Benjamin Weinman and I have been playing tag for a few years. He’ll suddenly materialize out of the sweaty crowds at NAMM where he saves Richard and I from a gut-wrenchingly awkward conversation with Meshuggah, or he’ll come to Chicago and destroy the city with his band but he’s finally managed to spare a few moments before going on tour. So here you have it, Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan.
I was born in Northern NJ about 45 min away from Manhattan NY. I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in and can see my parents house from my window. I guess I just had too much shit to stay at their house so I moved to a house down the street. I have been banging on stuff for as long as I can remember. I remember going to my friends house when I was a kid he would help me with my homework and I would figure out the melody to any song he called out on his little toy keyboard. That was the trade. That was my training.
I use the crap out of my Universal Audio 6176. It’s very versatile for whatever. Drums, vocals, just banging coffee cups into a room mic. I also, love this little old Moog I found at a pawn shop years ago on tour and my Organ which I put through all kinds of pedals occasionally to spark ideas. It also has a tape recorder built in so sometimes I actually tape sounds and then record them into my computer to get a little tape saturation.
As far as my DAW I’m a Cubase SX kind of guy. I recently acquired SX 6 which just makes sense. The new drum editing features are so quick and user friendly and the built in vari audio, midi detection and export, and transient detection is pretty amazing. The tempo detection helps a great deal with remixes as well. Also, sometimes use FL Studio to change things up. I still think the piano roll just opens up so many rhythmic ideas. As for plugins I have been abusing the Sound Toys stuff a lot lately and Spectrasonics is making some pretty powerful stuff.
Workspace and Environment
It influences me a great deal. I have a basement studio with no light or sound from the outside world. I fully sound proofed my space. Built a floating room. So basically I can bang on drums at 3am in the morning if I want and work until the sun comes up. I couldn’t do that in the past when I was so distracted and limited by my surroundings. Ergonomics are not important and very important. I think Ergonomics effects what you make but certainly does not determine your ability to create. I can’t stand people who complain that they can’t create because they don’t have this or this is not like that or If I only had this or things were like this… blah blah blah. Just make stuff with what you got where you got it!
There isn’t much going on around here so I don’t go out much. I do think that growing with the ability to go to NY where there was a lot of art and culture while still having the ability to go home and jam in a garage or basement had a huge influence on the music I made coming up.
If I could hook a midi keyboard up to my brain while I sleep I’m pretty sure some pretty cool stuff would come out.
I do things in all different ways. I usually can’t think too much. Just have to pick something up and start making noise.
It’s pretty rare that I’ve heard my music publicly but the few times I have I feel pretty embarrassed. Not sure if I am suppose to acknowledge it or pretend it’s no big deal. I feel really uncomfortable honestly.
I have done a few things for video games and a bit of commercial work. At the moment I am working on sound design for a horror movie and am also creating and collaborating on Trailer music and orchestrations.