Artist of the Week: Second Left
A mass of cloud, filled with inspiration, seems to descends its raindrops onto a very local area in the UK. Right in the middle of it, we've got Ben Preston. This talented producer has fed the Electronic Elements label more than 10 solid, soulful productions already. Cutting edge progressive and house tracks, all with the true Second Left sound, have established him as one of the upcoming names in the house scene of today. Ben's new EP, 'Mr. Tickles' and 'London To Paris', has just been released. Let's take the Second Left, and see what's up with the guy behind the 'Blip Blop sound'.
Ben: "I took a real interest in EDM during my University course where I started to produce funky soulful house music around 2-3 years ago. 2 years later, and I'm producing progressive/ trance!". Mister Second Left, Ben Preston, didn't actually get into his sound until about 3 years ago. Constantly developing, changing, testing and striving forward, is what divides the easy pre-set producer from the experimental one. So that's exactly what Ben did. "I started producing music at the age of 13 on an old PC running Acid music, and it's grown ever since. I studied for a BA in Music Production at University, qualified in 2007, and then joined forces with fellow producer Nathan C to start productions under our 'Tastemakers' name. After a year of this, I started my 'Ben Preston' and 'Second Left' names for my own productions and haven't looked back. I also still work with Nathan under the 'Tastemakers' and 'Soulmakers' aliases on more commercial projects."
With studying to be a fully qualified producer, Ben already made the first move towards fulltime music involvement. But the big decision was made during his study, when he realized the effect his tracks had already had. Ben:"Well, at 6th form college, I started to realize the opportunities I could have with producing + creating music and decided I definitely wanted a career in it. I'd been producing since 13 years old, so I've always had a love for it. I realized that my productions under Ben Preston + Second Left were to be taken more seriously when Armin and Tiësto started to play my tracks, and decided to keep at it." And so, Ben turned his one big passion into his daily job. Life doesn't get any better than that. Ben:"I am indeed doing this full time now. Working with various aliases (Ben Preston, Second Left, Tastemakers, Soulmakers) and also engineering/producing for other dance artists has enabled me to take this on full time. I am also working on writing commercial, popular music to push to mainstream artists as well, and currently forming a new alias, which I will keep quiet for now."
To be sure his options are kept open, Ben uses different guises. Most of his time is spend on the Second Left and Ben Preston releases. And though both monikers have their similarities, Ben's trying to differentiate them more and more. Ben:"There aren't huge differences between the 2, but I started with the Second Left name wanting to take it along a more underground sounding route. The Second Left name is one I like to keep close with Armada as I have had all the Armada releases under this alias. Under my Ben Preston name, I am beginning to take things in a slightly different direction, incorporating more vocals and new sounds to the productions, so eventually, there will be a more significant difference." For now, the underground route still seems to be a solid, original source to quality dance music, as one big Second Left track after another finds its way out. So Ben must be doing something right. It never harms to try something new though. Especially when people start naming your sound 'Blip Blop'. Ben:"Many people describe my sound as the 'Blip Blop' sound. I would describe it as a classically influenced fusion of Progressive House/Trance/Tech House/Electro as my releases over the last year have managed to fit into each of these categories!"
London To Paris & Mr. Tickles
Ben's Blip Blop sound saw him release 10 top notch progressive house tracks within only a matter of months. Ben:"Well, I have been working hard and fast on productions this year and it has been my first year of producing under Ben Preston and Second Left. I have been in close contact with the guys at Armada and been sending my work their way on a regular basis to help build my relationship with the label and to have my releases released on a well recognized, hard working label." So far, it's been working more than well. September unveiled two new Second Left releases, 'London To Paris' and 'Mr. Tickles'. Ben:"This is my favourite release of mine on Electronic Elements so far, as the productions have a lot more to them and I have been more creative with them. 'London to Paris' has this 'on a journey' feel about it, and there are parts of the track that take a different/ more abstract route and then return back to the original theme. 'Mr. Tickles' (odd name I know) has a dark comical vibe to it, and helps the EP to portray 2 sides of a spectrum. 'London to Paris' is very epic and uplifting, and 'Mr. Tickles' is much more underground, bouncy and nasty." Despite the spot-on description of these Electronic beat-beauties, we still suggest you take a listen.
Needless to say we don't have to worry about the future of this skillful, promising producer. New sounds are already in the making, or finding their way out. Ben:"There is plenty on its way! I am currently working on a collab with Blake Jarrell on a great new track for Armada and also working on a new Second Left EP for Electronic Elements. I have a new release on Songbird late October called 'Why We Run' and also have an EP release on Garuda with remix from Shawn Mitiska and Adam Brown - 2 fantastic producers whose productions I am supporting." Enough said about others, Ben. Time to let your music speak.
More info on Second Left/Ben Preston, check his MySpace.