Class of 2015: Try teaching this on YouTube: The formula to Ben Khan’s bold pop

Ben Khan by Emma Swann

Whether it’s downloading new tools or working with old school methods, the method to this London producer’s work is anything but ordinary.

Ben Khan is part of a generation that could absorb and apply information in seconds. All the tools are at our disposal, and it’s something that links this Class of 2015 alumni to someone like Raury, or Ryn Weaver - young talents who rely less on old methods, more on modern instinct. Anyone can download a copy of Ableton and go nuts with beat patterns. Samples can be downloaded from pretty much any source. It’s what these producers and musicians do next that makes the difference. 

The Londoner finds himself embroiled in one of the biggest issues facing today’s youth. Are we “intelligent”, information-loaded beings, or are we “shells” moving from screen to screen? “You can be negative and positive about it. I have my ups and downs some days,” he says, having recently moved from a bedroom set-up into a proper studio. He cites an Einstein quote (“memorising things you’ll rarely use is time wasted”) when stating that “maybe the rest of the space in our heads is there to create new things from that information.”

“Artistically, people need to take time with what they do.”

Ben Khan

This is appropriate because it does feel like Khan is among a handful of producers absorbing all the countless genres and ideas exposed to the average twenty-something, before applying it to his own scatterbrained pop. It’s there in his ‘1992’ EP, a documentation of wild youth that pours every inspiration into a bubbling-up melting pot.

Cards are still being kept close to his chest on some issues, like an album (“I wouldn’t put any labels on it. I’m just working,” he quips), but as for everything else, Ben’s open about how he works. “The thought process always happens before I go into the studio, whatever it is that’s inspiring me,” he says, citing trips to his father’s birthplace of Kashmir as a source for new ideas.

Time’s been taken on a follow-up to ‘1992’ because that’s Khan’s default mode, fretting and fixating over tiny details. He knew he wanted to be a musician for a living since the age of sixteen, and since then he’s “studied the game for a while,” worked out how to announce himself in the biggest way possible. “Artistically, people need to take time with what they do,” he states, clearly deadly serious about his output. “My favourite movies are from people who’ve really fucking thought about it. I watched the Shining the other day… People who go to those lengths - they’re the best. That’s what I aspire to. That’s what I want to be. I’m not there yet, at all.”

Taken from the December 14 / January 15 issue of DIY, out now. Photos: Emma Swann. 

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