After having the pleasure of meeting up with Ben Marshall (DJ Marshall) a couple of weeks back at Rock Hard Studios and being presented with an insight into his life as a DJ and how it all began for him when he was only 15, our conversation went off on a bit of a tangent. In a relaxed and chilled atmosphere surrounded by an array of music production technology, I learned a little about the man himself and his thoughts about life and people, but in turn how this still relates to his music and how he ticks.
In the second part of this feature, Ben reveals a little about his life, philosophy and values. Unsurprisingly, although Ben is still a young man who is carving a career from his acclaimed work as a recognised club DJ, he manages to exude a genuine humbleness and level-headed attitude. His experiences and views have obviously contributed to the recognition he is currently receiving.
I don’t quite know how, or which part of our conversation led to chatting about life’s morals, but it certainly related to how Ben has steadily progressed in his career as a DJ and Producer and has helped him appreciate the things he has at his disposal today.
“Material things creep into your life and are worthless really. I learned this when I was travelling. They are just there. They shouldn’t make you happy, because you can get by in life on just what you need. For example, I had a really nice mobile phone stolen once and it was the end of my world, I was devastated. I had the worse day of my life. It took me a week before I realised that I was feeling all this bad emotion from just a piece of plastic before the penny dropped – it was replaceable. My life or health isn’t replaceable,” Ben told me.
He then added, “I live as simple a life as I can generally, but my job means that I’m lucky enough to use the latest technology and as a producer I do need these things to do my work. But they are essentials to enable me to do the work I love and I would be hindered and couldn’t do it if I didn’t have them at my disposal.”
Ben has invested a good deal of the money he has earned into helping him progress as a DJ which enables him to keep up with others in the same field of work, although he also keeps himself very grounded indeed. It has taken him a good few years to get to the level he has achieved today and has slowly but surely worked his way up the ladder from very humble beginnings. What he also does admirably is stick to his principles and beliefs, even if it means there is a lot of financial gain at stake.
“As part of a group, I was asked: if I was given the chance to sign a million pound record deal with an artist I didn’t particularly like and for the remainder of my career that artist would have to feature on every track I ever made, but I got paid a million pounds for it, would I do it? I was the only one in the group who said no, I wouldn’t,” he told me.
So I put it to Ben that his career is not motivationally driven by money, but in being true to himself and taking a path that he himself is happy with?
“Absolutely,” he said, “What is the point, if you don’t believe in or enjoy your work, even if it makes you lots of money? I learned a valuable lesson when I was younger. I used to work in a bank and I earned very good money for my age. I went in every day for eight months, but it was soulless. There was no music, no radio, nothing. Just the sound of silence and the sound of cashing people’s money. I was miserable and not motivated at all. I was so unhappy, even though I was paid well, but it just wasn’t for me at all. I used to go out and DJ at the weekends and that is where I found happiness in what I was doing. So I left the bank and persued DJing as a career, which provided me with little money, but with a freedom to express myself and the opportunity of doing something which made me happy.”
I also touched on the subject of hope for the future for young people in the area, following a rather bleak and damning report that was published in the local paper. I suggested to Ben that he is perhaps an example of how young people with a focus and skill could maybe take his lead by mapping their future and being in control of their own destiny.
“I did read that article” said Ben. “Although there is sadly little opportunity for employment and on the face of it there seems little to offer in the way of hope, the article did miss out a large portion of young people who are working very hard to shape their own future. There is so much young talent in the area who are attempting to shift the balance and attempting to change things. From a musical perspective, there are currently many young people that have incredible talent and drive, that dont get recognised at the moment. But it is happening and not just in music, in other things too, which is encouraging and it does offer hope” he added.
I really enjoyed my time talking to Ben and it is very encouraging to see a focused and extremely gifted young man take the bull by the horns and provide the area with yet another young person to be proud of. Not only is he both talented and grounded, he is also very generous in his praise and help for others in reaching their goal. Something that perhaps is in very short supply these days.
We here at altblackpool will be following DJ Marshall`s career all the way and keeping the area in the loop of his work and progress.
Images courtesy of http://djmarshall.net/
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