Benyaro: An Interview

Benyaro's third released album One Step Ahead of Your Past is a knockout performance by Ben Musser, the lead singer and Leif Routman on bass and harmonies.  His songs are full of honesty and heart. After seven years this album is sure to be his best yet. 

Who are you and what do you do? 

Benyaro is my punk-Americana band. We've got a unique live show where I play 5 instruments simultaneously while Leif Routman accompanies me on upright bass and vocal harmonies. We create a lot of sound for a two-piece. 

Leif Routman (Left) Ben Musser (Right)

Leif Routman (Left) Ben Musser (Right)

Your music has evolved over the years, how do you think this album differs from previous ones in terms of tone and mood? 

One Step Ahead of Your Past is a deeply personal collection of tunes from a period in which I became a husband and a father. The songs explore the profound, vibrant, and mundane with humility and humor. No previous albums had this perspective. And, no previous album rocks so hard!

What would you say your musical inspirations come from? 

My inspiration comes from everyday living. At the end of the day, we all want to feel loved, connected and empowered to stand up for ourselves. Our music is about doing that, moving forward and being honest and true. We're living in turbulent times and we need to find a way to move forward together, and get back to the truth, because it matters.

What do you love about songwriting? 

Music can move people viscerally and profoundly.  Writing and performing music which connects people is a powerful and rewarding thing. And having a finished song at the end of the writing process is always rewarding.

Where's the coolest place you've performed at? 

The Independent in San Francisco, where we opened up for Langhorne Slim and Jessica Lea Mayfield. It was a great show.

What was the artistic vision behind the music video Is It Worth It? 

Me and my wife, who's a tremendous curator and art advisor, were interested in animation; particularly a guy named Steve Cutts' animation. He's phenomenal, and though he was interested, he was too busy working on Moby's "Are You Lost in The World Like Me" this go-round. Then we came across the colorful animatics of Vienna Pitts. We loved his work and "Is It Worth It" seemed like the best fit for the animation vibe. My wife and I wrote a screenplay for him to animate. The song's about acknowledging that the choices you make have repercussions good and bad. People who stand up, speaking out, and veering from the herd are often ostracized. Hopefully, the song empowers folks to stay strong and live their truth. Be who you are and stand for what's right.


How has fatherhood changed your view on songwriting and or performing? 

Fatherhood has made touring more difficult, but absence does make the heart grow fonder. My songwriting tends to have to do with family, more and more. Pinch me when I'm doing a kids album!

How long did it take to create One Step Ahead of Your Past? 

38 years

courtesy of Benyaro - Album Cover

courtesy of Benyaro - Album Cover


A Fun Question

If you could visit any time in history where would it be? 

Ice age, so I could cross-country ski everywhere.

Header Photo by Zhifei Zhou on Unsplash