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Benedikt Frey returns to the mighty ESP Institute with his thirteen-track debut album called Artificial. The LP was written and produced over two years, tirelessly sculpted into a sequence abstract pieces that are fiercely independent but accumulate layers of meaning when collaged.

Artificial is electronic and rhythm-based, but never reliant on any prescribed instrumentation, arrangement or expectation. It showcases Benedikt’s ability of not being restricted by convention and offers a fresh sound pallet, spread widely over the narrative of the album.

ESP Institute describes the album as well conceived and executed, not simply a collection of tracks but a complex narrative that unfolds over peaks and valleys. We had the chance to pick Frey’s brain in honour of Artificial’s release on September 15th.


Tell us a little about your upcoming album on ESP Institute, the idea and thought process leading up to its creation.

Basically it was Andrew from ESP who brought this thought in. Back in 2014 he was asking me for music and I sent him about 7 tracks, 3 got signed for “The Lobbyist” and the rest he kept for a possible album. From this time on it was just collecting arranging & waiting.

Not working in the boundaries of an EP format for the first time, can you tell us about the difference in approach between the two?

Sure, it’s always about a certain balance whether you compile an EP or an album. More time allows more experimenting, different worlds, more personality. If you use that new ‘time frame’ in a nice way you might shape out more detail.

Having now done both, which one has your preference? Can we expect more albums in the future?

I like both. Every way has it´s interesting paths to go through. But when it comes down to do another ‘single album’ though, I’d need a label that tells me to go for something that might catch my interest. So expect more collaboration albums, like I did in the past with Nadia D’Alò as INIT.

But to tell you a secret: yes, there will be a ‘slow-mo’ mini-album together with my friend Chris Cox, out in 2018 on a new label I start together with my friend Markus Wörnle. It’ll go down the stream of Scale, which I made with Chris earlier.


When listening to the album, we hear a variety of different genre elements being combined into a single equation. What were your musical inspirations when growing up?

When I secretly switched TV channels as a boy, I recognized early on that there is some interesting music in this world. At least more interesting than the music outside of our ‘family’ radio! (shame on you g…:-) )

MTV and later then Viva 2 were probably my first ‘educators’ in a way. As a teenager I was able to filter and find a lot of new things by using the internet…

From then on I basically grew up with Massive Attack, Roni Size, LTJ Bukem, Goldie, a loooot of drum and bass, some hip hop, some rock, some trip hop…. But it took me till my 18th birthday ‘till I got into techno and some house music.

In an earlier interview, you stated you like combining hardware with software. Has anything changed regarding the gear aspect?

No, I always consider anything.


What is the main studio setup used for the album?

The SpaceEcho, 909, Miami Bass, SH-101, Double Bass…  are the most featured instruments in there I guess. What I really liked in these combinations was and still is the SH-101 / Doublebass combination.

Is there something you would like listeners to take away from the album?

Best thing would be, if he or she would feel the need to have another listen.

Is there any main component that sticks out for you for the creation of the album? Anything ranging from a single piece of gear to a morning walk.

Technically speaking, my computer.

Having finished the album, what’s next? Did you create more but scrap it, possibly for a future EP?

There are some leftovers, yes – but I tend to look forward first. So maybe later.


Is there anything that inspires you outside of music? Any recent sparks of interest?

There are several things catching my interest sometimes. I like dancing in almost every aspect, so can get me with that. I like architecture, home gardening, David Lynch & Roman Signer.

Could you provide us with five tracks that represent your inspiration right now?

1. DJ Shadow – Midnight in a perfect World
2. Time Modem – Werkzeug Eines Fernen Willens
3. Cassandra Complex – Pickup
4. Swayzak – I Dance Alone
5. Massive Attack – Live With Me

Buy Artificial HERE.

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