*photo by Dylan Dejong
This week we’re crushing on Steve Benjamins.
Based right here in Toronto, Steve Benjamins is an indie musician who straddles the line between pop and electronic music. He first coined his distinctive sound in 2013, when he released 2 EPs in one year – Dizzying Heights and Disorientation Man. In 2015 Steve released his follow up EP, Sightlines. Those three records gave him the chance to hone his particular brand of hook-laden, downtempo indie pop. But last year, he decided to change the game.
In 2016 Steve made the decision to move away from the traditional album concept, and release his new music in small, more impactful doses. Every 2-3 months Steve releases a single, with his new track ‘Surrender’ being the 5th released last year. He plans to keep releasing music this way in 2017.
“I plan to release five or six more tracks in 2017,” said Steve. “I like it because it lets people follow along— they can hear the music as it’s finished. That just feels like more of a natural cycle.”
Ever the consummate musician, Steve plays almost every the instruments in his music (piano, guitar, synths, drums, bass) and is the sole songwriter. He loves the process of making and releasing one song at a time, sharing his music as it’s made and getting immediate feedback from his fans. This new method also showcases how considerate Steve is, both as a person and as a musician.
“I read once that 200,000 single tracks are uploaded to Spotify each day. That’s a lot of music that people could be listening to other than my music! So if I’m going to ask people to listen to my music, I want to be realistic. A 4-minute single seems like a much more humble and reasonable request than a full-length album.”
Check out the lyric video for his latest track “Surrender” below:
Surrender; another word for love? If that’s not romantic I don’t know what is. Prepare to swoon along with me by reading Steve’s answers below!
What is the first thing that you notice about a potential love interest?
Thoughtfulness. I’m crazy about people who are attentive and kind to the world around them. It puts me at ease. My girlfriend and I visited this old house and an older couple showed us around. My girlfriend left the couple this really kind note and I thought that was thoughtful. I just wouldn’t have thought to do it. I liked that.
What’s your instant deal breaker?
Well, lack of kindness— but I mean, that’s a deal breaker for everyone so let me add to the thought: I think kindness requires self-control.
Everyone wants to be kind, but not everyone has the self-control to quiet their own needs and be attentive to others. If someone truly values being kind that means being kind at times when it might not feel convenient.
What is the best piece of romance advice you have ever received?
This is advice for people who get stuck thinking about starting a relationship: Stop thinking and just start a relationship with somebody. If you’re into someone, stop analyzing and give it a shot.
You don’t learn anything about relationships by analyzing them from the outside. You only learn through experience. If your intentions are pure and sincere (important of course), just go out and try to do have a relationship. Just do it. Stop thinking so hard about everything. Experience can resolve issues in a way that thinking cannot.
(I’m not advocating for a bunch of one-night stands. I mean a real relationship: taking the risk of trusting someone and trying to build something with them. That shit is scary.)
What’s the strangest thing someone has done to get your attention?
Haha. I dunno. Maybe this is too self-deprecating but I don’t assume people are trying to get my attention. Maybe someone has and I’ve missed it. Oh god, maybe I missed it. What could have been!?
If there was one piece of advice you could give to other men/women out there, what would it be?
I’d double down on the advice I was given: stop thinking and just have a real relationship with someone. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.