My name is Benjamin Kevin Witt.
I play music with my friends James Ireland & Hamish Rahn in a band called The Chemist. We live in Perth. James also creates electronic, beats based music & Ham also makes his own garage rock jams in HamJam. I started this band with Elliot Smith like five years ago, or something, but he quit the other month, & that's cool, we all gotta dig our own lick. He's a good dude and a way better drummer than you... So there.
We did a bunch of stuff in the past, moved states & back, did some EPs and tours, but who cares?
Our debut record is called “Ballet in the Badlands”. We recorded it in Hamilton Hill, during November 2011 with recording engineer Matt Lovell (Something for Kate, The Mess Hall). Having the opportunity to work with a pro like the ‘love-boat’ was a real privilege. He taught us a bunch about sound & we taught him a bunch about patience & Nandos. We were fortunate enough to have Burke Reid (PVT, Jack Ladder) mix the album & he did an outstanding job. I hope to work with him again in the future.
The writing/recording process was pretty dogmatic because I wanted to make sure the record was cohesive. The songs started in the embryonic stage as bluesy/folky songs & then I would try to arrange them in such a way that they didn't sound too pastiche. I guess it wasn't that conscious a thing. I would just try and come up with the most interesting parts I could, without relying on technology or effects to provide the interest. I would ask myself "what can we play as an old fashioned band in a room that will make me reach for my shovel & dig?". Effects & production techniques added colour to the whole thing. The record was a collaboration: I would do the shopping, bring home the ingredients & then we would cook as a band.
I think the record is about waking up in the morning, eating a piece of toast, interacting with people for better or worse, trying to remain self-autonomous, & then going to sleep in the night time. Although, more realistically, its probably about going to sleep in the morning and waking up in the afternoon.
That’s enough about me.