As I strolled towards the beach at Cala Mijas Festival, I’ve got to admit, I was a little jittery. I mean, I had no clue what I was walking into. See, Ben Yart – the guy I’ve got mad respect for – he’s a total one-of-a-kind artist. He’s not afraid to push the boundaries and do his thing, and let me tell you, he’s got a flair for the extravagant and I love that.
But here’s the crazy part. Even though I’d psyched myself out thinking this interview might be intense, literally seconds after we met, I could tell we’d hit it off. Like, no doubt about it. I glanced into his eyes, and it was crystal clear that he’s not just an artist, he’s a deeply sensitive man. He’s all about feeling his vibes and making sure everyone around him is on the same wavelength. So, forget what you might expect. Ben’s the real deal, down-to-earth, and easy-going. But at the same time, he’s this wild, unpredictable force of nature, turning his shows into a wild ride of creativity.
To begin with, I wanted to ask you how you’re doing?
Ben Yart: Happy, very happy. I’m very happy (he says with a big smile). Although right now, I’m a bit hungover, so it doesn’t seem like it. (laughs)
I thought it was very interesting what you said a few months ago, that your artistic persona is like a reality show. Could you to explain that concept a bit?
Ben Yart: Well, it’s like being both Snooki (from Jersey Shore) and the one who edits it, and the one who provokes Snooki to create chaos and the makeup artist and… Everything. You filter a bit, like a fractal of the character you are.
Is it improvised, or is it something planned? Do you think, “Today, I feel like this version of this character”?
Ben Yart: That’s what it’s about, it’s improvised, and then I select what I like from what has come out. It’s improvising, but instead of releasing the 24 hours of the chatter you’ve gone through, you only take the points that you see work and would make a good show. And it’s the same when I’m writing new lyrics or just having fun at the studio.
I really liked what you said about how when we tell a story, we often stick to the traditional structure of introduction, development, and conclusion… But actually, when we speak and think, it’s never like that. That’s what I really like about your music. It adheres to a very natural way of explaining things, it’s like a conversation. And I think you can connect much more with an artist when you see that they’re natural, that they have contradictions, that they make mistakes…
Ben Yart: Exactly. There’s a term for that, I think it’s called “stream of consciousness.” And it’s just that, what you said. How you arrived at the idea, maybe you changed your mind a lot during the process, and you want to say that… It depends. Because I’m not trying to write a thesis with the song, you know? I’m just being myself.
Do you find that when you’re making songs, precisely because of staying true to what you’re thinking and the doubts you have about your creation, you create a bit slower or less because you change your mind often?
Ben Yart: Sure. Although… everything always comes back, you know? So maybe at first it was like that, but now there are so many things in the pipeline that keep coming out… It’s like making wine for two years. In the first two years, you take time to see the result of what you’ve done. But then the bottles start coming out. It’s true that I produce less compared to other artists. Well, I produce a lot, but I release less. It’s like with sentences, but with songs. I make a lot, and then I choose the ones I like the most.
I found it very interesting what you mentioned in the past that when you’re feeling good, you want to be with your friends, partying… However, when you go to the studio, it’s more of an introspective moment, you want to be alone, you want to convey something deeper. So, I wanted to ask you about that. What does Ben Yart sound like when you’re happy in the studio?
Ben Yart: Like nasty, you know? Dirty. But not dirty in the sense that the sound is dirty. Sexually speaking (smiles). And happy, with a strong voice, confident, smiling. That’s very noticeable for my listeners, I believe.
What do you think it’s more interesting, what you say when you’re euphoric or what you say when you’re feeling a bit blue?
Ben Yart: What’s cool is cool and that’s it, you know? But with the bad stuff, you must give it more meaning, make sure people understand… But this beach is cool, and that’s it, it doesn’t need an explanation. So, I don’t really need to complicate things if I like what I’m doing.
I remember that in the interview with Phoenix, they said something very interesting, that when their music is released, it no longer belongs to them…
Ben Yart: It does to me, to hell with my fans (laughs). I think I can understand what they mean, but it’s not my case, I believe.
It’s also cool that it’s something shared, though.
Ben Yart: Yeah, it’s super cool. A song is cool when it’s an icon for more than one person, right? For example, that’s the good thing about mainstream. That’s why it’s so fun. The other day, for instance, I sang “Misión Suicida” by Bbtrickz in a concert, and it’s fun because everyone has heard that. And that’s amazing, really. It’s cool when a song has managed to become an icon like that. She does stream of consciousness a lot. And she does it even more exaggerated than I do. It’s the same for a younger market, but I like the spontaneity.
Stream of consciousness is also a challenge for the listener, it makes you put yourself in their shoes and kind of feel them closer to you. And I think that’s what we look for when we listen to something new, something that can represent us or makes us reflect on stuff we might have not considered before.
Ben Yart: What’s less thought out is much cooler sometimes. Like, for example, Cecilio G, he doesn’t think at all, neither about what he does nor what he releases. You can find hilarious gems that maybe other singers wouldn’t have included in an album.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
Ben Yart: I try to make the genre be me. And by that, I don’t mean that I’m trying to create my own genre or anything like that, but instead of thinking about what type of lyrics “fit” with each style of music or what style “fits” with each lyric, I make the music like, whatever comes out is what it is.
And for someone who comes to one of your concerts and doesn’t understand the lyrics, what can they expect?
Ben Yart: They can enjoy my self-confidence, find it amusing how chaotic it is, how I always land on my feet.
Do you think that, with the purely musical, non-lyrical part of your music, people can understand what you’re trying to convey?
Ben Yart: Maybe it scares them a bit without the lyrics. Or maybe, by seeing it so differently, it attracts them, I don’t know.
I personally think I would love it even if I didn’t understand the lyrics. (We both laugh) I’m very interested in the theme of “Ceros,” well, and the whole album, because of all the reflections you make about class consciousness, economic precarity, the desire to get rich, and at the same time, the reluctance to conform to the rules of cutthroat capitalism…
Ben Yart: When I did that, I was obsessed with that theme. You know when you notice something or discover a theory, and then you see it everywhere every day. An example could be the issue of climate change, you’re very into it, and then it’s a bit hot one day, and you think, “Wow, it’s because of that,” you take it for granted. In this specific case, of course your position in the system has an influence on your daily life and on everyone else’s, but maybe not as much as it seemed to me at that moment.
In this line of fixations or obsessions. Right now, what’s on your mind? Is there any recurring theme?
Ben Yart: Love, I’m into love right now.
And how do you see love?
Ben Yart: Fun.
Ben Yart: Well, fun is everything, you know. It encompasses everything. I don’t know, I still get lost there, I’m figuring it out.
Alright, to finish the interview, are you working on something right now? In case you are, what direction is it going in?
Ben Yart: It’s a bit like late-night thoughts (from the party). Thoughts about that and music about that. Not festive music, but music made from the perspective I’m in when I’m partying.
Finally, I want to thank Last Tour and Full Flat for making this interview possible and for contributing to an amazing festival experience at Cala Mijas 2023, especially Izz, María, and Rocío, and of course Benito (Ben) for being so easy to talk to and for doing what he does. Of course, after the interview he delivered a funny, insightful, sweet, bitter, silly, and deep concert that made all of the attendee’s days, I’m sure of that. He was vibrant, selected great tracks and performed intensely as he always does.
If you want to read our whole review of the festival, click here.