Go-to producer/synth hoarder, Benge gets himself comfy so we can fire question after question at him
Your latest offering, as Oblong, isn’t a debut outing is it?
“No, we released our first album, called ‘Indicator’, in 2006.”
We know you’re busy, but 13 years between albums!??
“We like to take our time over things. Hopefully, it’s worth the wait.”
So the line-up is you, Dave Nice and Sid Stronarch. Tell me about them…
“The three of us go back a long way. We met in Essex, when we were
in a band together in the early 1990s. We are not allowed to speak the band’s name, we refer to it as The Scottish Band. Ultimately it petered out, but the three of us remained good friends.”
So how did Oblong come along?
“Over time we felt the desire to work on music again together. We liked the idea of combining acoustic instruments with crude electronics, and a sonic signature emerged that we all liked. After that album was released, we dispersed again and got on with our lives and other musical projects. But after 10 years, we got the itch again, and here we are.”
This album is pretty different. Describe it in a sentence.
“The new album is a pastoral version of disco.”
It’s not a guitar album although they are prominent, it’s not a synth album, although they’re prominent too. That’s quite a trick…
“The three of us have different musical influences and different skill sets, so in the studio we all had a go on everything, it kind of blended all these differences together.”
From ‘Twenty Systems’ to Fader and now this, if you had to pick just one project, who is the real Benge?
“Since 2016 I have recorded 21 albums here. I couldn’t possibly say which collaboration best represents me, but I guess my solo albums, released digitally online, are the purest catalogue of where I am at. Many of these albums are ’single-synth’ albums, following on from the ideas started on ‘Twenty Systems’.”
We notice you’ve got your Fairlight back, where’s it been?
“I just got it back from being fixed, which somehow took nine years! Not only is it such a stunning looking thing, it is also capable of making unique sounds. It’s not just a sampler, it also does additive and waveform synthesis, and has a really great multi-track sequencer, the first of its kind really.”
And we notice Mal is in the studio with you mucking around on it. What are you two cooking up? New Wrangler? Another side project?
“I am afraid I can’t divulge that information, but suffice it to say we have two separate albums of material ready for release.”
Just noticed that the cover of the new record is one of your paintings. You paint too?
“Yes, I did the painting on the Oblong cover. I did study painting at Goldsmiths University in a previous life…”
Can you sort out Brexit too please?
“Regarding the mess we are in politically at the moment, I know what should be done. The whole of the UK should be evacuated immediately and left to become a nature reserve for at least the next 100 years. We’ve proven that we don’t deserve to live on these beautiful islands.”