DOPE Interviews Marco Benevento And Leon Michels

in Culture

By Scott Recker

Marco Benevento has long been known as a piano and keys savant, and a deep and innovative explorer of psych-rock and jazz, but lately, he’s been leaning into pop sensibilities, building punchy, catchy songs that value a good hook and brevity. And on his new album, Let It Slide (out September 20), Benevento dives even deeper into that, pairing with producer Leon Michels, who was in Sharon Jones’ band the Dap-Kings, and has also worked with Raekwon, among many other notable names.

DOPE caught up with Benevento and Michels to talk about how they met through Dan Auerbach’s band the Arcs and the lyrical themes on Let It Slide, as well as how they achieved the album’s sonic backbone.

Dope: You both have really diverse and experimental histories, pushing yourselves in all sorts of different directions. Sonically, what was the goal for Let It Slide?

Marco Benevento: I guess the goal was for us to figure out how my original demos were going to sort of turn into real songs.

Leon Michels: We found that about a third of the way through the record, that we landed on, like, a sonic theme where we ended up using a lot of cassette and running sound through cassette. This is the first record that I did after I moved out of [New York City] to upstate New York, so it was also a complete experimentation in the new studio, trying to figure out how it worked.

How did the new studio impact the sound?

Benevento: It was constant discovery, and there was no normal thing that Leon did because it was his new studio, so we just used whatever we felt like in the moment. Also, another aspect is: now, to work on some music with Leon, …

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Author: DOPE Magazine / High Times

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