Benedict Sinister is a provocative music and video artist and poet, whose book, No Good Will Come of This, includes lines like: “You say when I go down on you, it looks like I’ve got a moustache.” Sinister’s exhaustive schedule of world tours over recent years, are legendary for their debauchery – so much so that Sinister did not actually get around to playing live before heading to the after parties. Now grounded by the global lockdown, he has returned to releasing singles, with his “16 Lines from Bryan Ferry” making No 5 Breakout on the Billboard Dance Club Charts
Lisa: How do you balance the performative/creative side of making music with the technical side of engineering it?
Benedict Sinister: I’m all about offshoring and globalization: I usually handle the creative “knowledge work” myself, but I outsource the technical components like playing the instruments, making my voice sound acceptable, and mixing, to experts around the world. My main tool for making music is email, which I use for sending instructions and feedback till I’m happy with the results.
Lisa: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Benedict Sinister: I’m genre-fluid. Sure, people see me as a “pop idol,” “rock star” or “EDM phenomenon,” but I reject such normative categories. This year I’m releasing a ballad, a punk track and chill lounge songs, as well as club mixes of my tunes by LA DJ Christian B. So I’m expecting new fans from the entire breadth of the spectrum – and not solely the autism spectrum.
Lisa: What is the message you are trying to give with your provocative art?
Benedict Sinister: I love provocative art, whether it’s Max Ernst painting the Virgin Mary spanking the baby Jesus, NWA releasing “Fuck tha Police,” Chim↑Pom skywriting “flash” in Japanese above the Atom Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, or Miley Cyrus rubbing a foam finger between her legs at the VMAs. So when I produce art myself, I want to make my own modest contributions to that proud tradition.
Lisa: Do you get creative blocks? If so, what do you do to move past them?
Benedict Sinister: Um, I can’t think of an answer to that question. I’m drawing a total blank. Sorry.
Lisa: You’re latest single “16 Lines from Bryan Ferry” made it to no5 on the Billboard Dance Club Charts. What inspired you to write it?
Benedict Sinister: My teenage and early adult years were consumed by exhilarating and grueling love affairs, and Bryan Ferry’s songs were an important part of the soundtrack to those. “16 Lines from Bryan Ferry” combines lines quoted from sixteen of his songs into one which attempts to capture the compelling experience of the “corrida of love.”
Lisa: What is the most useless talent you have?
Benedict Sinister: I can piss in a line that graphs a quadratic equation.
Lisa: How do you nourish your creative side when you’re not working?
Benedict Sinister: I’m always working – answering interview questions, photo shoots, posting on social, making video clips, meet-and-greets with fans, appearances at night clubs. I’m actually looking forward to a break from work so I can write and record some music.
And how do you avoid burnout?
Benedict Sinister: Meditation, Tai Chi, herbal teas…. If you ever see me doing any of those activities, you’ll know I’ve burned out. Until then I’ll stick to my regime of work, drink, fine dining, partying, fucking, laughter and sleep deprivation.
Lisa: What’s a habit you find yourself returning to when you make work? Do you fight against it or accept it as part of you?
Benedict Sinister: I think in this era of Working From Home, people get distracted by so much – their flatmates, their pets, the refrigerator, boxsets, watching the collapse of civilization on the news. People have less time even for PornHub these days, let alone for work. But you have to draw the line somewhere. Like they say: it’s OK to dry hump with a nun, so long as you don’t get into the habit.
Lisa: What does your curiosity look like? How do you explore things?
I’m constantly searching online for photos for my aesthetic IG account, videos to add to my master list of songs in franglais, provocative and transgressive art, new material from artists I follow…. And because I actiually discover some pretty remarkable things through recommendations on Amazon, Instagram and YouTube, in between the ads for Grammarly and earwax removal. Here are two fairly amazing videos I recently discovered – for people with a taste for the bizarre:
– Tommy Cash’s video for “Pussy Money Weed”
”Ménage à Trois” by Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio
Lisa: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Benedict Sinister: If I could change anything in the music industry, I’d cancel the Beatles song “Hey Jude” – that tune is the sonic equivalent of dental surgery. There’s even a movie called Yesterday that reimagines the world without the Beatles. So, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Lisa: What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?
Benedict Sinister: I’m looking forward to dropping Special K at the Elvish christening ceremony Elon Musk and Grimes are throwing for their baby X-ie. I’m planning on bringing Azealea Banks as my date. She’s knitting some baby shoes shaped like little astronaut boots with cartoon-style SpaceX logos on them – she’s such a sweet, fun gal.