Night Helix, aka Ben Ross Davis, is an audio project influenced by dark disco, industrial, and house. From vamp tracks to strong narratives reminiscent of Janet Control, his latest release American Scream revels in the frustration of american politics but is also inspired by peaceful nights by the admiral bridge canal with friends in Berlin. Ben describes the juxtaposition as “sort of flipping the negativity of it into positive and getting it out by screaming and talking about it as an exercise. It was an exorcism to put it more romantically.” So to better understand Night Helix, we asked Ben to share a few of his favorite things. And make sure to give American Scream a listen below.
Zombie Kid likes Turtles
One of the samples I used for the intro on Bob the Builder and an old youtube from when youtube first started to become a thing. My head is always in outer space or focused on something else or some esoteric detail. It’s been an ongoing joke between my friend Giancarlo.
Ice Cream Shop Teufelssee
This place has cured my summer sweat the last two years. it’s located an hour or so outside the city. It sits steady on top of lake Teufelssee (Devil’s Lake). The zitrone is +++
I got really obsessed with this mistress moon that was recently discovered by NASA when I was writing the EP. It’s deemed as an asteroid that is earth’s “constant companion for centuries to come” but not given the title of moon or even satellite nor is there any definite time period for how long it will be around. All the literature around it was really dreamy some guy from NASA said it was just “caught in a little dance with Earth.” I thought a lot about it when writing a i r s i g n so added it to the title as it seemed appropriate.
The Man Who Folded Himself
A quick sci-fi novel I re-read while writing a i r s i g n H03. It centers around a individual who receives a time travel belt and meets alternate versions of themselves including them as different genders in different pasts and futures. It was written by David Gerrold of who wrote an incredible episode of Star Trek called Trouble with Tribbles where the starship gets taken over by a bunch of furbies.
Creepy Teepee 2k16
I traveled to Czech Republic a week or so before the ep release to this festival in small town Kutna Hora with Spyros. The town is insane quiet and when you walk around you can’t help but picture a horror film there with the lighting. It was one of the best festival experiences I have ever had. The lineup and community there was tops. My trip here definitely influenced the final selection of trax on the EP.
Early 00’s X-men comix
I was reading these feverishly while making the scream EP. The first set New X Men by Grant Morrison is incredible and is followed by a the Astonishing Xmen penned by Joss Whedon. Emma Frost is so cool in these. I have a B side I wrote while engrossed called Mutant X that I never released based on one of the plotlines. I remember going out some nights, after recording all day and after awhile everything would turn into comic book world. I would literally hear lyrics and see people with in high contrast with outlines and speech bubbles.
Genesis B. P-Orridge & Astrid Monroe
I was listening to Possession on repeat for 3 days straight while recording a i r s i g n HO3. The way they speak on the track definitely influenced me along with the content. I had already set my eyes on making a dark forest track, but this really helped it along and confirmed the 80 ppm choice for the track.
The time roughly between 10-11 PM in Berlin where everything is this specific color of blue in which everything is lit but still dark. It’s one of my favorite times to write here.
5 piezas en vídeo de Félix González-Torres 1979.flv
I sample a part from the video 5 piezas that Felix made during his time in New York around 1979. There’s a scene around 24:34 in which he is having an orgasm with New York. He screams “New York, New York, my dreams, my dreams, New York, love in New York” while relentlessly sighing, crying, laughing and deep breathing. It was incredibly powerful to me, along with the interview that follows in which he interviews one of his friends who is speaking about his relationship with New York and the possibilities if he had left to create. I felt like I had experienced this scene multiple times with several different people. The video as a whole I thought was incredibly relevant to anyone who has spent legitimate time in New York and thought about creating outside of it.
Alaska y Dinarama
Two friends had sent this to me while I was producing the album. I would watch it at the end of the day to help me calm down. Alaska and her dancers who are usually dressed in horror movie attire (freddy kruger- mi novio es un zombi and jason -Quiero ser santa) are so dreamy. It’s a constant in my youtube playlist.
Drone Dates with Angie Fantasy
While I was recording the second half of the EP and after I had finished Dark Water I was living with my good friend Angela Fantasy who brought a drone with her to Berlin. After we had a talk in the garden at one point we decided we would attempt to work on a video for Dark Water together. I sent her the video from the opening of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and we are still in processing of going out to the canal near sun down to film water for this. It’s a really good time to catch up, talk about music feels and hang with one of the smartest people I have ever met.
Not Afraid to Die – Autumn
This was my anthem after arriving in Berlin. I had spent a night out with my two Roi Perez and Eugen and after having a few drinks we ended up near the canal talking. I found myself staring into the water and came up with the concept of the track Dark Water here. Nonetheless at some point Roi played “Night in June” from Linear Movement. The next day I played it and it led me to listening to Peter Bonne’s other project Autumn and this track “Not Afraid to Die.” It became my anthem and listened to it on loop for about 2 wks while biking around Berlin.
Seems pretty straightforward but I really am most content when I am zoning and making things. Especially with movement, working with Elayna Lopez and Robert Vail on the American Scream video was one of my favorite memories from the past year. The track in many ways is a catharsis so to see others translate in their own way is the coolest thing to me. One of the last days was my favorite in which we rehearsed for 6 hours at Otion Front in Bushwick. We just did it over and over and then caught up about how we felt about junx between rounds. Movement is powerful even more so when at times it switches from being synchronized to freestyle and still feel beyond thankful to have worked with both of them.
Inbal Perlmutter (the Witches) and Trish Keenan (Broadcast)
Both of these ghouls made lo fi electronic music in the 90’s or early 00’s that really helped me after I released my album. I have found myself at the park listening to either one or the other and just staring into the trees and sky as if it were some underwater landscape. It still bums me out that both of them past away very early in their life and in their prime.
Find Night Helix online