Interview w/ Fort Worth Based Musician/Producer Ben Jammin Barnett
Have a real treat for you today as we sit down for a chat with Fort Worth, TX's own Ben Jammin Barnett. The musician/engineer/producer is known as being a jack of all trades, dabbling in multiple projects at once and not at all showing any signs of fatigue or exhaustion, and having enough energy that lasts multiple days to give it his all during recording sessions. Ben has just released his debut instrumental EP "District Five" that he was so kind enough to talk about, as well as his early interest in music, how his experience at Berklee shaped him into the man he is today, and we also share in our mutual love for the film "The Mighty Ducks" in which the theme of the EP is based, along with who his favorite Mighty Ducks character is (I'm an Adam Banks guy myself). Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your name and what instrument you regularly play?
My name is Ben "Jammin" Barnett. I play guitar and bass for the most part, but I try to dabble on piano a bit as well.
Take us back to your earliest memory of hearing music and how it influenced you?
I don't think I have a first memory of hearing music! I was raised in a musical family, so I was constantly surrounded by it. It's just always been there. I actually think the thing that influenced me the most was recording music for the first time. It was so satisfying making the ideas in my head into a tangible, listenable thing.
Growing up in Texas, how much of an impact did that have on you both musically and as a person?
Well, I grew up in Texas, so naturally I grew up playing in church. Those early years of playing every week and performing in front of (sometimes) hundreds of people really helped develop my craft and taught me to be a team player when it came to music.
Going to school at Berklee in Boston, what did you learn there that you could carry forward with you in your later career?
I think one of the biggest things that happened to me at Berklee was learning to appreciate the wide diversity of musical tastes. Every genre has something to offer. It forced me to open my mind to different styles and, as a result, helped my writing tremendously.
Take us behind the recording of your new EP "District Five" and what the whole process was like and how you came up with the Mighty Ducks theme?
So I am a music producer and I work in a wide variety of genres. I think for the whole year or two before "District Five", a majority of the projects I had worked on had been pop, country, jazz, etc. Ya know, softer stuff. (Softer than "District Five", that's for sure.) Then suddenly I just had the urge to write and record something loud. Loud drums, guitars, bass, synths, and whatever else. Something with lots of energy and excitement and fun. So I wrote the intro to what would later be called "Goldberg". From that point on, I knew I had to do another record. AND I knew the record was going to be more about energy & feel as opposed to my last record, "The Steps of a Skeptic", where I focused a lot on the technical aspect of it. This meant I had to use real musicians and real instruments for this record. (I used MIDI drums and bass, as well as guitar amp sims for my last one.) It's really hard to duplicate a performance from a real human with a computer. That's what makes the performance so special. I didn't want this record to be perfect. I actually left a lot of mistakes in throughout the songs, if you pay attention enough. I wanted it to feel human. My drummer/brother, Caleb, can be heard screaming in the middle of "Goldberg" because he messed up during the take, but we ended up loving it so much that we kept it. That's really how the whole process went. It didn't need to be perfect, we just wanted to make it fun.
As for the Mighty Ducks theme, "Goldberg" was the first song name I came up with and I was having trouble thinking of other song names, so I just decided to watch The Mighty Ducks to help inspire other song names. Other options were "The Goalie!", "Triple Deke", and "Karp". Maybe I'll use them on the next record!
Who is your favorite player from the "Mighty Ducks" movie, and one that best represents you personality wise?
Goldberg, Goldberg, Goldberg! Though I would probably say I have the most traits in common with Charlie. He's always willing to do what is best for the team!
What can we find you doing in your spare time away from the studio?
TV/Film. I always say if I weren't involved in the music industry, I probably would've pursued TV/Film. Though I have no talent to write or create film, I still have a fascination and passion for it.
What's coming up next for you, any future recording projects lined up?
Absolutely. I have many exciting projects lined up in the future! I won't say any names for fear that I might accidentally leave someone out, but I am definitely stoked about these upcoming projects.
Where can people find out more about you online?
Lastly, how has being involved in music changed your life?
Music has been a lot of things for me. It's a creative outlet, it's a way to express yourself, it's a way to understand others, it's so many things and more. I love music because it keeps giving me things to ponder. (Much like my love for TV/Film!) It keeps introducing me to new and interesting people. It brings me together with friends and peers. It has undoubtedly shaped me into who I am today. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanks once again to Ben for being rad as hell in doing this interview! You can tell he really has a passion for what he does, and seeing his love for music ooze through in everything he does from behind the boards, upfront as a musician, and even as a engineer you know you're going to get top notch talent every single time. Please reach out to him via the aforementioned social media links above.