Ben Stephan


byproducts is a music project that works to source samples of audio entirely from vinyl records and repurpose them under a different context. These samples are unique  because, compared to the wide array of instruments available to artists working in any  digital audio workstation, they can sound very busy. They’re layered with other instruments, filled with vinyl crackle, and incorporate whatever hum gets emitted from the audio gear used to re-record them. There are plenty of isolated breakbeats and loops online with clean production quality that are ready to grab and incorporate into a song with ease. Yet, record samples have an irreplaceable quality. Everything from the technology used at the time to the room it was recorded in shapes a record and gives it a texture indicative of its environment, and when different samples are combined, the results are volatile. They can often clash, fighting over space in the mix with off-key phrases playing different rhythms and tempos, but through arranging and rearranging, filtering, and processing, the samples start to speak to each other. All these sampled textures find their space, and musicians from different eras and genres begin communicating under a new light. Slowly, the sounds working together are unrecognizable from their origin and begin to play a new role, acting as a piece of a puzzle that fills a spot in an overall picture. All those pieces used are here on display, available to be taken and repurposed again on the flash drive presented before you.

With making sample-based music, there’s an aspect of accessibility to composing that everyone possesses. These songs are composed only of stolen sounds, and since none of them are mine to begin with, I can’t claim ownership of the source material.

Anyone should feel free to take the drive, do whatever they please, and return it for someone else to take. I hope these samples will continue to find new homes in unexpected places, existing as mere byproducts of their environments.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Ben Stephan is an aspiring producer and audio engineer interested in blurring the boundaries of genre. By experimenting with a combination of different styles and influences, he always looks to find happy accidents in unexpected places.

PROFESSIONAL DIRECTION/CAREER ASPIRATION: Audio engineer, film sound crew member


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