Acclaimed artist/producer Ben Chandler has released his vibey new single “Stoned” – available now at all streaming services and DSPs HERE. Written by Chandler and co-produced with Mike Freesh (Oliver Tree) the intoxicating single is joined by an official companion video, streaming now HERE. We had the pleasure of chatting with him about the new single + EP.
How do your rock + hip-hop influences play a role in your creative process?
My rock/hip-hop influences honestly help me whenever I want to hone in on a different type of sound. Listening to other artists & genres helps me become inspired from the way the instruments are used, as well as allow me to interpret what I hear and use it in my own way.
In the song you say, “I prefer smoking alone” – do you really? If so, why?
Yeah, I actually do prefer smoking alone. I’m the type of person that likes to ponder on their own thoughts and really plan some things out when I’m alone and smoking, I also just enjoy being alone in general. Whether it’s listening to demos to sort out changes I want to make, or make plans for the upcoming months. Smoking alone helps me relieve stress and just be myself without having to worry about the ones around me and if they’re okay/comfortable, because that matters a lot to me when I’m indulging with others.
What has the transition from Pittsburgh, PA to Naples, FL been like?
Transitioning from Pittsburgh to Naples was a tough one at first. I moved the summer going into my senior year and I had a pretty established friend group that was social so I was always hanging with them. The first few months were the roughest parts, I had a long-distance relationship I didn’t truly want, I had no friends to physically hangout with, and I honestly had no idea what to do with myself in general besides ride my bike and mess around on the guitar. I like to say I’m heavily leaning on the introverted side, so just walking up to strangers and trying to spark up something is waaay out of my book. Once I started my senior year, I realized how many cliques there really are established throughout highschool, and a large majority of them aren’t open to having some new kid just join the group and have some fun. I mainly kept to myself while I finished up, until one day this group of girls from my choir class realized I needed some guy friends and introduced me to some musicians. A few months later I was going to sessions with Dom and our buddy Brendan and really began exploring the craft of a studio and beat-making.
How has your time in Florida shaped your sound?
I think my time here in Florida has shaped my sound in a very progressive way. When I first started making some demos, I would just go on youtube and go over whatever kind of beats I liked and I quickly realized that wasn’t the way I enjoyed making music. So after time passed and I had been quickly progressing as an artist/producer and making my own beats for homies and myself, I realized jamming with chords, leads, and drums is what I enjoy the most. I grew up around playing in bands in Pittsburgh, and jamming with my brother and dad so messing with ideas on the fly felt way more natural to me than picking up a beat from youtube. I think the energy that surrounds you and the experiences you have in life is what helps make art, and these past four years I have been experiencing a lot through my friends and my own life decisions.
What would you say is something you have noticed is missing in Naples’ music scene, that you’d like to see brought to life?
What I see the most here in naples that is missing outside of the group of artists that are coming up, is uniqueness. When I first moved here and heard Dom and Nate, I heard something I had never heard before. Yeah it had its rap influences and alternative vibes from Dom and R&B mixed with soul from Nate, but it was their OWN sound. They weren’t trying to be anybody but themselves, and that’s what I appreciate and look up to, even to this day. I think if more kids that have the talent here in Naples can see that, they will begin to realize that just because you have a soundcloud account, doesn’t mean you have to rap. You can literally do anything. The world is yours and there is nothing that can stop you when you believe in yourself and put your mind to something. Manifestation is real.
What was it like to co-produce the track with Mike Freesh?
Co-producing with Mike was super dope. I love the guy, he’s really genuine and helps capture sound in a way that doesn’t take away from the original artist’s idea. Even though me and him didn’t really reproduce much on this track and we kept all my production, his help on Strawberry Candy was so tasteful and clean, yet so simplistic, and I think that’s what a lot of musicians should keep in their work.
What can fans keep an eye out for in 2021?
For this year of 2021, I want my fans to be ready for more progress. I’ve been making music that I’ve loved even more than these songs coming out, and I made most of these in 2019/early 2020. It’s still me, so don’t worry about that. I’m just really excited to keep releasing music and progressing myself as an artist and bring the love and joy that people get from listening to me. I think honestly that’s what drives me, I do this for the people. I really appreciate and love all of you. I also hope venues begin to open up and I can start performing, that would be cool.
“Stoned” marks the latest in a series of genre-blurring single releases from Chandler, following critically-acclaimed tracks “Addicted 2 U,” “Red Line,” and “Strawberry Candy.” “Addicted 2 U,” which was joined by a sweet official video, was met by critical applause upon its December 2020 release with Euphoria raving, “Chandler has been consistently building his discography with authentic takes on the world around him. With his smooth vocals and talent with sound, each track he releases settles into your soul as one to remember.”
“Red Line” dropped last fall following its exclusive premiere via FLAUNT, which wrote, “Ben Chandler is here to uplift the masses with his smooth, feel-good sound…With an innate ability to songwrite and versatility to encapsulate multiple genres, ‘Red Line’ marks just the beginning for the 22-year-old.”
The irresistibly sweet track “Strawberry Candy” quickly followed and drew immediate acclaim from such outlets as Untitled, which declared, “Ben Chandler manages to marry all of his varied influences together, creating a feel-good track reminiscent of Harry Styles, Omar Apollo, The Grateful Dead and The 1975 all in equal parts, while remaining idiosyncratically himself.” Early Rising praised “Strawberry Candy” as “instantly charming and the definition of an earworm,” adding, “Chandler ushers a playful yet distinctly developed sound, paving the way as a boundary-defying artist.”
Named among Pigeons & Planes’ “Best New Artists – February 2020,” Chandler’s unique, multi-faceted sound was born of countless teenage hours spent in his Pittsburgh, PA bedroom, experimenting with guitar, drums, and piano. In 2015, he moved to Naples, FL where he quickly made friends among the city’s thriving local music scene, including such like-minded artists as Dominic Fike. Chandler made a name as a gifted producer, recording early demos with Fike, Nate Traveller, and others. He further proved himself a remarkable artist in his own right, blending the musicality of classic rock idols like The Beatles, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix with the DIY ethos of Tyler The Creator and Odd Future as well the effortlessly cool vibes of Omar Apollo and close friends like Dominic Fike and Contradash.
Last year saw the arrival of Chandler’s breakthrough EP, SWEET DREAMS, SWEET HEART, available now at all streaming services. Written and recorded earlier this year in the first three weeks of quarantine, the EP has earned widespread acclaim from the likes of Lyrical Lemonade, which wrote, “Ben Chandler’s music is best described as bedroom-made, radio-ready. His skills as a producer, a songwriter, a singer, and otherwise, far exceed what one would expect from an artist so early in their career, and yet, with releases like his latest EP, Chandler continues to set the foundation for a long, fruitful presence in music.” SWEET DREAMS, SWEET HEART is highlighted by such standout tracks as “Self Aware,” joined by a homespun companion video filmed and directed by Chandler and streaming now at his official YouTube channel.
Chandler is currently hard at work creating more new music, with future releases slated for later this year.
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