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Friday, August 31st, 2012
Musician Profiles

The Beat Profiles - Ben Friedman*

HOME: I live in Santa Rosa Beach, grew up in Niceville – moved there in 1988. I was born in New York, but I don’t remember it.

AGE: I’m 29. I’m not terribly worried or stressed about turning 30.

PROFESSION: I’ve been playing live music professionally for about six years now. I also work at Neptone Recording Studios as a producer and engineer. I compose music—right now, I’m working on electronic music for a first-person shooter video game soundtrack. That’s what I’m really into right now, electronic music. I exercise my production skills and stuff like that. It falls in line with my tastes and musical direction, so it’s a good thing.

HOBBIES: My love for electronic music is a big hobby. In my spare time, I do dub step remixes. I’m trying to raise my production skills and create new sounds. I used to be an avid surfer and fisherman but don’t have a lot of time for that when there’s music to be made.

LAST BOOK READ: Exile Nation by Charles Shaw—it’s part autobiography and part expose on the drug war and prison system. An eye opener.

LAST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I get a big sense of accomplishment when I finish a new tune or a video game contract. I’ll bump the track for a while, enjoy it, and try to move on to my next one. I did a tune recently that was a big orchestral piece—it came out sounding really cool. Every time I make an advance in my musicianship, I feel pretty accomplished.

QUOTE: “Great art is horseshit. Buy tacos.” (Charles Bukowski)

PROFILE: I started writing music in college and showed some to Kyle LaMonica who had started writing at the same time. We put out our album in 2002 and did very few shows at the time. We released another in 2005, I believe. I played guitar and sang—we shared the songwriting duties, sometimes we’d collaborate.

We bought some recording equipment to record some new stuff, and I got interested in that side of things. A band called Stealing Mona wanted me to record their EP. They came to me, and I got so involved in the recording process, I ended up joining the band. It was shortlived—life changes in some of the band members. The EP never got released.

I met Donnie Sundal—he ran sound at one of the Free Monica shows, and I talked to him about the recording studio and ended up going over to Neptone. I started engineering, and now I’m producing over there. I did some songwriting with him to get on a Wailers album that never came out—I wrote a whole album of reggae tunes.

I started writing country songs with Brian Peet, going up to Nashville to demo county songs. That’s a really hard business to break into. Brian and I got some of our songs into music libraries. One of our songs, “Let’s Get Married for Awhile,” was in Super Shark, a B horror movie.

After that, I started getting into electronic music again, which I’ve always loved. I have a live project in the works to showcase some of the stuff I’ve been doing over the past few years.

Right now, I play Wednesdays at Cabana Café and some of the local 30A spots like Marie’s Bistro, Local Catch and Naked Grape. My solo guitar performances are a mix of rock, reggae and groove-oriented stuff. I use a loop pedal to do my own backing tracks. I do some Talking Heads, Bob Marley, Bill Withers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, that stuff. I try to keep it upbeat and dance-y for the most part.

(Editor’s Note: Check out some of Friedman’s music at www.soundcloud.com/benjis-bad-brain.)

FAVORITE FREE ENTERTAINMENT PUBLICATION: The Beachcomber!


* Inspired by the late, great CREEM Magazine.