Premiere: Benjamin Lazar Davis Debuts New Single, “What If I?” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, January 28th, 2021  

Premiere: Benjamin Lazar Davis Debuts New Single, “What If I?”

New Solo LP Due Out 2021

Nov 30, 2020 Photography by Kevin W. Condon
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Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Lazar Davis has released his newest single, “What If I?,” premiering with Under the Radar.  Davis has long been a prolific collaborator, playing on records with Okkervil River, Kimbra, performing as a core member with Cuddle Magic, and recording as a duo with Joan As Policewoman and Lake Street Dive’s Bridget Kearney. However, he has also branched out into solo music with his 2018 record Nothing Matters and his newest singles, “If You Want It” and “What If I?,” taken from his upcoming solo LP due out in 2021.

“What If I?” takes inspiration from a Bach chorale entitled “Preserve My Faith From Error Free,” turning the traditional classical piece into an elliptical folk pop song, recalling the psychedelic style of The Flaming Lips. Davis stacks together layers of vocals, piano, and just a hint of mournful lap steel to create a lovely singalong plea to a lost lover. From the chorale’s simple melody Davis builds an exceedingly catchy bit of psych pop magic. The inventive video is a similar delight, conceived and shot completely alone by Davis himself. With only his guitar, a drone, and a GoPro camera, Davis plays with perspective to put an imaginative and meta spin on a simple concept. 

Davis says of the track, “Cole Kamen-Green was really excited to show me a Bach chorale called, “Preserve My Faith From Error Free”. I started writing a melody over it, and soon I had the verse and out of my gibberish came the words “Sylvia, my own”. We made the song about a relationship that needed saving, and we thought if we sang the chorus enough times maybe Sylvia would come back. She never did.” 

He adds, “This video was made during the first few months of quarantine, in the desert -- 2 hours outside of Los Angeles. My goal was to make the video without anybody else’s help. I bought a drone and a GoPro camera and Final Cut and proceeded to make a music video about making a music video of myself. It was really fun and hard and I learned so much.” Check out the song and video below.


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