Benny Trouble Goodman will be the first to tell you that music and entertainment is who he is. Goodman, with his Harry Connick Jr. sex appeal goes from singing lead vocals with his band 'The Evening' to spinning records at celebrity bashes and a few fashion week runway shows.
In the last two years, electronic dance music (EDM) has become a global phenomenon. EDM has existed in some form for over 20 maybe even 30 years, but it's current level of popularity is truly unprecedented.
Does Goodman hope to be Tiesto, the Dutch born richest DJ in the world who makes a whopping $250,000. per night and whose net worth is $75 million? Or Skrillex, another disc jockey who this year took home three Grammy awards along with a pay check of fifteen million. Goodman isn't sure but he's sure about one thing. He loves what he does because it doesn't feel like work.
Examiner sat down with Goodman to discuss his upcoming projects and how his career goes from being the lead vocalist in his band 'The Evening' to spinning records and becoming a big hit in the electronic music movement.
Examiner: How long have you been in the music business?
Goodman: "I started playing in bands when I was about 15, so the better part of 15 years I've been doing everything I can to follow my dreams. I originally just wanted to be the lead guitarist of a heavy metal band. I never wanted to sing, I just wanted to be like Bill and Ted and be Eddie Van Halen. Unfortunately, that never happened and when I was younger every time I went to audition someone for whatever band I was assembling, I'd always try to teach the parts I'd hear in my head to whomever I was auditioning and I just ended up sounding better. Or at least I thought so when I was 15 (most likely I was just the lesser of two evils) and ended up doing the lead singer/guitarist thing, although really, I'm a classically trained pianist moonlighting as a guitarist moonlighting as a singer. Did you follow that?"
Examiner: When did you become a DJ?
Goodman: "I started DJing because I got asked to. It's pretty simple. Now that I think back on it, it makes total sense. I grew up in an oldies radio station because my parents were co-owners of WORC 1310am stereo, yup, it was in stereo and also, for you random factoid types, the first station to spin the Beatles in the US. So I used to be the annoying, bratty, owner's son that would sit in and listen to the "disc jockey's" announce Doors tunes and read the news as they changed out eight tracks not realizing I was learning how to be an MC while gathering the basics of being a DJ.
Years later I became friends with a club owner and he basically just said something to the effect of "Ben, you know music, be my Friday night DJ." And I did. I started off not taking it seriously, but the more I immersed myself in it the more I really loved that I got to understand so many genres of music beyond what I had been exposed to, while learning how to truly read and be reactive of a crowd and get them going through the music I was playing. That was about two years ago and I've literally not stopped DJing pretty much every single weekend (and some weeks) since."
Examiner: Why is it that DJ's are becoming more popular than some bands and having their own shows at House of Blues and other large venues in Boston?
Goodman: "DJs are becoming like rockstars because they have been promoted as such. EDM has become a huge market and whereas it was an underground scene for years and years, now every festival and every radio station seems to be catering to it in some way, shape or form. And you have to understand, EDM doesn't equate DJing, its just one type of music. There's really three components, or if you break it down, aspects to being a DJ:
1. Turntabalism - this is the actual technique of mixing two turntables and a microphone. Like Run DMC, they literally just took other records and made completely new music. That's a skill that really takes a lot of talent. No computer telling you beats per minute, no program "synicing" songs together, just two turntables, your ears, and your hands.
2. Production - the ability to actually produce music in a studio that will translate to a dance floor. Albeit David Guetta is a great technical DJ, where he really succeeds is in his ability to be able to produce music that gets people going. He has even created a serious trend of popular artists singing over "EDM" or "house" music creating hybrid-like house music that is acceptable in most radio formats. Its genius and also taking over the airwaves.
3. Reading people - its like psychology 101. You become a human Pandora or Spotify where you say to yourself "ok, that song got them going so THIS song should work, too." Being able to feel people out and just knowing how to pace the music where everyone is super stoaked is really the most important aspect to being a live DJ.
So, now that we've come back from that tangent, I think DJs are becoming rockstars because original music that DJs produce has become very popular, its created a culture, and DJs have become the focal point whereas back in the day they were just the dudes that played other people's music or were the backup guys. Now they ARE the guy (or girl, for that matter). Along with lights, lasers, CO2, and everything else that can distract you from the fact that they're just mixing stuff together. Which is why many DJs are trying to legitimize themselves in the music world by adding more and more live aspects or instrumentation to their performances, bands like Big Gigantic and DJs like Pretty Lights have both done it really well."
Examiner: Any original material?
Goodman: "I have more original material than I know what to do with at the moment and I'm trying to figure out the best way to release it all. It takes a lot to keep me happy musically so I try to soak up my favorite aspects of the different types of music I compose. I grew up on rock n' roll and that's what I do with The Evening, who you can check out at www.theeveningrocks.com and like on FB at www.facebook.com/theevening . That is the music that's in my heart, where I come from and who I am at the purest level. I also am now playing guitar for a super talented rapper named Alyssa Marie. She's pretty much the most insanely talented female rapper in the world, as far as I'm concerned, so when we connected up and she decide to have a live band I knew I had to be a part of it. You can check her out on FB, youtube and pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. Lastly, I write and compose music for other artists, movies, tv shows, and anything and anybody that will let me use my creativity to enhance a project. I'm in the process of setting up a soundcloud for that outlet and will be posting more as stuff decides it wants to see the light of day!"
Examiner: What are some of your upcoming dates?
October 31 - Performing with The Evening at the Mass Music Complex, Taunton, MA
Nov ember 1 -Spinning at the Halfdoor in Quincy 11/2 Spinning at the Halfdoor in Quincy
November 7 - Spinning at Emerald Lounge at the Revere Hotel, Boston
November 8 - Performing with Alyssa Marie for the Terminology Record Release at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge and then off to LA for some scattered dates.