Who is Ben Smolin?
Who is Ben Smolin? Ben is a local musician and performance artist. To be more descriptive, he does “a lot of weird performance art and really weird music.” Weird. That may speak to what, but not who. I don’t pretend to know anyone well enough to speak to who they are. I feel in order to do that, you have to truly know someone or atleast get to know them. We sought after Ben to learn more about who he is, but we were declined an interview, forcing us to speak to what he is.
First, let’s go back to the declined interview. Have you began to form any opinions yet? I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t necessarily expect the response that we got, especially given that Ben messaged us about his upcoming show this weekend at Syndiate Lounge. But I guess I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it either. “Of course,” I thought, “this makes perfect sense.”
Let me back up to the first time I saw Ben Smolin perform live. People don’t know what to think when they see him the first time. “Weird,” is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. People do formulate opinions fast. I wasn’t really sure what I thought the first time, but I am certain that “weird” was in there. “Weird,” in a really good way. I was intrigued. I haven’t really felt like that about a new band since I watched Man Man open up for Modest Mouse at the BJCC just over a decade ago. It was an experience, as weird as it was. Not only was I blown away by his music, but by his performance as art. I was intrigued enough to pose the question, ‘who is Ben Smolin?’
So, Ben Smolin declined our interview forcing us to write about what he is, not who he is. In case you have began to formulate any opinions, let me be completely clear here: Ben Smolin politely declined our interview. It’s not because he’s a rock star, an artist, or because anyone cares. It’s because he’s a self proclaimed, “boring father of two.” That much we did get out of him. And in the handful of times that I’ve met him, while I still can’t speak to who he is, I know he’s not an aloof or pretentious asshole. The exact opposite is true. He’s actually an incredibly nice guy. Every time we’ve shook hands, he’s been extremely personable, gracious and humble even. He is also very present and aware. Aware to know that this is a project, in music and art, that he is very dedicated to. I gather that he’s not as dedicated to this project as he is his family, but instead, he wants his music and art to stand alone so that people can formulate their own opinions. After all, isn’t that what art is?
So, Ben Smolin declined our interview. Not because he’s a rock star, an artist or that anyone cares. Perhaps it’s because we live in a world where nothing is private and nothing is sacred anymore. Perhaps it’s because family should be private and art and music should be sacred, and he’s honoring both. I don’t know… I don’t know Ben Smolin. But I do know that he’s nothing if not fearless to even attempt both. Have you any opinions?
We want to know what you think! Come out to Syndicate Lounge, this Saturday, July 8, to watch Ben Smolin perform live with Phantom Limb and Riley Moore and post your opinions, #whoisbensmolin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to tag us, @musicbham.
Doors 8:00 PM (event ends at 12:00 AM)
This event is 18 and over
Tickets are $8.00
“Cage With Wheels”
Recorded live at Monotonia Studios, 2017
This video is featured compliments of Ben Smolin and Monotonia. Monotonia is a web series designed to expose the pure raw talent of local/traveling artists and musicians.
Monotonia was created by Daniel Hargett and David Maclay
Audio engineers: David Allen and Daniel Brian Rhodes
Camera operations: Beau Latham
Lighting and Staging: Greg Henderson
Directed and Edited by Daniel Hargett