Published on February 23rd, 2016 | by TLV News0
Local Oxford Musician: Ben Ricketts
Current Projects: My namesake project (being just Ben Ricketts) is the main one, but there are a few others that come together now and then (the noise folk trio Suicide Doors, the experimental beats project Fuzzytree, and the avant garde musical improvisation group Concrete Housewives). I also contribute to Dylan Van Zile’s Noise Orchestra when live performances occur.
Where are you from? Originally, I’m from Corinth, Mississippi. The Tennessee line is quite literally in the back yard (about 20 feet behind the house). I now call Oxford home, though.
Your music Style/Genre? Psychedelic, experimental pop, covered in dense layers of sound.
What is your preferred approach to making sounds? I experiment a lot and play several different instruments, but I always come home to three things: my guitar, my voice, and my computer.
Early musical experience: Listening to punk with my brother, jazz with my mother, pop with my sister, and gospel with my dad. My grandfather (who passed away before my birth) invented the first commercially available drum machine (the Wurlitzer Sideman in 1959), so that’s always been a big thing for me to look to for inspiration.
Why did you start playing? For a million different reasons, and it’s certainly different now than it was then. I think “School of Rock” got me started wanting to play guitar as a kid (in all ridiculous honesty), but the path to serious musicianship is hard to trace.
What are some of your favorite bands? The Beach Boys (1966-1971 material), Animal Collective, mewithoutYou, Starflyer 59, J Dilla, Beach House, MGMT, and probably more than I have time to list. Lately, I’ve been listening back to a lot of David Bazan’s stuff, as well as of Montreal. Circulatory System’s first record has also been a big deal for me lately.
Most memorable person you’ve jammed with: In all honesty, my most memorable jams come when I play music with Cody Rogers (The Holy Ghost Electric Show) and Dylan Van Zile (HGES, Republicans). They’re both fantastic musicians, as well as dear friends. Suicide Doors is a project between the three of us. No matter what we’re doing–be it playing our old favorites, sharing new songs, creating things together, or just joking around with instruments–there’s a certain magic that I feel. Cody and I grew up in the same town, and Dylan and I have known each other for quite some time. There’s just this air that fills the room when I play with those guys that is indescribable.
Do you have a “day job”? If so, where? I work for IT Media on the UM Campus.
Aspirations: To make a stable living doing what I love: creating music and taking it to people. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making music. Even if I end up teaching with my history degree, I will always be tucked away in a room at night working on a record.