HomeExclusiveIn Conversation With... Benedict Sinister

In Conversation With… Benedict Sinister

Meet Dylan Hendrix Bukowski Sinister, better known by his stage-name, Benedict Sinister!

Before going solo, he was in two bands; The Violent Four and Against Nature, but then decided to embark on his solo career and what a journey it has been so far.

As a solo artist Benedict is not afraid to push himself and go that extra mile, if anything, he is a self-described whirlpool of hilarity and hellraising (his words).

His new single Your Parents (Dancing With The Stars) is very edgy and is a modern rethink of Woody Allen’s ‘Manhatton‘, and the video to the song contains several cultural and political references that sums up todays’ current world.

“I’m a very daring and ‘out there’ person”

Your Parents (Dancing With The Stars)
Your Parents (Dancing With The Stars)

So, what was it about music that inspired you to get into it?

As an independent poet facing off against a multi-billion dollar poetry-industrial complex, I realised the only way to get ahead was to put my words to music. 

You originally started out in two bands, The Violent Four and Against Nature, what made you go your own way?

Jimmy quit; Jodie got married… Actually, it was creative differences – the other band members wanted to create music, I wanted to create a maelstrom of hellraising and hilarity.

And how would you describe the music you produced in the bands as compared to what you do now?

My bands produced masterfully crafted indie guitar anthems that will resonate in the souls of music lovers for generations to come. As a solo artist I create an eclectic bouquet of lyrical miracles that intrigue the psyche and enrich the cosmos.

As a musician/songwriter who would you say your music appeals to?

Same as every other successful artist – mostly fake YouTube and Tidal accounts from India.

Many artists use stage-names e.g. Elliott Greave – Example, Stephen Manderson – Professor Green, Lauren Henson – Indiana and Jessica Cornish – Jessie J. Where did yours come from?

My parents actually named me Dylan Hendrix Bukowski Sinister. It was kind of embarrassing. I had to change it to something less rock’n’roll.

You make interesting music, which music interests you?

Mostly I’m interested in provocation and clever lyrics. So, artists like Die Antwoord and Tekashi 6ix9ine for their creative use of transgression, and on the other hand to Lana del Rey and anyone who can surprise me with a great lyric. 

What inspired you growing up?

Growing up I was inspired by celebrities giving smart ass answers to interview questions, like in the movies Breathless and La Dolce Vita. I knew when I grew up, I wanted a job that would allow me to make my own contribution to that noble tradition 

Whilst you’ve been in music has there been any other artists that you’ve been interested in collaborating with?

Dame Nellie Melba, 2 Live Crew, The Wombles, Mayhem, John Cage, GG Allin – ideally all on the same track. Maybe something to commemorate the centenary of Prince Philip?

Anyway, tell us about your new single, ‘Your Parents (Dancing With The Stars)’, and the thought process behind that

“Your Parents” starts as a love song – the guy telling his girlfriend that no matter how painful her parents are, he would put up with them: Eat her mum’s peanut butter pies, watch operas, go golfing, play Monopoly, and even watch “Dancing with the Stars.” But then the tables are turned as he finds out she has told her parents “so much about him” – and he starts to feel judged himself. 

It’s a lounge track, and there is a danceable electropop remix from LA DJ Christian B – because I realise that when they’re grinding on the dance floor, party people love to be reminded of their parents, Fox News and jellied dog food.

I did hear that some of the inspirations came from your own personal experiences

I’m a very daring and “out there” person – I’ve watched entire seasons of Bad Girls Club and even Flavor of Love. But I have never ever gone so far as to watch Dancing with the Stars. Or Strictly Come Dancing. 

Tell us about the video, where did the idea for that come about

The last time I made a live action clip I had all kinds of drama with Bella Thorne after the starring role went to Russian supermodel Anastasiya Scheglova, and then Perez Hilton piled on. So, I thought this time I’d be better to go with animation, as cartoon characters don’t cuss you out on social media, at least not as much.

So, from making the song and the video how lengthy a process was it?

I figured Japan is the home of animation, so I was hanging around in Kabukicho, and I found a really cool animation studio Toneplus that was prepared to make my video. But they postponed, just because they won the contract for some lame project called Final Fantasy VII Remake. I bet they regret that decision now! I ended up making my clip myself using this software designed for corporate animations called Vyond. All up it took a few months.

There are also some cultural references in it as well such as food, psychoanalysis and politics with Trump being an obvious reference. Would you say that your music has various references in regards to culture?

That’s why they call me “the new Kanye on the runway.” That and because I recycle last year’s designs from the label Vetements. 

French singer-songwriter Vincent Delerm was one of the influences for the video, unless you’ve already worked with him would you be tempted to do so?

“Your Parents” was written in homage to Vincent Delerm and his song “Tes Parents” – my song is the “Cruel Intentions” to his “Dangerous Liaisons.”  Delerm is a brilliant songwriter and performer with a wit and poignancy reminiscent of Cole Porter or Noel Coward, except he writes acutely observed vignettes from the Bourgeois Bohemian experience – on topics like ike Marin Parr and the Avignon theatre festival. He’s also an acclaimed photographer in the tradition of William Eggleston, but with a muted palette. Some of his works remind me of Andreas Gursky….  

So, if he ever did want to work with me, yeah, I guess I might try to squeeze him into my schedule.

Also, there’s another song I’m interested in knowing more about, 16 Lines from Bryan Ferry, where did the inspiration for that come about and how long did it take you to work on it?

You could say that one took over forty years. Bryan Ferry, the James Bond of art rock, released records that were masterpieces of romantic fatalism through the Seventies and Eighties. “16 Lines from Bryan Ferry” combines lines from sixteen of those songs into a single track. 

Been on tour yet with your music (pre-march 2020) and how did that go?

I spent the last twenty years on the road – touring worldwide, from country to country, night after night. I did it’s hard core, not just major cities – I went to Senegal, Bulgaria, Laos, Panama…. 

How much reaction have you got from doing live shows?

I didn’t actually get around to playing live while I was touring. I usually just skipped straight to the after party.  

Now since March 2020 we’ve been in lockdown due to Covid 19, has that given you much opportunity to work on new music and collaborations?

I just recorded the vocals for a new track at Forbes Street Studio in Sydney with Nick Rowse, who recorded Elton John’s vocals for his new duet with Lady Gaga. It’s safe to say that Nick was amazed by my performance – specifically by the audacity of me showing up to such a high standard studio with such a paucity of talent and material.

What can we expect from you for the remainder of this year and going into 2021?

Since the Olympic Games have been postponed, I think I have time to qualify if I start training now. My ambition is to be Eddie the Eagle of the Modern Pentathlon. 

And finally, where can people expect to hear your music?

Seeing as all the clubs are closed and concerts are cancelled, there’s really only one place left – on their headphones.

Will you support our work?

Millions turn to WhatsOn to understand what’s happening in the news. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower through understanding. Financial contributions from our readers are a critical part of supporting our resource-intensive work and help us keep our journalism free for all. Please consider making a financial gift to WhatsOn today.

Yes, I'll give