As previously announced, Ben Babylon, the son of the late great keyboardist, Guy Babylon, has been working on his first CD. He spoke with EJW about this.
EJW: Not many people can say their debut album features most of Elton John’s group. What did you learn from them, and what surprised you?
BB: I am very lucky to have the Elton John band playing on my album. I learned a lot from them. It was so surprising to hear how great it came out. I knew it would be great, but somehow it came out even better than I anticipated.
EJW: What instruments do you play, and is this by ear, or did you take lessons?
BB: My main instruments are piano, keyboards, and drums. I also play ukelele and guitar, but it is not as serious as my other instruments. For drums, my dad taught me a basic rock beat, and I taught myself from there. I love to play jazz and blues on the drums. For piano and keyboards, I have had lessons, and I like to learn all different styles of music….my favourite being jazz, rock, and blues. But my best lessons come from watching and listening to my favourite musicians. For piano, there are no better people to listen to and watch then Elton John, Ben Folds, Randy Newman, Billy Joel, and Jamie Cullum. For keyboards, there is of course my dad. I learned the most from my dad. He taught me everything I know, from blues scales to basic blues progressions. And for drums, I listen to and watch Nigel Olsson, of course, Ringo Starr, Gavin Harrison, Darren Jesse and Buddy Rich. All these people have been teachers to me.
EJW: When you write, does the music come first, or the lyrics?
BB: Well, it changes. Sometimes I write the music first, and then write the lyrics to the music….but usually I have some lyrics left over that couldnt fit into the song, and then I write music to that, and then I have some musical ideas left over from that song. It is always different.
EJW: On the record’s first single, Contradiction, there’s an apt line about using war to bring about peace. What other issues have you addressed in your songs?
BB: I hope that this song will mean different things for different people. I wrote the song about how the world is so confusing and contradicting. I understand why war is used for peace, and it makes sense that the world is so confusing. But this is not meant to be a political statement, just a thought.
EJW: Thank you for your time: We are looking forward to the release of Dreams For Sale next year.