Satellite Ranch Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Ben SilverZachary Franck
Zachary Franck interviewing Ben Silver
Photos by Jeremy Frazier of Soundfuse
Ben Silver has established himself as a tremendous DJ and an all-around encyclopedia of music. As a solo artist and 1/3 of Orchard Lounge, he has been laying down soundscapes at parties of all, shapes, and sizes for 15 + years. He is a true DJ in every sense of the word and looks forward to playing for any crowd that is ready to be taken on a sonic journey, from the couch to the dance floor. For his second year at Satellite Ranch, he’ll be joined by drummer Allen Aucoin (of the Disco Biscuits) for their debut headlining slot as Silver Fameus. For lovers of Orchard Lounge and the Disco Biscuits, this is one of the most anticipated sets of the summer. Make sure you’re at Satellite Ranch on Labor Day weekend, you do not want to miss this!
ZF: It’s been a pretty fantastic year for you as a solo artist as well as 1/3 of Orchard Lounge. What are some specific moments that stand out to you?
BS: The past couple years I have been playing more shows solo, so that’s cool. I’ve also been thrilled that there has been more OL shows this year. We have been having a lot of fun playing and we’ve had some great nights so far. U-street Music Hall in DC, a few sets in Denver, and a fun night at Smartbar in Chicago are the ones that stand out. We are also back at Smartbar for our annual post-Lollapalooza 7 hour set which is always a blast. Camp Bisco was easily a favorite as well.
ZF: You’ve been spinning records for years, how has your approach changed over the years?
BS: Honestly, I think a lot has stayed the same. What I was digging for 15 years ago is still somewhat similar to what I spin now. Back then, when I would dig at Gramaphone Records and Hi-Fi Records in Chicago, I would listen to a ton of super deep, funkier house records and a lot of the time there would be a vocal A1 track and then a couple deeper tracks as well. However, sometimes there would be this magical second track on the B side that would be even deeper and way more out there. That was what I wanted. I feel the same today, except I have a much, much wider arsenal of tracks now-a-days. That is how it is with DJs though; they get older, go through more crazy experiences, collect more music, and I think get better with age, kind of like fine wine.
ZF: You threw down two massive sets at Camp Bisco, truly some of the best DJing that I’ve seen as of late, what makes Camp Bisco so special to you?
BS: This was our 10th year playing Camp (was a fan at three of them before that also), and all ten were great for us. It has always been amazing to be able to play for so many people and have so many like-minded people in one place at the same time. It’s a great event and it has been exciting to sit back and watch it grow, from a super small event with 500 people to what it has become today.
ZF: The VIP set with Allen Aucoin on drums was absolutely mind blowing. It was truly a journey in every sense of the word. How many times have you done that with Allen? What’d you think about that specific set?
BS: Thank you, we had a great time too. Allen is the man. He is just so insanely talented and he’s also just the nicest guy. He’s sat in with us a few times actually, we did a VIP set at Camp Bisco two years ago and then sat in for about an hour each of the last two times we played Cervantes in Denver. That VIP set was fun because we did a much more banging set for our main slot and then it rained, so we didn’t start the VIP set until 3am. So, we kept it pitched down in tempo and more spacey and vibey instead of overly heavy.
ZF: So, you’ll be headlining with Allen for the first time at Satellite Ranch, what can fans expect to experience?
BS: First off, this is an awesome event. I played it last year solo and it was intimate and full of good people. The location is really cool and Tedd Wampole is just an all-around great host, I love that guy. Allen and I have been talking about this for a bit and we are going to do our best to make it as enjoyable as possible. I want to touch on a number of themes but also keep it really deep.
ZF: You’ve played all types of festivals that vary in size and atmosphere, what do you like about intimate gatherings like Satellite Ranch?
BS: It always comes down to the people. If there are people I connect with and enjoy talking to, I have more fun. Sometimes the smaller events are a lot more fun than the big ones. I guess the difference there would be that at the really big festivals, you get to see some huge acts you don’t see often. The intimate events though, you are closer to the music and a much bigger part of the experience.
ZF: As momentum and interest in Silver Fameus continues to grow, do you feel like this could be a side project that you bring on the road a few times a year?
BS: I would absolutely love that. I’m down to do that anytime! We also love when Allen is with OL, so really anytime he wants to play, we do as well.
ZF: You’ve spun records with a few drummers, what stands out about playing with Allen?
BS: Allen just has a really dope style. He is so fluid, fast, and always smooth, but he also stays in the pocket. He plays in a way where you can still hear the vibe of the record that is playing and he becomes a part of it, instead of taking it over.
ZF: Solo sets are obviously a true test for a DJ, but so is spinning as a collective and vibing off each other, do you hope to someday take Orchard Lounge to bigger venues and festivals in the authentic electronic music scene rather than the EDM scene?
BS: We have played a bunch of electronic festivals too, from Spring Awakening and Mamby, Electric Zoo, big pre-parties at Movement etc. We love playing for people who really listen and appreciate a set where they won’t recognize any of the tracks. That’s what we’re all about.
ZF: If you had to convince somebody that’s on the fence about coming to Satellite Ranch, what would you say to them?
BS: If you want a quality intimate festival with a bunch of great artists all across the board, come to this one!