Ben Pegg is rising singer/songwriter who recently released his self-titled debut album. I was first introduced to Ben this past summer while I was vacationing in Provincetown, MA. Ben was performing outside of Town Hall and as soon as I heard him sing, I became an instant fan! With the large crowd gathering around, Ben is definitely attracting attention! To hear a sampling of Ben's music, be sure to visit him on Myspace, and for more on Ben be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? It's hard to attempt to think of what didn't Adam. I suppose that makes it a need to transcend, even temporarily, the pain, or longing, or doubts, or thoughts, or joys, after learning that through that path there is understanding. That made me a songwriter. And it still does. Sometimes I don't understand what I'm going through until I've pushed the rawness and hickory out of life. And the rawness pushing through needing to be expressed in whatever mellow, hollow, or heights made me a singer. Any singer knows the satisfaction of their voice and instrument coming together in a single unitary expression and delivering that release and transcendence, and that nakedness. And though I was so incredibly shy and personal on my path doing these things seperately, I've been fortunate enough even to meet a few of my influences along the way who pushed me to put singer and songwriter together, and have used the street as bootcamp to practice that performance and tear my own walls down as well.
2. If you could perform alongside or work with anyone in the industry, who would you choose? I've been confronted or appreciated by people in the industry who wish I find success. I find I am certain things to certain people, and they are turned on by a musical influence or aspect of my playing or singing that means something to them. Really Adam, what a great validation. It would be wonderful to work with anyone who could really share the sentiment. People often ask me why I don't play with a band, and my answer has the same kind of meaning. They haven't found me yet, and always I'd rather have unskilled musicians who've got some feeling in there chest, a longing, or pain, and a burning head of ideas, than any of the more skilled ones. Because that will drive us to work it out into the music where it will take a shape and life of it's own. Where it's beyond any of us. and something we can give to offer transcendence to someone else with those same feelings.
3. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing songs and putting an album together? Listening is my favorite part of the creative process. I suppose in some ways it is the process itself. Listening to the feeling and to what it sounds like rhythmically, harmonically, in an abstract way. It is fun to listen for sounds that are metaphoric to an emotion or place personally. Then put them into the song as a floor, a structure, and a context to lay the words in. Or a place to travel through. The words come cheap, stark and blunt when I can listen and tell their truth. and the voice is in pain to tell their story cause sometimes it doesn't want to hear them. But again it's listening Adam, all of it.
4. Where is your favorite place to write/practice on your own? A quiet space, and I'd prefer anywhere. Especially in a time of after a small fast, like after not eating lunch out alone in the afternoon, or in the middle of the night far past bedtime and dinner. Where I can go to hear the sounds and I'm alone with whatever is ontop or running my head.
5. I've been listening to your debut album since I saw you perform in Provincetown, Ma. I love it, from your voice to your acoustic style. What made you want to go with an acoustic style over another style of music? What is it about that genre that speaks to you? Adam, thank you, In fact I was writing and had 4 songs written and produced with full instrumentation when I was 21. As I went back and forth between the acoustic and electric guitar in my development as a guitarist. I wanted to put everything together. The forth song in I realized that I couldn't perform these songs live, only interpretations of them. As a guitarist I was inpsired by Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny, Eric Johnson, and suddenly Bob Zabek, and then Justin King. Bob and Justin used the two handed tapping style, however they do it in a very unique way. I had never saw potential in an approach that allows the right hand to endlessly solo over chords the left hand was playing. In the case of Zabek, both hands were playing one thing together with fluidity through movements and musical passages, and that fluidly switched between standard picking techniques and tapping techniques. Bob was using whatever means necessary to complete his inspiration. And bam, there it was, a way to interpret all the musical ideas I had in my head. The counterpoints, the percussion, the bass lines. And I began finding way to perform the songs on the single instrument realizing that there are as many ways to play the guitar as there are sounds that it produces, and limbs or appendages I have free to make them. I chose the acoustic for it's bigger sound and I was instantly turned onto the acoustic guitarists playing that way. I had ears for Justin King and Michael Hedges because of there superior musicality. When I met Justin and his band mate's particularly Ehren Ebbage, I was touched by there humility and honesty, and proceeded to make it ground for asking every conceivable question about the world of the music industry, both of them gave me valuable information and a push of rare encouragement. Justin also shared Pierre Bensusan, and Carlos Vamos, with me to take me even deeper into appreciation of what you can do with any guitar. And soon I met Stephen Katz in my own backyard approaching a cello with radical passion and he gave me a final push. I have since found whatever ways I can to play the song with the band I hear in my head through the instrument's voice. I continue to be inspired by visual artists, Luthiers like Kevin Clark, and Pete Ciluzzi, local, and street musicians with personal passions Like all of my Provincetown family of street performers.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/songwriter? I'm begging to learn that I do have something to offer people that is helpful. For a longtime starting out, I found it difficult to perform and write music. I felt I could be doing something that was more productive, and directly helpful, and I am in constant awe of courageous people I meet taking up life callings that make real differences in the world. I constantly questioned what difference I was making. And often times I cross paths with other musicians who play music for very different reasons. But after meeting all of these amazing performers in person, and sharing my own struggles naked in the street, I am learning that we can offer at the very least, the same thing that inspired me to become a musician myself. The at least, temporary, transcendence of life’s pain, grief, moments, of weakness. And for the listener and I, on the street, it becomes perhaps more than that, it is a moment of compassion.
7. Favorite way to spend your day off? Favorite way to stay in shape? I ride my bike filled with a few hundred pounds of gear in a toddler carrier 4 days a week from the outskirts of town. It's quite a thrill to feel how easy it is to ride fast forever through the dunes in Provincetown without the whole load on my back yeah. Adam I love to putter aimlessly as much as I love to speak in riddles with a good friend or stranger, to sit quietly reading Nietzsche, or watch the dry people watch the badly behaving people.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Oh god Adam, I have both, I'm sure you know the advantages of each. But my briefs are trunks of course, and there's humiliating pictures of me cannonballing off the pier in them.
9. Favorite website? I suppose that Stumbleupon is the site that I frequent the most to take me to all kinds of interesting and exotic places. Adam, I wish it was Zombocom.com, but, that's Alex Syner's favorite website, a hero of mine who passionately and hysterically evolves himself as a musician all the time. And has said all of his inspiration derives from zombocom.com.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? To date Adam, or to be. (no question mark)
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Don't believe it Ben, not even for a second, it's complete bunkum crap, you've got more important and wonderful things in front of you to be working on, in years to come you'll only look back and ask yourself how did I waste so much time worried about that.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Adam isn't it much easier to think about who you wouldn't want to dream about. After all dreams could be tricky and whoever I name will surely appear only to do the opposite of what I'd like. But if it could be anyone, it would be nice to see my friend Richard MacCord, I'm afraid it's hard to recall the energy that hasn't become me. and I'm sure i'd gain all new insights if i were to meet him again now.