Ben Draiman was born and raised and Chicago, Illinois and has been a singer-songwriter as well as pianist from the young age of 13 years old. You might be familiar with the last name as he comes from a family of musicians, most notably his older brother David Draiman from DISTURBED. Heavily influenced by a wide variety of music and styles, his music can best be described as strong, emotional, melodic rock, fusing the softness of the piano alongside the intensity and roughness of electric guitar. Ben is now residing in Israel and will be coming to the United States for some shows in early February in Houston, Corpus Christi and San Antonio.
Substream recently chatted with Ben regarding his solo project, living in Israel, and more! Read on.
Substream Magazine: What influenced you to create a solo project?
Ben Draiman: I originally started out doing acoustic shows singer/songwriter style in local bars until one day I was approached by 2 producers who wanted to record a single with me. I had been unable to find musicians to start a band with so the idea that was presented, which consisted of using session musicians really appealed to me. In retrospect, I’d rather have been in a band then be a solo artist. I find it especially challenging and limiting to be entirely on my own. But I guess we don’t always have choice. The single, “Soon Enough” did better than I had ever dreamed, even charting on 94X in British Columbia in 2011, so after that I just continued with the same format. If ain’t broken why fix it?
SM: The music itself sounds pretty old school. Very mature, but powerful. What made you decide to go down this musical path, as opposed to a more popular or extravagant one?
BD: I’m not entirely sure what you mean. I honestly believe it should come down to good songwriting first and foremost. I feel sometimes these days way too much effort is spent on production, at times at the expense of solid songwriting. Good hooks are good hooks no matter how you produce them. I went with what my producers felt was best at the time and I was extremely pleased with the result. I felt it very nicely combined the various elements in my music.
SM: Why should fans check you out?
BD: I think my music offers fans something more than simply just entertainment. Many fans have expressed to me how deeply affected they were by the music. It turned into a very therapeutic experience for them, connecting to it on a very deep level. This is what my music has always been about for me and I was extremely pleased to see that others experienced it in such a way as well.
SM: Do you feel there a lot of pressure to succeed, especially considering who your brother is?
BD: I think everyone has a very different definition of success. For me it’s not about numbers. I’m happy to play to any sized crowd as long as they are engaged in what I’m doing. In fact, I’d rather play to 10 engaged listeners than to 100 who aren’t so interested. It’s about connecting for me and sharing my music with others that will appreciate it. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far. I very frequently get comments from fans that contain various stories about how the music has played a role in their lives. One fan, for example, was dealing with a great deal of trauma in her family and life and told me that my music was one of the few things that could get her through it. Her favorite song of mine is “Overcome” for that very reason. It made such an impact on her that she tattooed it on her right arm. That for me makes everything worth it and is far more valuable than amount of money or otherwise defined “fame.”
SM: What’s the music scene and culture like in Israel?
BD: Believe it or not, we have plenty of artists out here who sing in English. Many want to reach the international market, as the market in Israel is rather tiny. The rock scene is also relatively small and many try to combine other elements, such as Middle-Eastern music into their songs to try to create a unique song but their main influence is without question Western Music. Tribute shows from anything from Metallica, Pearl Jam, and Avenged Sevenfold to Pink Floyd and Queen are extremely popular. There is little to no media support for unknown bands, which is highly unfortunate and makes publicizing shows and “breaking” bands that much more difficult.
SM: You have a few shows in the US coming up, how are you preparing for those?
BD: I’m actually in the middle of the run. The first 2 shows in Houston went extremely well and I had a blast! Looking forward to the next 2 shows in San Antonio Feb. 14 at Fitzgerald’s, and Corpus Christi Feb 15 at Theo’s Billiards.
SM: Your EP, The Past Is Not Far Behind is out, what can you tell fans about this EP – music and lyric-wise?
BD: The concept for the album is basically Rock Ballads. The kind of stuff you’d hear occasionally on a Bon Jovi or Def Leppard album but in this case it’s the entire album. The lyrics are for the most part stories about experiences I’ve had, losses I’ve endured, as well as the stories of others. Much is rooted in existential philosophy, but I doubt anyone will notice.
SM: What do you hope to succeed in the coming months?
BD: I’d certainly like my fan base to grow and to have my music continue to affect people all over the world. I’d also like the opportunity to play more venues. It would certainly be nice to have a bit more press as well.
SM: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
BD: I take great pride in interacting with fans so if you check out the music and like it (www.bendraiman.com) feel free to hit me up on facebook and twitter. I generally respond to messages when people take the time to write me.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
02-14-14 in SAN ANTONIO, TX at FITZGERALDS
02-15-14 in CORPUS CHRISTI, TX at THEO’S BILLIARDS