Former Amherst student launches musical band

Max Lansing

Ben Lansing, a former Amherst student, started a small musical band while in school and is now looking to perform in front of a variety of audiences. 

“Getting gigs is definitely one of the more difficult parts of playing music past learning everything,” said Ben of his newly-launched professional career. “Most of our gigs were not paid and the ones that were usually were for people we knew, organizations we were affiliated with, etc.  Short answer, yes, but it’s all about who you know and who you network with.”

Does he get nervous playing in front of crowds? You bet. “Of course!  Playing in front of people is always scary, but it’s a hump you have to get over at some point. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.”  

Ben both writes his own music and plays covers. “We had a range of covers that we play at most of our shows; however, we also recorded an album with a few original songs that we wrote.”

Putting a band together is not easy. Recruiting can be difficult for some bands but Lansing did not find it difficult. “In our case, it was not.  We knew people who played music and we were all friends so it came together pretty naturally,” he said. 

Lansing said the band grew to a good size in a short period of time, and he got lots of experience through practice and performance.“ I think for the time in our lives the band was the perfect size.  We all had busy lives outside of music and this didn’t interfere too much with our personal lives. I believe it got about as big as it was meant to.”

Did band members audition for their roles. “Not really, as mentioned before we were aware that all of us played instruments; it was just a matter of getting everyone together.

Playing with friends is a good thing and professional rivalries haven’t been a problem at all. “I’ve always had a more fun time playing with friends because there’s a bit less pressure since you know everyone.  However, playing with people you don’t know is often a welcoming challenge because in most cases it will open up new challenges in playing as you’re adapting to another style.”  

Band members have had no problem picking out a particular genre of music. “If you have the same musical taste as the people you play with, deciding on a genre isn’t that hard.  In our case, we were all into relatively similar music, so when we played we were usually able to find a flow that worked for us and get into a genre from there.” 

Back in high school, Ben used an Ibanez Les Paul Standard guitar and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe II amplifier.  Guitar pedals are another accessory used to get different ranges of sound. “I wasn’t big into pedals at the time so most of the music we played went straight through amplifier effects.  My amp did what I needed it to do for the time period so I didn’t see the need for it.”