[Interview] Vibe Street Invites us into his Neighborhood
Traveling the country spreading good vibes and positivity can be a very busy endeavor. That's why we were lucky to catch up with Ben "Smiles" Davis, also known as Vibe Street, who is currently in the middle of The Good Vibe Revolution Tour.
Your website says all your music is free to download. what inspires you to offer your music for free?
In my mind, art isn't something that can be owned. I truly feel like once something is created it belongs to the collective consciousness of the universe and all of the beings that live here. This philosophy allows me the freedom of taking bits and pieces from everywhere - whether it's inspirations, samples or sound bytes, etc. - and combine them with my own intention and creativity and releasing it for free as my gift to the world. I want the music I release to be found and heard by as many people as possible so they will be encouraged to come check out the live show. That way they can experience the true magic of Vibe Street, which lies in the community that comes together through the music and celebration of life and a shared connection.
My favorite part about your music is the clever use of instruments with funky riffs. Do you play any instruments yourself? How has this affected the approach you take in your music?
I actually played guitar as a kid, but never practiced enough to truly master the instrument. That creative ambition returned when I learned about digital audio production, and I have since spent all of my efforts mastering that realm and have not yet had the chance to learn any real instruments to combine with my production skills. I think my lack of playing any instruments myself has forced me to get even more creative with the bits and pieces I choose to work with and blend into my tracks. I've always found that the thing I am best at is blending different ideas together, oftentimes in ways most people have never thought to blend them before. Most of my studio time is spent attempting to fit different pieces from all different contexts together like an elaborate puzzle, the best examples of which end up making it onto my albums and EPs or into my live sets.
Your music fuses many rich sounds. Are there any new ideas you are experimenting with now we can expect to hear in your future music?
I've spent the majority of the last few years trying to expand my skill set and produce as much music as possible. I have discovered a lot about my creative vision during that process. I'm shifting now to focus more on the core message that my music and live show represents and how to convey that message in a sonically intuitive way. The current state of our society is something I cannot ignore as an artist, and it makes me want to be a part of the positive movement of change that is sweeping our world now more than ever. I am digging deeper for samples that truly speak to me and represent the notions of togetherness, love, forgiveness, and raising our vibrations through coming together and understanding our fundamental connectedness as beings on this earth. That's what the Good Vibe Revolution Tour is all about! I absolutely believe that despite all the fear and negativity circling through the media and our politics these days, all we really need to do is come together and unconditionally love one another and we will find our way to a brighter future.
You are currently doing a tour through the US. Are there any crowds or cities that surprised you or blew you away?
Well, we are only a few stops in thus far, but they have all been great! The people who are coming out to these shows are the definition of real fans. They are coming to shows not just to drink or party, or just to check it out because it's the "in" thing to do. Rather, they are coming to truly hear the music and connect with one another, and it's a beautiful thing to watch evolve. This was the case already in Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Syracuse. I have a feeling Brooklyn is going to be a real treat in just a few hours. The idea is simply to expand our Vibe Street family, we call it "The Neighborhood," by one city, one soul, and one smile at a time!
When you're not working on your own music, or performing, what do you like to listen to for fun? Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I have worked hard this past year to replace a lot of my purely leisurely activities with productive ones. Whether it's watching educational programming or reading mind-expanding literature rather than the more passively entertaining stuff. Doing this has brought a new perspective into my life and has also been incredibly enjoyable. I've subscribed to and spent a lot of time digging into this website called Gaia.com. It's basically Netflix for spiritual and conscious information with programs ranging from yoga and meditation videos to research on ancient civilizations and even topics like government cover-ups, conspiracies and extraterrestrials (my personal favorite). These topics are all presented without any filters or censorship. It's unbelievably humbling to realize how much information we have yet to learn and adopt into our understood views of the world, and how easily we could solve so many of our problems if we just dug a little deeper into some of these areas. I was studying philosophy before I ever started producing music and have always been completely and utterly intrigued by consciousness and the paradox of existence. It's been both fun and interesting to integrate those concepts into my music and creative message so my artwork reflects who I am in the purest way possible. Oh, and of course sometimes I still just need to laugh and give my mind a break, and for those times there's watching Always Sunny episodes for the ten thousandth time because somehow they just never, ever get old.
Vibe Street is set to perform at Aisle 5 in Atlanta on February 3. Event info, ticket contest, and also ticket purchases are located HERE.
Photos courtesy of Vibe Street