw Sound producer Ben Rice, who she later presented with a stack of sketchbooks filled with lyrics and visual palettes, which became the genesis of her solo work.

Now, as you may recall “Tonite,” off Colette’s debut EP Strangers and Lovers was featured at Jasmine Chong’s runway presentations to the editors of VogueWWD, Elle and others during New York Fashion Week 2017. Selected footage from her Stephen Dirkes-directed music video for “Get Close” was nominated for Best Creative Concept, Art Direction and Visual Effects at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. And building upon a growing profile, Colette supported Strangers and Lovers with a European tour with Berlin-based indie-folk project The Crystal Elephant.

Since then, Colette has released a handful of shimmering pop singles that have caught the attention of the blogosphere, including my dear friends and colleagues at Glamglare, Adam’s World Blog,  as well as receiving airplay on French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM. Last year, I wrote about one of those singles ““Would You Like It?,” a dreamy pop confection centered round shimmering synths and Colette’s achingly vulnerable vocals.  The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist began this year with a live set at Rockwood Music Hall that featured her gorgeous chamber pop rendition of Cheap Trick’s smash hit “I Want You To Want Me.

Interestingly, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s first bit of original music of this year finds her collaborating with highly-regarded New York-based singer/songwriter, electro pop artist and producer Julie Kathryn, best known for her solo recording project I Am Snow Angel. The end result is the minimalist and ethereal “In Love a Little.”  Centered around atmospheric synths and electronics, twinkling synths and Colette’s vulnerable vocals, the song manages to sound otherworldly while evoking the swooning pangs of a new crush that has begun to turn into love. 

“I met Julie at her Mothership album release show at National Sawdust in January 2019. I didn’t know anything about her prior to the show, and was pretty floored by her exploration of sound, the choreography of her set and accompanying visuals, and her overall vibe,” Colette recalls in a lengthy statement. “I resonated with her spirit and felt a bit of a kinship even as I was watching from the audience. After her set I felt compelled to say ‘hi’ and introduce myself, even though I was intimidated as she was swarmed with other guests and press. She was so warm, gave me a big hug, and suggested I reach out to her to chat soon. It was that simple.

“A few days later I already had ‘In Love a Little’ in mind that I wanted to send to her, hoping she would want to produce it. It had been sitting in my collection of demos for a while and I hadn’t landed on a producer for it. My vision of the song was to have a supernatural slant, ethereal and romantic and weird, which would require a different sonic approach than what I’d done before with other producers. Luckily she loved the demo and we started collaborating.

Working with Julie was an amazing experience – it was very hands on and communicative. We sat side by side and made decisions together, from the tracking to the comping to the mixing. I learned so much about Ableton and the possibility of different soundscapes that could be created outside of traditional instrumentation.

“It became apparent to me that working with a female producer, who inherently applied these types of sounds to her own work, came with the advantage of being able to feel the same nuances of emotion without having to explain them to each other. Each session was an open-ended conversation, and quite nurturing to be honest. Something about that female-to-female energy in a room is really powerful when the ego isn’t there. Not to throw shade at any of the amazing male producers and engineers I’ve worked with, but there’s almost a different quality of ‘safe space’ and freedom when working with a female producer. I felt comfortable to be totally vulnerable and emotional all around, without feeling self-conscious of my sensitivities.

I find it hard to explain in words beyond that…perhaps the best way is to say, ‘girl power’ ? :)”

 

Sophie Colette is an up-and-coming Brooklyn-based indie pop artist. Initially relocating to New York to pursue fashion design, Colette pivoted her ambitions to music after being scouted at a high school reunion by The Party Faithful‘s bassist. About month later, Colette wound up contributing vocals, keys and synth for the band, playing with the band at venues across the New York metropolitan area. Interestingly, during that time she met Degraw Sound producer Ben Rice, who she later presented with a stack of sketchbooks filled with lyrics and visual palettes, which eventually became the genesis of her solo work.

“Tonite,” off her debut EP Strangers and Lovers was featured at Jasmine Chong’s runway presentation to the editors of VogueWWD, Elle and others during 2017’s New York Fashion Week. Selected footage from her Stephen Dirkes-directed music video for “Get Close’ was nominated for Best Creative Concept, Art Direction and Visual Effects at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. And building upon a growing profile, Colette supported Strangers and Lovers with a European tour with Berlin-based indie-folk project The Crystal Elephant.

Since then the New York-based indie pop artist has released a handful of shimmering pop singles that have caught the attention of the blogosphere, including my dear friends at Glamglare and elsewhere, as well as airplay on French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM. Her latest single “Would You Like It?” continues an ongoing run of dreamy synth pop centered around Colette’s plaintive and vulnerable vocals, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. But underneath the slick disco-tinged production, the song’s narrator is plagued by a familiar self-doubt — the self-doubt that comes about when you’ve fallen for someone and you can’t quite figure out if you should tell that person how you feel. Putting your heart on the line is nerve racking in itself; but the possibility of rejection seems like the end of your world. 

“I fell in love – again. It took me a while to admit that to myself, and even longer to figure out how to handle it,” Colette explains in press notes. “It’s such a vulnerable, intense, confusing, and heart-shaking experience, compounded by the risk of rejection. What if it’s just a fabricated mind game and completely unrequited? When should I say something, if at all? I was overwhelmed and having conversations with myself on what to do and how to say it, and writing this song was a way to get out of my head and connect with reality. No more hiding.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Colette’s single “Would You Like It?” – slated for July 19, 2019 release – explores the emotional dilemma of deciding whether or not to tell someone how you feel – namely, that you’ve fallen in love. Produced by Ben Rice (The Candles, Elliot & The Ghost, Queue) at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, New York, the track builds from a simple chord progression to a dreamy holographic soundscape, supporting Colette’s lyrical love letter with layers of vocal effects, electronic keys, guitars, and a driving pulse. 

“I fell in love – again. It took me a while to admit that to myself, and even longer to figure out how to handle it. It’s such a vulnerable, intense, confusing, and heart-shaking experience, compounded by the risk of rejection. What if it’s just a fabricated mind game and completely unrequited? When should I say something, if at all? I was overwhelmed and having conversations with myself on what to do and how to say it, and writing this song was a way to get out of my head and connect with reality. No more hiding.” 

Sophie will support “Would You Like It?” with a music video directed by Karina Vidal, and performances at festival showcases this summer – Independent Venue Week in July in New York City, and Degraw Fest Unplugged at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, New York on August 2 at 6:00pm. 

“Would You Like It?” is the latest in a series of singles from Colette. Her most recent release “Version,” an intimate cinematic track inspired by a toxic relationship, premiered on Asymmetric Magazine for its “dreamy, lush sound [and] captivating vocals,” and has been compared to Tangerine Dream by Sound Thread Music Blog for its “gently pulsing, down-tempo atmosphere.” “Version” was added to TuneCore’s Spotify playlist, “TuneCore Presents: Music Made Me,” and aired on indie French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM alongside Dido, upon release. Her live debut at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall cemented “Version” as “Colette’s most stunning work to date.” (glamglare

Colette’s former releases have premiered on influential blogs such as Popdust, glamglare and CelebMix. Her single “Run Around,” released in late 2018 about challenging lip service in relationships, was selected as glamglare’s “song pick of the day,” and lauded by Emerging Indie Bands as an emotionally intense track with a “wistful melancholic…romantic demeanour…a testament to both composition and vocal ability.” 

Her single “That Kind Of Love,” which Colette released to coincide with her summer performance at Degraw Fest 2018, has been featured by media platform ULTRA as the exclusive soundtrack for their videos. 

Previous tracks have aired on indie French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM and playlisted at New York Fashion Week, and her accompanying short films have received nominations and acclaim from fashion film festivals including the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.