Australian funk master Donny Benét is about to stop the foreplay and unleash his fourth studio album The Don upon the world.
The synth and bass seductress, who is also a member of Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders, has given Music Feeds an exclusive (and sensual — we’re still cooling off) look at his new record and how it came to be.
Through his track-by-track musings on the beaches, synths and love stories behind The Don, Donny shares his deepest thoughts on his latest effort, enlightening the rest of us in the process.
So without further ado, it’s over to Don…
‘The Don’ – Track-By-Track
1) ‘Working Out’
Australia’s obsession with sport. Exercise clothing with motivational messages worn at cafes, restaurants and the cinema. Yet no one’s working up a sweat.
I set myself the challenge of writing and recording this track exclusively on the Yamaha DX7 and Linn LM-1. This was my version of ‘Der Kommisar’ by Falco, only sexier. There was talk of a major sporting footwear company using it for their summer campaign…. we’re still in negotiations.
2) ‘Love Online’
Tinder. Ok Cupid. Everyone’s batting above their average. Punching above their weight.
That’s all it takes these days — a smartphone. Who’d of thunk it?
I wanted this to sound like a Dwight Tilley and Chic combo band. A half meatlovers and gourmet vegan pizza vibe.
The song started with the bassline and built up from there. It was a real head scratcher at first, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.
3) ‘You’re Too Good’
A nice contrast to ‘Love Online’. Meeting someone special that really makes you think, “Is this what life is about?”
What does impress us? Money? Material goods? Fancy food?
How about knowledge… getting to know the real person behind the face. When you experience a true-life partner you’ll sacrifice anything to have that person in your life. Forever.
The Linn LM-1 drum computer really set the tone when writing this track. Doubling the bass with the Minimoog gave it that extra taste. There’s a nice little outro in this one, channeling the poolside band in the Bahamas.
My tip of the hat to Ryan Paris’ ‘Dolce Vita’ and Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Push It To The Limit’.
You go to Santorini for that picturesque Greek Islands wedding. A place of true romance. Donkey rides in the sunset. Hire a scooter and lose your bathers at Vlychada.
But what happens when the flames of love lose their roar? Jobs, stress, mortgages, sporting teams involved in scandals — these are the things that can compromise that heat. Reignite them in Santorini. Before it’s too late.
One of my favourites on the album. It’s incredibly fun to play and the outro is the real mamma mia moment. Uncompromising unchanged drum machine patterns and insistent bass are a salute to Uncle Giorgio. Although I’m not sure he ever had a sax solo this hot.
5) ‘Reach The Top’
Everyone wants to dream. Make it in life. That means the USA.
This song was written during the time of pre-Trump optimism. I’m not sure how much of this would apply post-DT.
The story of a small time Italian boy wanting to crack the Big Apple with his spicy sauce. We can all do it. We can all reach the top.
Tony Maiden from Rufus and, later, Graham Central Station was a huge influence on this song. I’m not much of a guitarist but I was proud to channel some Tony juice on this track.
The jewel in the crown. The piece de resistance. My Michael Jackson B-side from Off the Wall.
I bought a 1981 Musicman Stingray bass — best known users include Louis Johnson, Bernard Edwards and Flea. It arrived in the mail and as soon as I ripped off the wrapping this was the first bassline I played.
It’s well known that I have a real affinity with Japan. Nothing would seem more beautiful and simple than saying hello and singing about true love.
This song was initially a nice idea and sat in the demos folder for ages. My buds from The Dreamlanders encouraged me to put it back in the album folder. I’m glad they did.
I’m very proud of the bassline; I think it makes the song.
7) ‘Night In Rome’
I’ll never forget my first day in Italy. Checking into my hotel room the first thing I saw when I opened the shutters was the Colosseum. I cried. All my childhood memories of playing under the table at my Nonna’s house and hearing the men talking while playing cards, smoking and drinking. The sounds in Rome were so familiar and my childhood came back in the space of a breath.
It’s a beautiful and interesting city. Every time I visit I go to love and hate it just that little but more.
Ancient history and music were the only things I enjoyed in high school. It was a real treat to combine both in this song. ‘Brothers’ by DAF played an influence in this song. I wanted it to sound tough and dumb.
There’s a surprisingly small amount of synthesisers used in the track — mainly the Minimoog and the Oberheim OB8. For me the drum arrangement drives it along.
8) ‘Just Leave Him’
No Don Benét album is complete without a slow jam.
This song is the moment in the show where one really appreciates their life partner. Otherwise they go home with the Don. Human Nature was the mixing reference. I reckon Toto would be proud.
A friend showed me the infamous Barry Gibb ‘Heartbreaker’ demo. I was really into the sound of the Linn LM-1 on such a beautiful song. I listened obsessively and a few days later sat down and this song came out.
Sometimes when you write music a song will just write itself and you’re a passenger in the whole process. This was one of them. I really like how this song turned out — it’s quite sparse and probably the only time ever that I haven’t hated hearing myself sing.
‘The Don’ is set for release on Friday, 6th April via Dot Dash / Remote Control.