Lazarus Benson Interview
SBS: Alright brother – stoked to have you with us! You’ve had a busy year so far Mr. Benson, yessir. Not that you haven’t had busy years in the past, but 2021 has seemed to have you fired up & ready to rock…you’ve cranked out at least four cuts that I know of so far…”Monster,” “Bright,” “Like You,” and more recently with “Losing My Mind” featuring Grimm…and in knowing you just a little, I’d be willing to bet there’s still more to come before this year is up. So what’s the deal? What changed? Was it just a matter of having more time on your hands throughout this past year to make some music happen – or is there more to it than that? What’s fuelin’ your fire right now Lazarus – what’s the goal, what’s driving you forward? In terms of 2021, what defines success for you, and how will it set up your next year?
LB: I definitely have more to come. I think after such a long break and coming back to making music I realize that I feel pretty good making music and I really enjoy it. I was dealing with some issues of my own and was trying some other things out and that just didn’t go as planned. I was a magician for a really long time I would do a lot of shows. Things didn’t really work out for me there though. That is one reason no one had seen more music. Then that changed once things in magic started taking huge downturn for me. I tried ways to make myself better for myself as a magician because I really loved it. However though, it came to an end. Things just were not good for me there and I started to hate it more and was not happy trying to build myself as a magician anymore. I spent most of my life there since I was six years old and with music. I realized it was time to move on. Sometimes it’s better to leave something you love to be happy for yourself at the end. I also realized I had huge success in 2018 making music. I was the 3rd best independent growing rock artist on a rock blog that talks about top growing artists. That is why I am back here. That and people just really love the music. I thought I would give music a shot again. This is definitely the outlet for me. That’s what ultimately changed – I was just going through some things mentally and trying to find myself. My goal is to help others with my music any way I can. I come from a very rough background as a kid and even still things as an adult. Music is my way to cope with those things, but also lets me help others. What fuels me right now is the drive I have for the music I’m making, but also seeing the crazy world we live in and how can I help others out there. Also, how much I experiment and try new things really helps shape different tones and helps me find where I fit. Music is the way for me. Success for me is when I have someone tell me ‘hey that song changed my life and helped me get through it.’ I think this will help for next year, because this year and next I will release a song every month.
SBS: Thematically…my man…you cover a whole range of stuff…to the point where it really doesn’t seem like you’ve got any limitations to what it is you’ll write about – am I wrong in thinking it could be anything? I know that seems like an easy thing to say in a way…but you know how artists & bands tend to find that lane where they’re comfortable and they ride out whatever that is long into the sunset, making music about muscle cars, the party scene, or whatever the heck it might be. I’m not hearing any specific one or two things that you seem to want to write about…we’ve gone from horror themes like in “Monster” to more overtly personal stuff like on “Like You” – what ends up dictating how you’re gonna approach that next song thematically? Do you go in with an idea to start and form a song around the concept, or is it the other way around and you end up feeling the music first…what’s the method you take? More importantly – how do you know when you’ve got things right where you want’em? When you’re listening back to a Lazarus Benson tune, what does it HAVE to have in order to make the grade? What would you say the defining attributes of your sound overall might be…and what do you want to communicate to the people ultimately through the music you’re making? Is there a core message of some kind? What do you want them to take away from the experience of listening to Lazarus Benson?
LB: As a musician I do like to add different elements to my music. You are right that you can feel the different changes in each of my songs. This is because I add different elements. Look at “Monster” as an example. It has a pop/rock feel, reason being is, because I am adding elements of different genres to the song. All my songs are this way. “Monster” has that – it combines hip-hop drums and hip-hop/pop style vocals with the autotune. When I crafted the beat, I also wanted the rock vibe still and that’s why you got a guitar that has that rock vibe in there, and the melodies are in a pop style. What you are hearing is a combination of styles. I started out rapping, but eventually got more into metal and other genres. Therefore, I combine things. “Like You” is an example of something as well. This is currently my most popular song and people love the rap rock style. I will be having more songs like this. The way I craft a song thematically is more just about a lot of things I had in life. I do approach this though with things I love. I am a huge anime fan and gamer, so that’s why when you look at the song or the artwork it’s because I am adding things – I love talking about a lot of personal things. “Monster” is about the abuse I watched my mom endure as a kid, “Like You” is a song about my dad and how I won’t become like him. “Losing My Mind,” which comes out on September 24th, is about suicide. This still relates to me and when I tried to take a lot of pills when my niece died for about 5 months straight before I went to bed hoping. Eventually I stopped and realized it wasn’t what I needed to do. That’s where these themes come from ultimately. I do craft a beat first then I reflect on things in my life. When I’m making a song the method I use to make that song is to try to be to complex. I keep it simple I don’t have crazy breakdowns and riffs. I just want to write a song that most people can relate to and enjoy. I even have the composition of a song built like a pop or hip-hip song, but in a rock sound. Once I have a beat like this crafted out, I just start to feel it come emotionally and then it makes me reflect on a moment in my life. I know when I got things right when I can just feel the emotion and the drive behind it. I think like my audience and this point and when I feel like I can relate to it I know I hit that sweet spot. When I listen to my own music to get that sound and I realize it just must feel different and get you pumped. Also have an emotional driving force behind it. That’s how I know I got that Lazarus Benson sound in the song that makes the grade. The defining attributes of my songs overall are definitely in the combination of genres, the emotional experience, and probably the lyricism. I noticed a lot of people have talked about that when it comes to my music. It just gives you different experience and doesn’t feel like the same. Like I was saying in the first question I just want to help people and let them know they’re not alone. The core message is pretty much, be happy, be you, stay strong, and love those around you. I want them to walk away knowing there is so much in life and that we can always do better, but also for people to never give up and keep doing good.
SBS: I’ve read a lot about upcoming collaborations you’ve been working on…there are tons of’em from what I’ve seen you post about on social media & whatnot. So let’s talk collabs here for a moment…both inside & outside of your music. What makes a collaboration really work in your opinion? How do you personally find the right people for the right vibe in the music you’re making – what’s the selection process? Conversely, have you ever had to deal with a situation where the final results of working on a collaboration didn’t quite measure up to the ambitions or vision for a song – how did you deal with it? In general, what would you say it is about working with other musicians that makes YOU stronger as an artist – what are the benefits that we can’t hear? And then of course, yaaaa, feel free to tell us a bit about what’s coming up in your next collaborations…there’s gotta be a few exclusive details you can drop for us, right? Right Lazarus? Something! Anything! I am always thirsty for new music news!
LB: For me personally I find artists who want to work with me. Also though, I look for a sound I like that fits the song I’m making at that moment. This is how I find the collab. I listen to the person’s style and songs. Then I’m like, okay, they would match this song. Not too much there really, I would work with pretty much any artist and try new things out. I have never had to deal with collabs yet where the song didn’t come out the way I expected. I have had times where I had I wanted to do some collabs and just got lead on. At that point I just moved on and finished the song myself or featured a new artist. The other artist’s style is what makes me stronger it just adds some much variety to my music, but also hear their own techniques helps me to construct my own sound even further. I learn and grow for collabs. These are things you don’t get to see; I might go back and fix a part from myself that I don’t think it fits with the song or even their pace, etc. I do have a very big collab in October for my new single “Merry Go’ Round” with Kung Fu Vampire. I have some other collabs with a few other artists where I live…The Mighty Q, Alphamatic, Dcypher, and some collabs with Derrek Virgil, an awesome drummer/guitarist. He’ll be adding some of his own flavor in a song.
SBS: What up with Wyoming? I know…absolutely next to nothing about it if I’m being entirely honest with ya brother – so what am I missing? What’s Wyoming known best for? You’re either from, or based in Casper now I’m guessing…or both? So what’s the deal for ya – have you always fit in there? Is it a music town? Anything at all goin’ on scene-wise? I suppose what I’m asking is, is there anything else goin’ on in Wyoming aside from the music you’re making – or are you over there goin’ at it all alone? Maybe they’re local to ya, maybe they’re not – but what are three names out there in the independent music-scene that we should be listening to right now – and what’s got you hooked on them yourself?
LB: Wyoming is the state right above Colorado. Wyoming is all about the outdoors fishing, camping, and hunting. Wyoming is a huge state, just not a very big population compared to most states and cities. I live in a town called Casper which is one of the bigger cities here, but still very small compared to other cities. Wyoming is known for its oil, coal, and outdoor activities. Probably Yellowstone National Park would be one of the biggest things here. Scene-wise, not too much I would say. There is a lot of different music here, but nothing in the scene that I would say just stands out and is huge. I wouldn’t say I really fit in. I just do my own thing. It’s so much about me trying to fit in. I’m just growing in my own way because in the past trying to fit in never really benefited me and I didn’t want to be part of things where people pretend to be something they’re not, or are negative. Definitely an oilfield town and outdoors, not so much a music town. People like music and enjoy it, but more around oil and outdoor activities. Hopsin, Tech N9ne, Kristine Mirelle. These are three artists who just stand out to me in the independent music scene. They are just so unique in their styles. Hospin and Tech both have some of the most creative lyricism. Kristine is just amazing at the piano and her singing is just great. I’m hooked on these three because they just have unique styles that make me more interested in what they might bring next.
SBS: How do you plan to challenge yourself, evolve, and grow as an artist/producer over the next year? Do ya have a plan to take yourself to the next level? What is that next level for ya anyway? What can you do to move your career forward even further, inside & outside of the music, and keep it all surging? What can you still make improvements on, refine, or learn more about to make your music even better?
LB: One thing is to put out more music – that will be a huge factor for me as a challenge. Also, to grow is just to become a better songwriter when it comes to production and lyrics. I will keep challenging myself here. Also, to keep experimenting with what I’m doing to help me evolve as an artist to keep coming up with great songs. I have a plan to always keep growing to the next level I know it is not easy and I’m still working on it and will keep crafting my work each time. I know this will not only come down to practicing and song writing each day, but also how I market myself. That next level is to just grow that fan-base that loves my music. I could be the best artist, but I think to really grow in music you got to have a marketing plan this is what will make me grow for sure. That and practicing on my craft each day like I have. Also just continuing to be myself outside of music. I think I’m on the correct path now and have seen a lot of growth in not just my fan-base, but myself I think, and this is due to the work I’m putting in. This is even just outside of making music. I craft a full fledge 21-day plan for each song, reach out to playlist curators, blogs create YouTube and Facebook ads. This I think will keep me growing myself and even my music because I get to reach new fans every day and connect with them. I could still refine my music knowledge theory, which I’m definitely doing each day. Also keep crafting my singing voice and much more each day to make the music better each time.
SBS: Hey! Convince us you’re not just big brother harvesting our e-mail addresses over there will ya? I’m kidding of course. But you’ve got yourself an interesting angle on getting your music out there through your e-mail subscriptions, and I wanna know more about it! I was watching a video you’d posted to social-media that explains how you’re sending out free songs to the people subscribing & all that…and naturally, I’m always thinking, okay – so what’s the catch? So what IS the catch Lazarus? Fill in the blanks in what we’re missing…what might make that subscription more valuable than the music? What other benefits might there be in this approach to sending out your tunes that are less tangible?
LB: You get free music from me every month, but this is also just another way to connect with me. I love connecting with my fans. Other things include free merch, latest news, discounts on merch, chatting with me, even discord or zoom calls with me. I haven’t really added too much to this yet but for me I just still use it to connect with my fans still and give them a song or something as a token of my appreciation for them just being here with me.
SBS: Open floor for ya Lazarus…our traditional ending here to these interviews we do…a space where you can say anything else you’d like to, or talk about anything else I didn’t bring up that you wished that I did…no offense taken here bro, it’s impossible to squeeze it all into one set of questions, you feel me? It’s always rad to cross paths with you again my man…you keep on keepin’ on, and thanks for your time!
LB: I feel you man. I’m not sure exactly what to say here other than I always appreciate you having me on here. I also appreciate the support I have gained over this year. I’m just happy to be back creating music again. It feels refreshing to give people hope and join in life.
Find out more about Lazarus Benson from his official website at: https://lazarusbenson.com
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