Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 25, 2006: Party Ben

December 25, 2006: Party Ben

The SAR Podcast is one year old this week!

It was just last xmas that I tested out what I'd been told was a reasonably safe bet, as far as reliable podcasting channels were concerned, by posting a specially themed mix of sound collage. It went up a few days before xmas with the holiday as it's theme. The word quickly got out... and crashed our original server. I remember spending a long afternoon at Rosalux one day not long after the first podcast had gone up, frantically trying to figure out how to get things transferred quickly to another server, so that what seemed like thousands (actually, the final count went well beyond 7,000 unique downloads) of requests would not be disappointed. We quickly found another server and have uploaded at least one new podcast every week since then. No small accomplishment for someone who understands the internet as rudimentarily as I do (is that a word?) We started uploading actual episodes first thing in January, 2006.

So anyway - Merry Xmas, and thanks for listening. I hope you've been enjoying all this hard work!

Our featured artist this week is Party Ben - read on for the SAR Q&A with him. His is just one of 14 sound collages this week. Get ready to download episode 126 in just a few. Then stay tuned as we shift the order of the episodes being podcast (yet again) in the next week or two... or three. At some point in January the plan is to start podcasting brand new episodes - the same ones scheduled to air on radio stations across the US and Canada. My grand plan is to get the podcast schedule and the broadcast schedule to sync up at some point THIS MONTH (January, that is - so, technically next month). It all depends on where the majority of the stations are in the current broacast schedule. Stay tuned.

For now, we're still podcasting reruns - good shows which recently aired on over two dozen college, community and public radio stations across the US and Canada. This week's podcast is expecially striking - as I'm sure I've said many times, things have gotten a lot more interesting lately, as I've broadened the perspective of the show just a bit. I've always been happy with my work here on Some Assembly Required, but if you'll allow me to say so, I'm especially pleased with how things have developed within the last couple of years. Stay tuned - there's much more to come.


Party Ben

Party Ben is part of the next generation of bastard pop - perhaps the first generation of the American mashup? If I'm wrong about that, for god's sake please don't hesitate to tell me - write a scathing review of how little I know here in the comments section if you must. I'm just sharing what I do know and trying as best I can to editorialize as little as possible (that's very hard). But Party Ben IS one of my favorites. See, I told you it was hard...

He's from San Francisco. He works at one of those all too familiar commercial yet somehow alternative radio stations (they do exist, and some of them are actually quite good). He's been active in the mashups scene out there for quite some time and has a very developed website detailing most, if not all, of said details for all to read. Check it out HERE. He's a DJ and a producer with mixes aired on XFM and countless programs on American radio (including, of course, Some Assembly Required) and he's a long-standing resident DJ at Club Bootie, a mashup club in San Francisco which appears to be ALL the rage. Check out the full story at his website...

It's very, very late in the evening, xmas day, and I've been up since very early, hanging out with family and then working for nine hours (yes, still waiting tables) so I've probably already rambled on long enough. Very tired. Please forgive me if I haven't said enough! I meant to. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Party Ben...

*Name: Party Ben

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: No

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Actually I'd rather not say (just) "mashups" since I've done a lot of different things that aren't necessarily just putting two songs together. Most of the stuff I've done that's popular falls under the category of mashups though so I guess it comes as close as anything. I wouldn't say in general "I'm Party Ben and I make mashups" though.

*Another genre descriptor: As far as classifying what I do, that's a bit tough. On the one hand some of my work is totally cheesy shock-value medley-style kitsch for a mainstream radio audience; on the other hand, I've always enjoyed sneaking in psychedelic distortion and freaked-out looping when I can, so I'm not sure whether I'm a real "artist" or not. Maybe sometimes. I wish I was cool enough to come up with a name like "plunderphonics!"
*Location: San Francisco, California

*Original Location: I live in SF now but grew up in a little town in Nebraska.

*What is your creative/artistic background: When the other, normal kids were playing sports, I was holed up in my room making pause-control "remixes" of New Order songs. I don't have much formal artistic background other than piano lessons and marching band, although much of my family is involved in music so it's always been around me.

*History: I've been altering and manipulating music since I was a kid, for instance I made proto-mashups by plugging two different inputs into the left and right channels of my Sears stereo system. My first computer-assisted multi-track software mix was in 1998 when I added some DJ Shadow beats to a Beck song ("Lonesome"), and then did a version of Fatboy Slim's "Satisfaction Skank."

*Born: I was born in 1970 making me a decrepit 36 years old. Omaha, Nebraska is the place of birth.

*Philosophy: As far as a "philosopy" behind what I do, I have no idea. I guess I've always felt that rearrangement, parody, recombination, and collage are just natural parts of the listening process, and it continually shocks me that not everyone is making their own versions of their favorite songs to listen to. I always have.

*How would you like to be remembered: I think if I'm remembered for making a couple people laugh, at least, that would be fine.

*Web address: www.partyben.com


Thanks to Party Ben for being our featured artist this week at the SAR Blog. Be sure to check out His Website, while listening to this week's podcast (episode 126).

Tune in next week for a feature length phone interview with Jason Forrest (aka Donna Summer). We'll be podcasting episode 127 which features our converation with Forrest, and since we've already run his SAR Q&A we'll have to come up with something else to run in it's place next week at the blog. Check back and see what I come up with...

Until then - thanks for listening!!
Jon Nelson



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