Following the review of ‘Toutes Les Couleurs” by Argentine Composer, Actor and Director, Ben Cura, it seemed only fitting for Musicvein readers to get to know the man behind the music and discover his journey as an artist.
Soon to release his debut EP ‘Extended Play No.1’ Ben Cura took a breather between work to discuss life and music.
MV: Ben, how has life treated you recently?
I’ve been very very lucky to be able to keep myself going but I know it’s been tough for many people. I was meant to be filming a feature film in 2-3 weeks but that’s been pushed back and right now it just feels like we’re in a stop/start period. Right now there’s a lot of tension, a mix from a variety of places and it’s highlighted a lot of things which we were bottling up not just individually but as a society at different levels, exasperated by the fact that people have a lot of time to be in front of their computers voicing stuff immediately online. As a result we’ve been mentally exhausting our brains with this constant juggling of negative energy, so I really hope to god that if we have to delay things here in the UK past the 21st June, that it won’t be for too long, I know it will be very difficult on artists and venues.
MV: You’re completely right there in that there’s a lot of tension around and we need to be able to rid this negative energy with positivity and moving forward. So you touched on your film work, I know you’re also an actor and director as well as composer – so tell me which Ben do you love the most?
Letting out a laugh, Erm wow, you’ve worded that in such a way I guess the answer is I really love myself – it’s becoming therapy! Yes, my main vocation and dedication is acting and film-making, and music is about telling stories too whether that involves words or more abstract feelings, so they all compliment each other.
MV: So you’re saying that the filming and the acting is the visual side of you and the music brings in the emotion?
It can be both, when I hear or play music, I have a cineasthetic experience, I see colours, different gradings of colour that evoke emotional reactions.
MV: And is that how you approach your music by visualizing the soundscape?
Yes, if you strip it down in the way I process music it is auditory and visual at the same time, then it evolves into space and the soundscape landscape. I like to create places where I can get away from the current place I’m in and that’s where it becomes interesting – I like to take people into a little capsule I’ve created.
MV: Which brings me on to your recent track ‘Toutes Les Couleurs’, now I know that the inspiration behind that was your time growing up in France but for me, that capsule you created sent me off to Argentina, I was picking up passionate flamenco within the music.
You know, as an artist/musician/writer whatever, you’re only responsible for 50% of what you’re offering up, the other half is down to the receiver and what they’re receiving will depend on their own experience, own memories and so that piece of work to one, will be a totally unique experience to the next. So, yes, ‘Toutes Les Couleurs’ was about my childhood experience in France but then I was born in Argentina so that too would come through.
MV: Now your music is Neo-classical in genre, what drew you to this of all genres out there?
I’m not really a fan of categorizing my music, I’m not married to anything. I was born into a classical music family and very well versed with the vocabulary of classical so to speak, but I’m drawn to all kinds of music. My soon to be released EP ‘Extended Play No.1’ is mixed with electronic music – more obvious in some tracks than others.
MV: OK, so which artists do you take inspiration from?
I really like Michael Kiwanuka, I think one of the things I love about his stuff is the authenticity of it all and in a world where people are auto-tuning their voices – you can just feel him in his execution, his writing, everything. I also like a lot of Motown, I mean I literally go from Eminem and DMX to the sweet celtic music of Jordi Savall and his old viola! Then I’ll listen to a russian artist called Pixelord who does some really aggressive electronic music – I genuinely don’t have one set genre I listen to, everything is inspirational, there’s no one genre or music that reigns supreme.
MV: Wow that’s some diverse musical taste, much like my own! Now we touched on your debut EP, tell me more about it and how it came about.
It came off the back of a film score I was doing. My good friend Tory Kittles, whom I met during a play ‘8 Hotels’ in Chichester some years back, passed my demo onto the director of the film and he loved it, so I began working on that last year during the second lockdown. It was while mixing and mastering the music for the film score that I decided to make the EP.
There’s a simple narrative that traces my journey growing up, from being born in Argentina to moving to Italy aged 2, moving to Paris at 6, then Spain and I’ve been in London since I was 18.
The six track EP features “Nacimiento” which means ‘birth’, “Argento” which is a word you call an Argentine person affectionately, the third one is “Veronese” – person from verona where I lived in Italy and the fourth “Toute Les Couleurs” when I lived in France and “Water”, “Coda” from my experience living in London. With every move to another country there was a feeling of adventure in starting again but also that feeling of how do these people operate in this new place and what does it mean for my identity – ultimately it was excitement and fear, if there’s an inkling of this in my work then I’ve done my job.
Toutes Les Couleurs by Ben Cura is available on all streaming platforms now. You can keep up to date with his music and filmwork on his socials