Ben Vince is a prolific saxophonist and composer who radically redefines the possibilities of the saxophone. Through extended technique, electronic processing and an open-eared approach to collaboration, Ben’s work spans free improvisation, DIY and dancefloor scenes in strikingly original style. He is building a reputation as a one of a kind live force who can veer from propulsive, full blast skronk outs to acoustically responsive ambience and is always in tune with the energy of a space.
1: Beans on toast.
3: Wholegrain mustard.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I feel inspired by live performance, it’s like participating in a story, being drawn into a new symbolic, embodied language: moving the body with the sound and imagery. Whether on stage or not, something magical happens when people give themselves totally to the moment, letting the rhythm and vibration carry you into the times-space of the experience. Words, images and sounds resonate in my head for days after witnessing a great performance, I take it into my life but also go back to that moment it all made sense.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I guess I’ve been actively making music since I was about 14 on computer programs and in bands playing guitar, bass and sax. It got a little more serious at university studying music, learning to DJ and sing. Yet I’ve only really started to consider myself as an artist in the last year or so, I am a music fan at heart but at some point when you have worked hard at music you need to give yourself a confidence boost and admit to yourself that you have something special that people want to see and learn from. That, for me, is the point where I started to really ‘get into’ and inhabit the creative process. Catharsis, rather than satisfaction, is what I associate with the process of making music, I am rarely ever totally happy with a record or performance, but it always comes from an honest place.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Such a hard question!
White Noise – Electric Storm
Sly & The Family Stone – There’s A Riot Going On
Nico – The Marble Index
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way
Panda Bear – Tomboy
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Brutal Techno, The Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, Mauerpark on a Sunday and chilling on the Spree.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I’ve been way too skint to buy records recently, I think the last one was ‘No Luscious Life’, a collection from the never-ending series of bangers by the now-inactive Glaswegian band, Golden Teacher.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Leos Carax (on a film).
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I supported Keiji Haino & Charles Hayward in London a couple of years ago and to this day I get shivers remembering an ecstatic peak towards the end of their brain-meltingly second set where Haino-san was screaming with what seemed like every fibre in his body, ‘This is what is not yet. This is what is not yet. I never give up! I never give up! I never give up!!!’. I frequently recall the purity of that passion and the determination in that sentiment and performance.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s there, within the process, as a component, but is not very important. I feel like people get obsessed with technology these days, especially in music, I really couldn’t give a shit what people use, vitality in creative attitude is more important.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a younger sister who is doing a PhD in Philosophy, she says she uses my music to work to, which is really nice to hear. However, my new record is my first that does not exclusively use saxophone, it’s a bumpy ride of sax, electronics, drums and vocals, so will have to wait and see what she thinks of that…
Ben Vince performs at this year’s last Kiezsalon on Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, along Japanese group Asa-Chang & Junray, electroacoustic duo Valerio Tricoli & Hanno Leichtmann, and Salon des Amateurs resident DJ Frank D’Arpino.
Photo © James Hines