'Black Messiah' Engineer Ben Kane Talks D'Angelo, Music Industry Blues + New Projects w/ 'Funk U'
Ben Kane AKA one of the OG D’sciples and engineers of D’Angelo‘s already classic Black Messiah LP has been musing on the album and its many (okay) players since the moment it dropped. We already gave you a rundown of the play-by-play he gave us in his extensive and insanely insightful 12 Days Of D’Angelo campaign (for which the world will forever be grateful), but today it’s time to get to know your boy a bit. The good folks over at Funk U had a moment to catch up with him and wax rather candidly on his early years as Russell Elevado‘s right-hand-man in the house that Jimi built (Electric Lady Studios, duh) how he came to work on the project at a remarkably young age, why the album obscures from any music industry trend, and even chimes in on some of the debates that have arisen in the wake of Black Messiah‘s return (i.e. Voodoo v. BM, word-slurring and the like). He also divulges that his next projects will be mixing for some OKP favorites like the lovely Miss Emily King, First Look alum Christian Gregory and one of the many innovative drummers to have graced Black Messiah (particularly on “Prayer”), the guy that keeps Questo up at night, none other than Chris Daddy Dave. You can read through a couple of compelling clips from Ben Kane’s interview below, just be sure to head over to Funk U for the full script.
On beginning work with D and Russ at Electric Lady:
“I started working with Russell and also with D’Angelo pretty early in my career. I started as an intern at Electric Lady Studios back in 2003. I was 19 years old at the time. I soon became a house engineer for the studio and engineered for many amazing artists there. In those days, I also became Elevado’s main assistant while at the studio as well as the engineer for his production work including the album Circles by Krystle Warren who is now actually based in France as some Funk★U readers may be familiar. I met D’Angelo very early on at my time at Electric Lady and worked with him a good number of times before delving very deeply into this project around 2008.”
On the studio’s atmosphere :
“Well, the core creative team for the most part on a day-to-day basis is D’Angelo and either Russ, myself or often the both of us. Then the other musicians come into our sessions as needed. It’s a nice, positive atmosphere in the studio. We’re really a group of brothers at this point, and we have a lot of fun creating and listening to music whenever we’re together.”