One of Southern California’s best-undiscovered talents, Ben Dragon brings a level of energy and vibes to his set that is unparalleled. Ben combines the best elements of house, techno, and funk to create an uplifting set that invigorates his crowd. Ben recently released his new music video and single “Dollar $igns” featuring Dare House on his own label Fire To My Ears. We had the chance to catch up with Ben about his latest release, his favorite tunes, and how he got his dancing skills.
How would you describe your style of music? Which artists are you influenced by?
Typically my style is fun, sexy, dirty, and groovy. I’m influenced by so many different artists and genres but some of my big influences include Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Kerri Chandler, DJ Deeon, Armand Van Helden, MJ Cole, Dr. Dre and Chemical Brothers just to name a few. I think you really need to listen to a lot of music especially study the legends and the history/progression of different genres to create something unique and great.
Which record are you constantly playing on repeat? What are your top five favorite albums of all-time?
It’s kind of ridiculous but currently I have “Moo” by Doja Cat on repeat…it’s pure genius haha. Top five albums of all time?! This is going to be hard but I’d have to say:
Richard “Humpty” Vission & Bad Boy Bill – The House Connection Volume 1
I remember being in a Sam Goody in Chicago summer of ’98 when I saw this on the racks and immediately thought “Bad Boy Bill and Humpty Vission on four turntables!?? This is gonna be tiiite!” It was packed with all these classic Chicago house tracks mixed together really fast and at a hard house tempo! Many of my influences in house come from the records on this album.
The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy were pretty much the first electronic music aside from house/techno that really caught my attention. I was enamored with this album because of it’s incredible writing and production that would get me so hyped. All the matching visuals were intense! Easily one of the best electronic albums of all time.
Dr. Dre – The Chronic
Dre is an absolute beast and this album is a hip-hop masterpiece. It forever changed the course of the genre and raised the standards of production…it still SMACKS today.
No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom
“Don’t Speak” is one of my favorite songs of all time and the first song I learned when I started playing the guitar. What I loved about No Doubt is their ability to bridge ska to the mainstream with their unique sound. They had so many hits off of this album and hey – who wasn’t in love with Gwen?
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
What else is there to say except this could be the best album of all time? ICONIC.
Where did you come up with the concept for this song and video?
I’d been interested in collaborating with Dare House and he was over at the studio listening to some ideas I had brewing. There was a chord progression that he thought was cool and started singing this idea over it that I really liked. From there we went in on the vocal production and I ended up going through several different versions before I finally thought it had the right vibe which I wanted to have a feel of some early 2K hip hop mixed with R&B and tech-house.
For the video, we thought it would be a cool idea to follow some kids around the dollar store as a little play on the song title “Dollar Signs.” Eventually, we ended up telling the story of some young kids who end up doing some hard summer chores in order to make some extra money but only end up receiving $1 as payment. They end up going to the store to “ball out” and I basically end up being their fairy godfather.
So this music video features your own dancing. How did you learn how to dance like that?
For a while, I wasn’t listening to house music at all after moving to California. There was just so much iconic hip-hop, R&B, and pop music coming out of LA during the 2000’s and nobody around me was listening to underground house at the time. It wasn’t until I discovered a house club in Orange County FOCUS that was cracking every week with the best dancers from all over California at the time. I noticed that there were several dancers doing a crazy footwork intensive style that I had seen before in Chicago and I instantly knew I wanted to dance like that.
For months I would come and try to figure out the moves just by watching and eventually one of the dancers approached me and asked if I was interested in learning “House Dance”. Needless to say, I became obsessed with the dance style and was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from many of the originators of the dance style from New York. It’s pretty crazy because that’s what really re-ignited my love for house music and continues to influence how I produce my music and how I DJ.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
- Your purpose in life is like an onion. You have to peel away the layers one at a time till you find the core.
- Mess with the people that mess with you.
What’s your mission statement as a producer?
My mission is to bring as many people joy from house music as possible by any means necessary 🙂
What are your plans for the rest of 2018 and beyond?
Every day is a blessing so always trying to live to the fullest, more travels and adventures, play cool shows, collaborate with more artists, shoot more visuals, push my limits, and make the best music I can possibly make!
MORE ABOUT BEN DRAGON:
Listen to “Dollar $igns”: