On the Couch with Benjamin Lazar Davis

Benjamin Lazar DavisWho is Benjamin Lazar Davis?
Benjamin Lazar Davis is a human being from Saratoga Springs NY, USA. He likes to make songs and sounds, listen to pop country music and watch TV. He loves sound-checking and riding on airplanes. He has a lifelong fascination with Pelicans.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Hard question… I think I would spend more time with my dad, mom, sisters, and brother, but I’m addicted to working so it’s hard to find time sometimes. As far as music is concerned, I’m really happy with the ratio between studio and touring that I have going on right now, that is, I’m out seeing the world and then diving into making other peoples’ records as well as my own. I see myself making more music as BENJAMIN LAZAR DAVIS and making less of other people’s music, but I will never give up the collaborations and helping others with their records and with their live shows.

Who inspires you and why?
I’ve just become up to date on the TV show, Nashville. I’d say the characters from that show are inspiring me at this second-particularly Rayna Jaymes, Deacon Claybourne and Avery Barkley. I feel like they are always trying to do the right things even when they fuck up badly. Also SK Kakraba, who’s an LA via northern Ghana, Gyil (wooden xylophone) player I met in Ghana and then put together a recording session with when I was in LA last year. What a great knowledge of traditional music and openness to being sampled!

And the great community of musicians I have here in NYC: The Loomsmen, Joan As Police Woman, Alex Toth, Sarah K. Pedinotti Jr., Bridget Kearney, Anna and Elizabeth, Eamon O’Leary, The Shyest of Marmots, Margaret Glaspy, Cuddle Magic, and many, many more). Being around these people all the time makes me feel so inspired!

What would you do to make a difference in this world?
My dad told me once when I was little that if you throw a rock in a pond (in upstate NY) it will cause an earthquake in China. I’m not sure I understand what that means, but I like to think that as an artist any little thing we do could potentially have a big impact. I like to think about how my little decisions in life can end up rattling the universe.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I like to body surf, so I just googled “best body surfing locations in the world,” and here are the results: Durban, South Africa; Byron Bay, Australia; Lagundri Bay, Nias, Indonesia; Lembongan Island, Indonesia; The Wedge, CA. I’ve never been to any of those places but I’d love to next time I take a vacation! Anyone wanna come with?

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
There is a 24-hour trash facility directly across the street from my loft in Bushwick, which has big bay windows stretching across the whole length of the wall. It goes six days a week and at midnight on Saturday night it stops and suddenly there are no trucks unloading and loading the trash and no doors opening at Zone 3 or Zone 4. Usually that’s the main attraction I show my friends when they come into NYC from outta town… That and my instrument and Pelican collection!

What are you currently reading?
I’m really into reading the SPECS page on the Pelican website. But for real, reading is so great and when I have that feeling of having a good book and wanting to go home to read it it’s one of the best feelings. Right now I’m between books and more about watching TV. Anyone reading this have any good suggestions for good books or TV shows? Email me at: denbavis at gmail.com

What are you currently listening to?
1. Solo Reprise by Frank Ocean (featuring Andre 3000); 2. Falling by The Comas; 3. Consideration by Rihanna (featuring SZA); 4. I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice; 5. Twice by Little Dragon; 6. Every Little Thing by Carly Pearce; 7. River River by Spirit Fest; 8. Supermodel by SZA; 9. Reflections On The Screen by Superorganism; 10. My demos for my new record that I’ll record in January 2019; and 11. Everything Means Nothing to Me by Elliot Smith.

Happiness in?
Crying when your friends are so nice to you.

What does the future hold for you?
Recording a few records and then a bunch of touring and then recording a few records!! Exciting times!!

Benjamin will be featured in EXO-TECH – a one-night-only performance presented as part of MEL&NYC on Wednesday 18 July 2018 at Arts Centre Melbourne. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Benjamin Lazar Davis (supplied)