10 Questions With Karl Benjamin As He Releases His Debut EP, ‘D.R.I.S.T.’
We are sure Karl Benjamin’s older sister never expected him to be three singles deep – with 39 thousand listeners – when she was giving him the screw face back in the day for messing up their harmonies to ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario. Prior to the emerging neo-soul star’s first solo releases, the dreadlocked beauty was scouted by a modelling agent at Secret Garden Party, where he was performing in a band with his mates.
Expecting it to be a scam rather than a Kate Moss airport-esque story, Benjamin didn’t think much of it. Yet, unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – as the modelling jobs came in (Vivienne Westwood, Nicholas Daley and Converse, included), the band began to fizzle out. But his desire to keep making tunes remained. While it has taken Benjamin a short while to kickstart his solo stuff, last year brought the excellent ‘Apricot Sky’; the type of song that can only truly be appreciated with a tinny-in-hand, sat in the park with your mates.
The summer bop is joined by three other luscious tracks on Benjamin’s debut EP, D.R.I.S.T., which is out today. Promising to be an artist that’s “relatable, honest and pretty, but in an unconventional way” we asked Karl Benjamin a bunch of Qs.
1. What were you listening to in the studio when you were recording your debut EP?
“Multiple different songs and artists really. Every session I ask the producer I’m working with what they’ve been listening to, and talk about what I’ve been listening to as well. Some of the main artists were Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, Kanye, Tyler the Creator and Tierra Whack.”
2. If you could have any designer create your first tour wardrobe, who would you pick?”
“Prada. Their materials are so efficient. They can be lightweight but still of high quality – their prints are classy and wavy at the same time.” Either that or A-Cold-Wall.”
3. What’s your favourite lyric from ‘Apricot Sky’?
“Eating s**t and smoking cigarettes” (even though I quit smoking).”
4. If you could collab with any artist, who would it be?
“At the moment it would be Kendrick Lamar.”
5. You’ve also done your fair share of modelling, which has been your favourite catwalk so far?
“Nicholas Daley. I’ve walked for his line twice and I loved it every time.”
6. What’s your favourite thing in your wardrobe right now?
“My wide-legged Cargo pants by Olive.”
7. If your new EP had a scent, what would it smell like?
8. What Instagram account has brought you joy through the pandemic?
9. How was it making your debut EP in the middle of the pandemic?
“It was difficult, I wrote some of the songs pre-pandemic but they felt even more relevant and correct during Covid. So timing-wise, it made sense.”
10. What’s one song you wish you’d written and why?
“‘Remember the Time by Michael Jackson’ or I will always love you by Whitney Houston.”
Photography courtesy of Karl Benjamin. You can stream Karl Benjamin’s ‘D.R.I.S.T.’ on all major platforms now.