Artist To Artist: Bendejo & Reverse Commuter


You may remember that not too long ago at all we brought you these lovely sounds which came into fruition through the combined minds of Bendejo and Reverse Commuter. They've one more had a go at putting their heads together, albeit this time in a rather different manner, as they each take a turn sitting in the almighty Questionmaster's chair to gain an insight into how the other one's mind works. So, without further ado, we'll leave you in their capable hands;

Reverse Commuter interviews Bendejo:

Hi Benedikt, What’s the latest with you?

Hey! At the moment I’m happy about the summer break, though I don’t get to make music a lot at the moment. Currently I’m working a lot as a sound editor/engineer for films but in a few weeks I’m taking some time off to go to a cottage in the mountains to work on new stuff.

Can you tell us a bit about your classical music background and schooling?

I started playing the violin when I was 5 years old at the music conservatory in Graz and I also had piano lessons there later. Since my father is a guitar teacher there, I was always surrounded by music and got used to the works of Bach etc. Three years ago I started studying Tonmeister in Vienna, where I learnt and am learning a lot about musical composition (as well as the technical aspects of recording). 

When did you get into electronic music and what were your earliest inspirations?

At about 15, when I was mostly into black metal stuff I came across electronic albums by Ulver, a former black metal band and was really impressed by their music. This led me to Ulrich Schnauss and Jon Hopkins, who I still think make great music. At this time I also got into drum and bass and break core, stuff like Venetian Snares and was introduced to minimal techno/house stuff by my brother and sister and their friends. The Idiots Are Winning by James Holden really blew me away! Then I started making tunes with Fruity Loops and DJing.

What have you been listening to lately that isn't electronic related?

I listen to a lot of classical music, mostly Bruckner, Wagner, Debussy, Ravel, Chopin etc.

Who is your favorite classical musician and why?

That’s impossible to say, as there are so many incredible composers! Some of the interpretations I like a lot are Sviatoslav Richter (mostly for Rachmaninov) and Celibidache.

I actually hate this question but I am curious – What's your studio set up?

I’m lucky to be able to work at the university studios, where I mostly use the Doepfer A-100 and the Dave Smith Prophet as Synthesizers. There’s also a lot of cool outboard equipment (LA-2A, 1176, Distressors (which I like a lot), Lexicon stuff and an analog console of 500 modules. Of course I can also get lots of mics there.

At home I’ve got a Fireface Ufx and 2 Sennheisers Mkh 40 to record my violin and other stuff. I also have a self built 1176 Blue Stripe and a digital/midi piano. For the arrangements and jamming I mostly use Ableton Live.

Do you usually produce music in your underpants or are you fully clothed?

Hehe, let's say half and half.. In the studio I’m usually dressed since there are many studios next to each other.

Are you much of a reader? If so, give us a few of your favorite books.

Unfortunately not as much as I’d like to be, but I like Hermann Hesse’s books a lot (Demian for example) and lately I read a lot by Thomas Bernhard and Nikolai Gogol, who are great writers!

Bendejo interviews KJG:

You’ve been working as a musician for a long time. What were the most significant moments in your career so far?

That's a tough one! I'd probably say getting my first real studio and going deep into recording. It doesn't get much better than that.

How did you get in touch with music for the first time?

My father used to play guitar when I was younger so there was a nylon string acoustic guitar laying around that I would mess with. I guess that’s my earliest touchings of music. I got my first electric guitar and amp when I was a teenager and started a band in high school. I started messing with experimental music with three tape recorders, one of which was an old answering machine – bouncing back between the three tapes. That was some of the most fun I have had with music because it was so new for me at the time.

How did your style change over the years?

Well I like so many different kinds of music that it’s hard for me to just do one thing. My first couple real bands were noisy poppy spacey psychedelic type bands. Furry Things was the first band that actually released music. We were mostly doing noisy guitar-based music but we did also branch off into electronic experimentation on different records. I ventured deeper into solo electronic music such as techno, IDM, dub, and ambient stuff when I felt burnt out with what at the time felt like constraints of being in a band. I did mostly electronic-based music for quite a few years then felt the calling of making more organic "band" kinda music again. I got together with my friend Brian McBride (of Stars Of The Lid) around 2009 to form Bell Gardens which is an ongoing project. These days I just focus on whatever feels right at the time. I just finished an ambient record that was in the works for a couple years (which has your violin skills all over it!) and at the moment working on a new [a]pendics.shuffle album.

What do you like to do besides making music?

Nothing special… Read, watch movies, meditate, watch my wife cook amazing vegan food then eat it, walk around the mountains where I live in Idyllwild, hang out with the animals outside on the deck… I used to paint but it’s been many years. I'd like to eventually take that up again. Music takes up most of my time though, I can’t seem to really get away for very long.

Do you prefer to work on music on your own or together with other people?

I'd have to say both as they are two separate kinds of working that can both be enjoyable given the right circumstances.

What do you like most about music? 

Losing yourself to it.

What are the future plans for Adjunct?

After your Bendejo EP we have the 10 year anniversary release which will be 20 tracks with two separate mixes from myself and Papa Sang bass AKA Konstantin Gabbro. Following that there will be a new EP by me… or vice versa… We'll see. We’re not planning too far ahead these days. We are also doing a 10 year anniversary party on August 14th in Hollywood at Sound Night Club with myself – [a]pendics.shuffle, John Tejada, Papa Sang Bass, and Bystander. That’s gonna be a lot of fun!

Unravel is out now via Adjunct Audio – grab your copy here.