Ben LaMar Gay

Ben LaMar Gay is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, poet, and patently eclectic polymath who Afropunk has called “strikingly original,” Pitchfork has called “uncategorizable,” and Jeff Parker has called “hands down, one of my favorite musicians on the planet today.” He channels a radical array of sound, color, and space through the universal language of folklore; but despite the widely attributed genius of his work, his artistic approach and general demeanor are characterized by an endearing humbleness and warm humanity. Ben LaMar Gay is performing at this year Jazzfest Berlin.


1. I enjoy the nightingales of Berlin

2. Grew up listening/ dancing to Chicago House music.

3. While a member of TMS, my childhood all city graffiti crew, I was introduced to beat making by DJ Noble.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Whatever presents itself to be inspiring at any given moment.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

At 6 yrs old I joined a choir at my elementary school that sang Motown and other soul music hits.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

1. Criminal Minded by Boogie Down Productions
2. November 1981 by Bill Dixon
3. Shake Sugaree by Elizabeth Cotten
4. MadVilliany by Madvillan
5. Too Much Sugar For A Dime by Henry Threadgill

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Great late night electronic music functions.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Lake Michigan

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Non stop cuddling

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

And Then There’s This” by Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Since collaboration is a natural constant in my life , I’d like to most collaborate with “ Deep Sleep” or “Silence”

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

My best gig as a spectator was experiencing Olu Dara improvise his entire set with sound, humor, theatrics and Mississippi folk tales

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

Technology is very important…from the pencil to the computer and all in between.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

Yes, I do. They’ve been digging the journey and creations since the beginning ,way before any occupational period.