Creature Benny - "My music deals with themes of alienation from what is valuable to others, dissatisfaction with the direction of humanity, and the macabre fantastical." - Stereo Stickman

Creature Benny “My music deals with themes of alienation from what is valuable to others, dissatisfaction with the direction of humanity, and the macabre fantastical.”


Armed with a brand new release and an extensive back-catalogue to lose yourself within, Creature Benny remains one of indie’s most fearlessly unique creatives.

We caught up with the songwriter and musician to find out more about the latest project, how things have changed in the past year and a half, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.

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Creature Benny – great to catch up with you! How have things been this past year?

Hey great to be in touch! Things have been good this past year. From March of ‘22 until the end of June ‘23 I was working on Creature Benny’s Tales Moste Wretched, Vol. 2, and since then I have been going almost every weekend it seems like. Visiting friends and work trips and celebrating birthdays and music festivals and swimming with manatees. I am tired but having a very nice time 🙂

Huge congrats for the new album. Did Tales Moste Wretched Vol. 2 turn out the way you expected, or have things changed over time?

The songs from TMWV2 were mostly written in 2017-2018, with much of the overall production already mapped out for each song back when I originally wrote and was excited about each of them. Putting out Creature Benny phase II was a process of assessing these incomplete productions, deciding what was missing, recording, playing or programming those missing parts, and then mixing it all down.

So, I’ll say that the music came out the way I expected, more or less, but it’s such a pleasure to have executed the plan and seen it through. For the second time now. I also devise, draw, and design all the album artwork myself, which is a big piece of Creature Benny for me.

“Part of the spirit of the project is that everything is an extension of me – it comes from my vision and is realized by my hand.”

So to see all my EP and album covers fills me with a real sense of satisfaction.

How do you craft your songs – solo acoustic, full band, straight to the studio?

The process of writing each song is a little different for me, and my writing practices have also developed some over the years. When I started writing the songs that would become Creature Benny back in 2016, I would mostly begin by figuring out some chords I liked and then coming up with a melody and putting words to that melody. I really enjoy writing with my resonator cone electric guitar unplugged, because it sounds twangy and metallic, sorta like a banjo but it’s a guitar.

I also have some songs that started with a lyric and a melody. I figure out what chords go underneath the melody and go from there – writing the next sections from scratch, but being led by the seed of the idea – that first lyric and melody.

More often recently, I’ll come up with a guitar part I like and then record it so I can listen over and over. I start coming up with melodies, and if the best isn’t obviously distinguishing itself from the others, I’ll key the ideas out in a piano sound or something and tweak it until I don’t hear anything else that I’d like to hear differently.

What sort of themes do you explore with this project?

Generally speaking, Creature Benny music deals in themes of 1) alienation from what motivates and is valuable to others, 2) dissatisfaction with the direction of humanity as a species, and 3) the macabre fantastical, which is how I would describe the subject matter covered in the spooky or off-kilter stories I tell in my songs.

The songs for TMWV2 were written out of the same creative burst that birthed phase I of Creature Benny and TMWV1, so really this album treads a lot of that same territory, but not in a way that is redundant because there is quite a lot to discuss under the three umbrella-themes I laid out above. Volume 2 broadens and deepens the themes explored throughout the Creature Benny catalog.

Why did you choose Double Edged Ed as the first main song on the album?

I followed the same blueprint on TMWV2 that I laid out with TMWV1, and part of that framework is
that the songs from the first EP of the phase, in this case the songs from The Crooked Man EP, are
laid out sequentially on the album that finishes out the phase, interspersed with other tracks from
the four digital 7”s preceding the album.

Canine Centiman is the first real song on V1 because it’s the first song on The Spooky America EP,
which kicked off CB phase I, and for the same reason Double-Edged Ed is the first song on V2 – it’s
the first song on The Crooked Man EP.

Besides that, the blueprint is responsible for the inclusion of an instrumental intro and interlude(s),
as well as the four bonus tracks – two cover songs, one extended version of an album track, and one true wildcard bonus song. On V1 this was Space Trash Jam and on V2 it’s City of Bones, by my old college band, Exotic Pets.

Were there any songs or projects that didn’t make the final cut, or do you go all-in with every idea?

I have songs written that haven’t come out yet. In fact, I have the entire Creature Benny phase III
written and all songs recorded at least in demo form, though they won’t be released for a while
because I need a break after phase II.

But in regards to songs that get written and not released, there aren’t many for this project. Pretty
much everything I’ve written for Creature Benny will see the light of day eventually. Except this one song called Tapeworm from 2015 that I abandoned and haven’t thought of since, until this moment.

What’s a live show like from Creature Benny, and where and when can fans check you out in the coming months?

I do not prioritize performing too much. The joy for me in working on an artist project is really in the writing, recording, producing, editing, and mixing. Performing is fun, but it’s a lot of work and I have a job + I’m not trying to pursue a career as an artist.

When I have performed Creature Benny material live, it’s always been just me and a guitar. And the CB hat, make up, and gloves, of course. Besides not having a band to play with, I also feel that this is a cool presentation of CB material, because it is truly written singer-songwriter style – just me and a guitar – and it can be performed effectively in that format. At its core, the music is more a sick ass, super fun vehicle for the lyrics than an expression on its own, and stripping away full band instrumentation and vocal distortion allows the lyrics to be heard in a different way.

Most of these solo performances have been on video and posted online. Back in September 2020 when I released the inaugural project from Creature Benny, The Spooky America EP I also put out a video of myself performing the EP from top to bottom in my front yard, all me and a guitar. I also posted videos performing every song in CB phase I on Instagram, but didn’t do all that for phase II because it’s too much.

I did play Creature Benny songs at two shows in September and October 2018 before I was anywhere near releasing anything. I just met a guy and he said I should play and I had songs so I did. And they asked me back. And they stopped doing that night at that bar. But I have a full-time job and pulling a show together is a lot of work, so it’s not my thing as much.

Who or what was your first inspiration in music?

My own teenage emotions were my first inspiration to write songs. My brother taught me a few chords on the guitar and I used them to wail what was on my mind/chest I was mostly listening to Atlanta Hip Hop at that time in my life (I grew up in Atlanta and that time was magic, so obviously), so what I was writing wasn’t really reflective of what I was listening to, but growing up my dad always played music in the house like Harry Nilsson, Otis Redding, Cat Stevens, Chicago, Todd Rundgren, Aretha Franklin, Crowded House, Three Dog Night, and many more.

My mom was also an avid patron of the DeKalb County Public Library, and I checked out all kinds of incredible albums and put them on my purple ipod nano. Albums by Devo, Bob Marley, The Talking Heads, Gwar, The Mamas and The Papas, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Of Montreal, T.I… the public library had it all.

Then on the school bus I was listening to Slipknot, Korn, System of a Down, Marilyn Manson (pre-
cancellation), and Nirvana with a good friend of mine at the time. There was a time that I was listening to a lot of Linkin Park’s first two albums, and there was a different time when I was listening to a lot of Mindless Self Indulgence. I was also downloading a bunch of stuff from Limewire. IPod commercials were breaking new music. Heady times.

Which track from this project would you perform to a new audience if you could only choose one, and why?

If I could only choose one, I guess it might be Wobbling. The algorithm seems to like that song, and I feel like it’s upbeat and energetic, raw, relatable (or maybe voyeuristic for people), and it sounds a little different than most other things you might hear. That song was written from a very real place and is a snapshot of where I was at when I had been in Los Angeles for about nine months having recently just experienced some heavy loss and personal upheaval.

If I could choose a second song from this project to perform it would be Why Oh Why? This song is
very special to me, because its origins are technically the oldest of any Creature Benny song. While
walking on 8th street back to my house in 2015, I was entertaining myself by freestyle-singing voice memos into my phone. The first four bars– lyrics and melody –come from one of these freestyles, and in 2019 these four bars came to mind for some reason. I found my old iPhone 5, listened to the original voice memo, wrote chords under that snippet, and crafted a song based on the original inspiration. I laboured over the lyrics for quite a while to make sure I didn’t accidentally say anything I didn’t mean, because that song deals in pretty sensitive subject matter. I am very happy with where that one landed and the musings I was able to muse aloud without stepping in it.

I also have a soft spot for Death and Taxes and feel that, between the music, the lyrics, and the outro, it’s a great distillation of what Creature Benny has to offer in terms of twisted narrative perspective, classic chord progressions perverted and distorted into something familiar but off, and creative songwriting in terms of arrangement and song structure. Also Crooked Man. I’m proud of the songs on this project and would love for people to hear them.

What’s your biggest goal right now?

Right now, I’m taking a break from working on music between finishing Creature Benny phase II and beginning the process of completing, polishing, and releasing the songs that will make up Creature Benny phase III. And I’d like to use this time to work on some life stuff.

I’m 31 now and I feel like I’ve been doing things the same way for a few years now, so I want to
determine next steps and take them. I want to continue to be a dynamic person and to grow and
change as I become the me I’m going to be. Or whatever.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Halloween is coming up, get spooky. Also check me out @creaturebenny

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Find Creature Benny on Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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