Ben Lee Goes “Deeper Into Dream”
When Ben Lee answers the phone from his Los Angeles home for our interview I can hear the high spirits and peace in his voice. I also hear a child in the background.”Yes, that’s my two year old daughter Goldie”, he tells me. I tell him of my own daughters, who are adults now, and how that it all goes by so fast but I think he knows all that. I get the sense that being a Dad has been something of a life changer for him and a role he accepts with much joy. The 33 year old Sydney, Australia native, who has been on the scene since his teens, is about to release a new record called Deeper Into Dream this week.
First we chat a bit about Rebirth Of Venus, his 2009 release that I own and revisited prior to our interview. I ask about one song in particular,”I Love Pop Music”. It’s a catchy and upbeat creation by Lee, but the lyrics talk about many of the problems facing us today both political, social, and environmentally. ”That was the time right before Obama was elected and I was feeling and expressing about all that was going on right then”. He points out that a lot is still going on and points to the Wall Street protests taking place. I ask him about crafting the perfect pop song and what it is about certain songs that makes them memorable. ”It’s about tapping into something ancient, something that is tribal or communal. ”We agree that a great song has the power to transport you to a specific memory or place. I ask if there is a song that does that for him and he mentions a song from his youth “Left To My Own Devices” by the Catch Up Boys. ”It’s a great melody with dark lyrics”. He then sings a line or two for me. A mini phone performance by Ben, very cool. For someone who has been doing music for so long I ask if he hears anything new out there. ”It all depends on what you are listening to. If you are listening to abstract jazz then a song by Rhiannon sounds fresh or vice versa. It’s all about what you are feeling at the time. Composing a song for me is about expression not innovation.It’s about tapping into a bigger whole.”
The new record Deeper Into Dream is the result of some work Ben did with a dream analyst. ”Dreams are a deeper reality and can tell a lot about a person. You may think you know a person but dreams tell a lot about who we really are.” He explains to me that the songs came from his dreams and those of his friends. ”I would record their dreams when they came over and have some of those on the record”. Deeper Into Dream was released October 11th. Ben Lee will appear at the Electric Factory on October 17th opening for Sarah Bareilles.