in the dark a secret river conceals itself
in the heart it pulls me under the deepest spell
~ Mike Benecke, 'Bloodsong'
~ Mike Benecke, 'Bloodsong'
Today I'm really excited to introduce you to singer/songwriter, Mike Benecke. After stumbling on this blog, Mike reached out to let me know about the recent release of his debut LP, Call the Waves, as he thought it might be something the RWM reader would enjoy listening to. Naturally, I dove right in and spent some time with the album. Instantly, I was moved by this slow, dreamy music. There is something unique and hauntingly beautiful about it. This is not the kind of music that I would put on to get fired up for a race. But, it's the perfect album to sit and chill with, perhaps while stretching or drinking your morning coffee or as you close out your day. There's a darkness behind Mike's lyrics which you can spend some time pulling apart if you are so inclined. Personally, I chose to simply relax and take in the simple, melodic structure of each song without giving it too much thought. Mike's been writing music and producing records since he was a kid and toured with several different bands before landing here. It is at this stage in his career, with this raw and stripped down version of his original sound, that he so clearly connects with his listener. So what if Mike used his speed as a sprinter to show off for the girls way back when. Along with his music, running is part of him in his own way. For now, we'll just leave it at that. Many thanks for sharing your music and a bit of your story with us. Here's Mike, a RUNNER WHO ROCKS.
Name: Mike Benecke
Where you're from: I was born in Illinois, but grew up in "The OC"
Where you reside now: Los Angeles
Occupation: musician for life, filmmaker for a living
RUNNING & MUSIC:
What do you love most about running?
Growing up, I loved to sprint. The first girl I ever liked was a sprinter too. It was a good way to show off. She became the first girl I ever kissed.
What do you love most about music?
Creating music is hard. Being a musician is harder. Sharing your truest self and connecting with a listener makes it all worthwhile.
Band (current, all time or both): both*
Album (current, all time or both): all time*
*I don't have any favorite albums or bands, but here is a list of some of the artists that inspire my record: Run DMC, Screeching Weasel, Elliott Smith, Randy Newman, M83, Antony and the Johnsons, Billie Holiday, Bon Iver, Cass McCombs, Cormac McCarthy, James Taylor, Joanna Newsom, John Coltrane, Wolf Parade, Louis CK, My Bloody Valentine, Philip Glass, Richard Buckner, Sufjan Stevens, Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch, Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits
Race venue: My sofa. I'm a better spectator.
Music venue: Headphones, low tide, twilight
Race distance: Shorter the better
Show you've seen live: Jawbreaker
Ice cream flavor: Fresh strawberries, but if they aren't fresh, I'll take vanilla
THIS OR THAT:
Sweet or salty: life is about balance, blue cheese with honey, and a glass of wine since you're offering
Live or recorded: solo version live
Coffee or tea? I'm a snob. single origin, light roast, pourover, please
Summer or winter? Summer in summertime. Homegrown tomatoes! Kinda over LA's summer all the time.
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? Tom Waits
Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Elliott Smith
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? They would have to be a good cook, 'cause I just want to relax and have a Jameson (it's Saint Patrick's Day)
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Is that a thing?!
Today, I feel like (complete the sentence)....kiss me I'm half-Irish
Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
Let's go for a hike and listen to a This American Life podcast
Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Vince Guaraldi - El Matador
Cannonball Adderley & Milt Jackson - Things Are Getting Better....
.... then some cheesy jazz came on the radio so I switched it off.
Listen to this:
Call the Waves - Mike Benecke (listen & download for free on bandcamp.)