With the world centered around technology, it is no surprise that electronically produced music has permeated mainstream culture with producers like Zedd and Calvin Harris creating top 40 hits that can be heard on any Sunday pop countdowns. Aside from these household names taking part in this cultural trend is Keene State College senior Benjamin Neary who said he has been producing music since his first year at KSC when a hometown friend got him into it.
“My friend Tylor had played me some of the beats that he had made off his laptop which basically got me interested in making my own music, so I started messing around with Garageband on my Macbook Air I got for college,” Neary said.
According to Neary, his dedication to music production did nothing but escalate, and he stayed up most nights with a group of friends making beats using the upgraded music equipment purchased during summer following his first year.
The evolution of Neary’s music is dependent not only on the increased quality of equipment, but also on his life experiences over the past three and a half years.
“My music has definitely developed a lot; just through experiencing college and my feelings towards that along with getting better at playing piano and understanding how sound engineering works has brought my sound to where it is now,” Neary said.
Kyle Sanborn, KSC senior and longtime friend of Neary, said he believes that the music produced by Neary is incomparable to anything being created today.
“Ben’s beats aren’t just random tracks thrown together; every project has specific songs chosen to tell a story in a specific order, and each project is a continuation of the last,” Sanborn said.
Neary said that the time he spends on individual beats varies, but he cannot remember a day he didn’t spend time behind the computer screen producing music.
“Sometimes I’ll take 20 minutes on some beats or 15 to 20 hours for some of the ones that end up being on an EP. It’s very rare for me to go a day without sitting down and creating something for at least an hour though; I have hundreds of beats on this one hard drive that you’ll never hear,” Neary said.
KSC Senior Austin Perodeau said Neary’s time commitment to his music is admirable, especially approaching graduation where having to chose a path is necessary.
“I know a lot of my friends still don’t know what they want to do or why they want to do it; it’s cool that with Ben he already has an answer for both,” Perodeau said.
With an extensive amount of time committed to Neary’s passion, his hopes for the future of his music involve influencing others.
“There’s a lot I want to achieve with my music, but ultimately it’s just to inspire other people to want to become the best at whatever it is they want to be – to figure out what you think is cool and pursue it,” Neary said.
Although his goals might be humble, Sanborn said that the possibilities for Neary’s music are endless.
“Ben can go in a lot of places with the music he has produced, various artists could contact him to produce a song for them or he could also start a recording studio with his management degree to make beats for people who may not have access to the equipment he has,” Sandborn said.
According to Neary, his most recent work, “The Winter EP,” was a follow-up sequel to “The Fall EP,” which was a project created to bring listeners on an eerie journey and was inspired by the theatrical costume designer Madame Cherri’s Chesterfield, New Hampshire, mansion that was known for lavish parties but burned down.
“These two EPs bring the listener on a trip through the woods, eventually coming across a large mansion party in the middle of the night and the experience inside; we wanted to blend the social environment from that time period into a modern sound,” Neary said.
According to Neary, the music produced by himself and friends can be found on the “From the Woods” website, www.woodsthefrom.com, which he hopes to serve as a platfrom and brand to relsease new artists under, as well as at www.soundcloud.com/benneary.
According to Perodeau, there should be a place for Neary’s music in everyone’s iTunes library.
“His stuff is basically what most college students would listen to on any given weekend; it just happens we go to school with him. I think if you at all find electronic music appealing, it’s absolutely worth giving Neary a listen,” Perodeau said.
Amanda Lashua can be contacted at email@example.com