Tag: James Murphy

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.

Since their formation in 1995, the Ghent, Belgium-based electro pop/electronic music production and artist act Soulwax, currently comprised of brothers and founding members David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele, and Stefaan Van Leuvan have developed a reputation for continently pushing the boundaries of their music and creativity into new, innovative territory: along with Soulwax, the Dewaele Brothers tour as DJ duo 2manydjs, own and operate DEEWEE Records and DEEWEE Studios, are the founders of Radio Soulwax, a visual radio station and app, have collaborated with DFA Records‘ and LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy in the Despacio project. They’ve also remixed the work of LCD Soundsystem, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jagwar Ma, Warpaint, Tame Impala, Metronomy, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Gossip, Hot Chip, MGMT, and others.

Last year, BBC Radio 1 approached the acclaimed electronic music act about doing an Essential Mix, and as the Dewaele Brothers joke in press notes, “When we were approached to  make an Essential Mix for the BBC in May 2017, we chose to do what every sane human being would do, we decided to lock ourselves into our studio for two weeks and make an hour of new music based around the word ‘Essential’, instead of preparing a mix of already existing music.” Interestingly enough, the Belgian electronic music act the first to ever submit an entire hour’s worth of original material for a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. “It felt like a challenge,” the members of Soulwax explain in press notes, “and something no one had done. We loved the challenge of releasing a full record live on a radio show without people having any advance notice, and we always wanted to release it on DEEWEE after it was aired on Radio 1.”

Essential, the Belgian electronic act’s latest album is slated for a June 22, 2018 release, and the album, which was recorded in two weeks at their DEEWEE Studio finds the duo using the gear that they didn’t use for their celebrated From Deewee, an album that was recorded live and in one take. Each of album’s 12 tracks is centered around and titled with Essential — “Essential One” through “Essential Twelve,” and the album’s latest single “Essential Three” features a slick, club-banging, house music-like production consisting of thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, arpeggiated synths, a Kraftwerk-like motorik groove, some industrial clang and clatter and a sultry vocal sample. The track reveals an act that can manage slick, hyper-modern productions with a sweaty and soulful sultriness.