The history of this artist is special and worthy of the subject of the novel. He was born in London into a family of glubokoverujushchy Catholic and since childhood loved music. It is strongly disliked his father, and at some point he forbade Benjamin to touch the tools, but the son secretly continued to play the piano elder brother when parents were at work.
Photo: Craig McDean.
He was fond of the poetry of William Blake, Eliot, works of composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie. In 16 years, the artist left school after covering most of the exams. He was able to pass successfully only English literature. Because of the conflict in the family the young man left homeless, experiencing serious psychological and financial difficulties, at the age of 19 he moved to Paris. First played in bars and hotels, but after was seen by one of the most influential booking agents, his career went up. In 2012, clementines made at the Cannes film festival, where he met with the businessman Lionel Bensemoun. Together they decided to create their own label, on which the artist could record their music. It was noticed by the French press, since then its popularity has grown. Today, Benjamin Clementine is one of the most exciting musical discoveries lately, creating an atmospheric, vibrant compositions in which are blended elements of different styles. He has his own style of play on keyboards and rich, memorable voice. “MK” talked to him about the way, unique creativity, and also about how, rebounding from rock bottom, to be able to still swim to the surface and take its place under the sun.
– Benjamin, your music is very delicate and fragile substance. What is the main idea you put into it?
– It is actually pretty corny. I want to convey to people the simple truth: they can do anything you want, if you really love it. The second album I associate most with the audience of the Museum, on the walls hang colorful paintings. In this I wanted to reflect all my love for the sound of the reverent attitude… that Must be why you called this music “fragile”… And also show the time to reflect the Zeitgeist.
– You perform a very personal, candid songs… what do you think, can music be a force that changes lives?
– Of course. If not music, I don’t know what I would be doing right now if I was alive or not… Since childhood, when I would sit at the piano all around became absolutely unimportant. Even if I understood that are at the bottom, was depressed that I was always saving. To explain this power is logically very difficult, it really is akin to magic. Now, in the XXI century actively develops the new technology, but now live music remains underestimated.
– Whether music can be destructive?
– Of course. And this music is like fast food. It’s cheap, so people eat it. Actually this pseudoforest really destructive. It kills the germs of taste. Constantly consuming commercial mass music in large quantities the person loses reference points that are progressively less able to feel beautiful if even this quality it had.
– Why do millions of people prefer this “art”?
His early years were hammered into his head that it is good that this is normal. They were brought up in the paradigm of musical fast food. When all of the speakers heard the same thing, you privykli to it… eventually it might even start to like you. The action is similar to the radiation. Few people think about the consequences. The people who create a similar product, don’t think about what you are doing. They just make a lot of money.
– Is it possible to educate the taste of the listeners?
– Only positive examples. Actually people have intuition, gut instinct. If you offer them something worthwhile deytstvitelno, they will pay attention to it. You just need to actively promote art, to help those who are engaged in it, instead of copying the lifeless patterns.
– Mixing styles, you can somehow determine the General direction in which it moves?
I don’t like to put any limits. It’s just my world, unreal reflection of reality. No matter what tools you have to use to the world stood out most clearly, as long as they conveyed the right mood, create images. So my style can be called simply “Benjamin Clementine” (laughs).
– In your songs you open your soul to complete strangers that you can not understand, not to hear. Aren’t you scared?
Sometimes I think about it. But the fact that I was in this big school of life: I grew up surrounded by people who don’t just didn’t hear me and didn’t understand and laughed at me, ignored me as I was really trying to break me. You know, I realize now that this was a very good experience. And in the end I won. I do what I love, what makes me feel in harmony with yourself. If someone does not understand this — it’s a private matter, and that’s fine. You can’t please everybody. Of course I want to be heard, just like every human on this planet. And to me the feeling when you find your soul mate.
Many critics compare what you’re doing, with the work of Leonard Cohen, Nina Simon. Such comparisons are nice for you, or the artist must be completely original?
– Of course, comparisons are possible, but do not forget that this is only one view… Someone my music may resemble something else. Everyone has their own perception. Great when sounds, melodies stimulate the imagination, but any artist, and indeed any person — an individual. In their two albums I must tell my story. They are different albums, but they are linked by events in my life, my emotions.
– You feel that all your dreams come true?
– Yes, I do believe in dream, believe in your ambitions. You get what you really want. And yet, for me, my creative ideas are equivalent dreams. If I manage to implement them in their compositions, so dreams come true.
– Benjamin, what made you decide its time to move out of London in Paris, and not, for example, in Berlin, which claims the title of European capital of contemporary musical culture?
– You rightly said – “claims”. This feels kind of artificial. I was just drawn in Paris, and it was fairly easy to get. I had no specific plan, I should have just for his wishes. And this is what came of it. In my opinion, turned out pretty good (laughs).