Many of you may recognize Ben Hackett from his roles playing bass on stage with New Madrid or perfecting sound from behind the board at the 40 Watt Club. Now, he’s ready to release an album of his own on Feb. 17 under the moniker BennyHonda SuperShifter.
Writing the songs for what eventually coalesced into SuperShifter began a few years ago when Hackett landed a position working at Chase Park Transduction Studios after assisting owner-engineer David Barbe on his album, 10th of Seas. Knowing it’d be best to take the hands-on approach of learning-by-doing, he began practicing by recording himself.
“I didn’t want to put anyone else through the rigors of me trying out different techniques or mics or pieces of gear, so I had to just record myself playing and that’s how these songs came about,” says Hackett. “Basically, long story short, I wrote these songs as a way for me to really learn how to record. I’d done things before on my own for sure, but getting a handle on a real pro studio was a different beast and this was my way of figuring it out.”
After losing the initial recordings due to a hard drive crash—an unfortunate rite of passage for any aspiring studio engineer—Hackett asked Alex Woolley and Gary Eddy to join him, on drums and bass respectively, for a re-recording with Barbe. Hackett then recorded the vocals and overdubs and mixed the tracks himself between working at home and Chase Park.
Below, watch Hackett get a haircut!
“The song ‘Terrified’ is both a song written to someone and also to myself,” says Hackett. “Being in a band is like being in an intense relationship, and it’s funny—you can have the same hopes and fears and really emotional feelings and loves and joys and sorrows and pain in both worlds. It’s nice when you can look back at someone or something or yourself, and even just by saying that you’re not afraid give yourself agency and strength, even if in your heart of hearts you don’t know if it’s totally true when you say it. It’s also just an excuse of a song for a way too long guitar solo.”
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