067 – Benny Rose – Musician, The Neon Arcadia

In this Happy Hour podcast, we’re chatting with Benny Rose about being a father, music, and pop culture.


  • (6:40) Who is Benny Rose?
  • (15:35) Pop culture.
  • (17:12) The Toys That Made Us.
  • (21:36) Conventions.
  • (26:06) Being a father.
  • (30:28) Not the drummer.
  • (44:02) How do you produce remotely?
  • (50:30) Two truths and a lie.


Ryan Freng 3:28
Hello and welcome back to a another happy hour. I’m Ryan Freng, Creative Director here at backflip, otherwise known as Batman. We don’t have John today he’s he’s actually working. He’s got work to do. We have a big commercial shoot coming up next week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday commercial with a bunch of tutorials. So we’re doing a lot of work for that. And he ducked out because we still have some work to do. And he wanted to make sure we got stuff done. So we didn’t have to work too hard over the weekend. But this is a happy hour and it wouldn’t be happy hour if there wasn’t a glitch, basically, right. When I click that, go live video, the countdown, my whole screen or my whole browser refreshed, which is really, really awesome. That’s just the joy of being alive. So this is happy hour and today. I’ve got something fun. This is NA gin. I also have a whiskey that tastes pretty good. But this is from a company called Monday. And I’m mixing that with a little ginger ale little Zevia. So I’ve got kind of a very, very light and refreshing no alcohol, no calorie sort of treat. Which if you you know me, that’s kind of a big deal these days. A lot of fun, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to hang out with Benny so I’m gonna go ahead and bring him in. Barry is how’s it going, man?

Benny Rose 4:51
Hey, how are you? I’m doing good.

Ryan Freng 4:54
I am well thanks again for joining. Joining me hanging out for For your lunch break, how are you, Ben?

Benny Rose 5:02
I’m doing I’m doing good. You know, just getting through the days, you know, still post pandemic ish. We still in there, we don’t know, getting through it. Yeah, it’s working. Being a dad being a musician, being a toy collector, little bit of everything. And I’ll do that.

Ryan Freng 5:20
I love I love that so much, because as soon as you came on, I’m like, trying to look in your background to see what those are. The hat the hat that you had on before? I think it was Spider Man. But yeah, Chinese or Japanese or something, which is pretty rad. So I was like, this guy. He gets me.

Benny Rose 5:38
Yeah, I mean, I’ll even you know, for the sake of, you know, I have toys on my walls. It’s like everywhere. There’s like collectible stuff. My wall up here. My cassettes, my boombox. I am a nerd. Yeah, a little bit of everything, man. I’m a gamer. So Jay, add that to it.

Ryan Freng 6:03
I love that. I got to show you so much. As you can see, one of them fell off. I think it was my Zelda one fell off. But these are kind of like I don’t know, characters from my childhood.

Benny Rose 6:16
That’s pretty epic. I’m a big Rangers guy myself. So.

Ryan Freng 6:20
Oh, nice. Yeah, it’s a funny one. I’ll even watch. You know, something the newer versions once in a while just to be like, I wonder how that’s turned out. Because I also have kids and they get a kick out of it. Which is fun. So yeah, what? What do you got today? What are you drinking? I know you grab something special.

Benny Rose 6:38
Yeah, I mean, I mentioned I’m not a alcohol drinker. But I love grabbing some unique sodas as I go out and about. There’s a small shop out where I’m at. in Staten Island, New York. I live in New Jersey, but it’s like really close place called Pop fizz. I think they have stores around the states. And they sell a lot of sodas is their big thing. They have like four or five fridges of like, really obscure sodas, like you can get otter butter soda, mustard soda, but then you can get like just cool stuff. And this is SASB gorilla from CO city. And it’s the granddaddy of all root beers. I’m a big Sasebo gorilla guy. I got into this with my wife as well. It’s I love brewed beer, so I kind of become a sucker for root beer, birch beer. And now that’s Marilla. And it’s delicious. You know,

Ryan Freng 7:35
it’s funny, I when when you said this as for Allah, I was like some of that that seems familiar. So Sioux City. That’s an Iowa that’s where my family is. So I’m sure we’ve come across it at some point, because it seems like kind of a significant brand that would be in the area.

Benny Rose 7:52
And I do apologize for missing and then and then How dare you? What a coincidence. All right, of all locations that a capacity. No,

Ryan Freng 8:00
right. Yeah. So, Benny, we’re meeting for the first time I you know, and I’ve read your bio, and I shared that but but just tell me a little bit more about yourself. You know, who are you and what do you do? Sure.

Benny Rose 8:17
Late 30s. nerd like I said, I have been a lover of music, video games, collecting toys, movies, and like music has always been at the heart of my life. So when I was about four years old, my father bought my first Casio, which was one of those older, you know, tiny keyboards that had the little hexagon pads on them for the drums. And yeah, I used to you know, I never had formal lessons. My dad just got it for me because he thought I, I’d get a kick out of it. I ended up with a Casio. They’re very popular now. Funny enough. It’s a it’s a synth guitar. Like it has strings on it’s but it’s but it’s electronic. I had all this stuff. And I you know, I figured out how to play them on my own. But I used to sit in front of TVs and I used to listen to commercials and I would try to learn the melody by ear. So I’d say a large portion of my knowledge with music is by playing by ear like I hear something. I tend to kind of try to replicate it. That’s how I’ve auditioned for bands for many years while I was still playing out doing shows. My last big band, which was a rock band based in New York called ghosts of Eden. mutual friend was in the band. I was doing my own thing. He’s like, we need a drummer for a show. How soon can you learn the songs? I didn’t have a place to play drums or anything like that. But he sent me the tracks. I used to listen to them on my work commute every day. I said alright, let’s rent the studio for two hours. My audition was the first time we actually playing the songs on on the drums. They’re like, how long have you been practicing these and I was like, alright, they can tell no like, no, it sounds like you know them better than In our previous drummer, and I was like, this is the first time I’ve just listened to them. I’ve kind of you know, I close my eyes, I kind of think about how the songs play out and how I would do it because they said, you know, add your own little taste to them. To date two days later was this show. So I had one practice, played a full 45 minutes set with these guys. They’re like you’re in. You’re the new drummer. I’m like, I thought I was doing a show. And then, you know, we played for almost nine years together. We did a lot of shows in New York, we had the pleasure of selling out venues like Irving Plaza. Hammerstein Ballroom Gramercy Theatre, which we actually sold as a headlining artist with no tour support, which was a pretty big deal for us. We released there was three CDs that were released during the time I was on two of them. And it was just awesome. But yeah, like, music has been like the forefront of most of my love, if you will, it’s been there throughout. Right now, like I do studio work with neon Arcadia, like, we’re not able to tour and perform actively Believe it or not, the band actually doesn’t even rehearse together. The band hasn’t even met each other. In person, if you can believe that. There’s four of us. One lives in Tennessee, the other two members of myself live in New Jersey, we’re pretty close to each other. I know all three members, the other three have not met each other in person, not once. We’ve been together about three years, everything has been through a very long text message chat. That’s how that’s how we’ve gotten all of our music done. And it’s pretty incredible.

Ryan Freng 11:43
And that’s that’s before we were forced to do that with COVID.

Benny Rose 11:47
Go figure. Right. And I said, Now we have a Chanda we don’t need to meet each other. We don’t want to don’t want to screw anything, you know?

Ryan Freng 11:55
Yeah. Sorry. I just gotta plug this in. It’s telling me my battery’s low.

Benny Rose 11:59
No problem. Yeah. Yeah. And if you look behind me, here we go. For the most part, what you’re seeing above me, is all the cover art minus maybe two or three?

Ryan Freng 12:10
recognize some of those? Yeah, yeah.

Benny Rose 12:13
So I take a lot of pride in the fact that we’ve only been together for three years. And we’ve been able to put this amount of music out, you know, with having day jobs, having kids having families and finding that happy medium.

Ryan Freng 12:27
Yeah. And who creates that art. That’s pretty awesome art.

Benny Rose 12:34
So I have a couple of artists that work closely with me. My first main artist, his name is Adam Saltus. He is an artist, he’s a designer, he does a lot of different things, he does a lot of customizing of, like action figures. If you’re familiar with Amiibo, he’s very, or turning amiibos into zombies called known as zombie Bo. He actually helped design our initial logo, he did a majority of these. And then there’s also our good friend, Codex 84, who is my other artists that has done a lot more of the more current. So like the EP, my fingers not matching here, my EP right here where he actually designed the whole band. This was done by him. And then there’s actually a couple here that were done by our drummer bill for so the hunter chemicals, and no time. We’re all done by Bill. So we’ve had a variety of styles and you know, different inputs, which has been great. It’s been, it’s awesome.

Ryan Freng 13:36
I love the brand of that though, to like, I feel like you know, us in our 30s You know, late 30s Like there’s just such a resurgence of those things that we loved as a kid and in many cases were like made fun of like, like, like video games or sci fi hours Rangers movies, Power Rangers.

Benny Rose 13:58
I got I got abused as a young adults working at BestBuy for being a Power Rangers fan. And I laugh now, because anything that comes out people like nerd over and I’m just like, you made fun of me for this. I have probably 30 to power into shirts over the last 20 years of collecting. Oh, nice. Yeah, it’s crazy to see what it’s becoming. I appreciate it as a fan. You know, seeing the franchise grow. But yeah, like nostalgia is such a big thing right now. You know, if it’s old, it’s cool, you know, for the most part, except for VHS. You know, like some people still haven’t adapted to appreciate what it was. You know, I have friends that started collecting VHS again now. So Oh, really? Yeah, I mean, I have my tapes. My audio cassettes are Believe it or not a majority of these are current. These are like other members in the since we’ve seen that I support along with a cassette of my own that we we put out so you know there’s there’s reasons for it and believe it or not actually have it Some old cassettes from like my rehearsals, like my old band rehearsals, or other bands that, you know, I’ve been friends with. So I have that nostalgia to be able to just throw it in a boombox and hear it whenever I want. It’s great.

Ryan Freng 15:13
Yeah, and what’s what’s like the audio quality with cassettes,

Benny Rose 15:17
you know, it’s gonna be definitely more on the flat side, you know, comparing, you know, the type of audio that we could put out nowadays, vinyl is very big in demand. Again, if you’re like an audio file that is into collecting music, people are looking for vinyl, like people want our, our vinyl our music on vinyl. But the problem is, if you don’t get a certain demand, it’s very costly. You know, we don’t, we don’t have the fan base to really expand that, you know, as far as physical goes. But comparing the two that I feel that the audio cassette is more of a nostalgic collecting factor. I don’t know if most people that buy these cassettes actually listen to them, I’m probably one of the few that a lot of times you’ll find, I’ll find unfortunate defects. Sometimes if the tape is wound too tight or too loose, you’re gonna get speed differences and pitch differences. So I’ll reach out to some of the artists and I’ll say, Hey, I listened to the tape. It’s kind of funky. I deal with it, because I don’t want to be that guy. And again, it is for collecting as well. And the fact that I do have an audio source, but that’s the risk when when you’re doing cassettes like that, but I feel most people have them, they’re probably sealed on display. And that’s about it. So

Ryan Freng 16:31
yeah, now that’s fun. I love I love having the art up. And the old nerdy stuff like here, I’ve got so this is my my office at my studio, in our production office over on the other side of the studio. I’ve got, like an old Nintendo, I’ve got my Sega, my SNES and all games. And I love it. Because across the board, everyone’s like, Oh, that’s so cool. And then, you know, their kind of inner nerd comes out as well. Like, maybe they played a lot. Maybe they played a little, but it’s so much fun across the board because people come in and see this. And, you know, I don’t think it’s just because we’re adults now and adults make fun of each other less, I think, you know, there’s something to just authentically being nerdy. And that being okay, now. You know,

Benny Rose 17:19
I agree, I think that it’s also it’s just the pop culture of the world is really it’s been built around it, if you will, you know, a little more about my history, just as a child, my dad owned a comic book store when I was growing up. So when I say I’ve been around it my whole life, I’ve been around it my whole life. And, you know, seeing for a perfect example, what Marvel has become in the world of the movies, and just the franchise in general. It’s just astounding. And I’m so appreciative of being able to kind of been there at its lows, you know, even though I was a young kid, I knew like Marvel wasn’t doing well, when my dad had his story. It was like, crazy to have a comic book store. You know, Disney was gonna go, Marvel’s gonna go bankrupt. You know, so there’s just a lot of appreciation for the memories of all the things that were but how they’ve researched in such a popularity for new generations and old because, you know, Power Rangers is an example of something that is being built for new audiences. But the listeners like us and the viewers like us, still go and check it out. Like I do the same thing. I’ll go check out dyno chart or whatever, just to see where they’ve gone. And now that Hasbro owns it, like that’s a whole nother can of worms of of discussion. But yeah, that’s the love that we have. You know, we want to you want to get into it and talk about it.

Ryan Freng 18:43
Yeah, have you seen the the toys that made us on Netflix?

Benny Rose 18:47
I have? And I also watch I actually watch on repeat. I don’t know if you’ve seen on Amazon, the toy store near you is pretty much. Yeah, I don’t know, I think the company has kind of either worked together because they kind of share each other’s posts on Facebook. But a toy store near you. There’s two seasons. And it’s basically a production company that basically found little mom and pop shops throughout the world. A couple of different places in the US couple in Jersey actually speaks with the owners and believe it or not, it’s very relevant because he talks about the stories but then he talks about what they went through last year, and how the pandemic affected them and how a lot of them went to live auction. And it’s a really fascinating look at you know, the world of commerce in retail for collectors, because that’s such a unique business like you don’t know what you’re going to make any day. You know, you can sell two figures and that’s your that’s your money for the day. You can sell a valuable collector item for $10,000 and make your budget for a month. It’s just a crazy world. But the passion and the love is in it’s so much you’re willing to take that risk and that reminded me of what my dad went through. You know, having a comic book store was always a game But then I feel it still is. Because it’s, it’s its own category. And again, you’re not going to have people flushing into those stores all the time and buying something.

Ryan Freng 20:11
Right? Yeah, I mean, especially I think of myself when I walk into a comic book store and even as adult, you know, I’m like, Ah, I don’t want to spend more than, you know, 10 bucks get three books or two books or something. And then I think like, you know, how are you? How are they making money, like, obviously, they’re, they figured something out. But to that same point, I would love you know, if I can ever be successful enough. I would love to, like, have a comic book store, you know, collectible store, I would love to run a movie theater. And I have no, you know, no doubt that it’s not going to be like the moneymaker for me. But like, just, again, the passion for that stuff, the love of it, the love of sharing it, whether it’s comic books, collectibles, or movies, I just love that idea of bringing people together over those shared things or like a game store, you know, maybe maybe down the road, but, you know, I think if you have a good perspective on it, that could work out. But obviously, you know, people are doing it and successful. Like, I see this guy on Tik Tok. And he kind of grew up on tick tock, but he always talks about his store, his game store and just all the care that he takes into everything, like the tables that he built, and the chairs that he got, and, and just everything. And that’s, I don’t know, that’s good people do doing good stuff, so that we can come together and just share. I don’t know, share the things that bring us joy.

Benny Rose 21:38
That’s a great, great way of saying it, I couldn’t say it better. I feel that, like, for me, I’ve always had that dream. You know, like, I wish, I wish my dad’s store would have been around I wish, you know, what my life would have been if that store was passed down that kind of stuff. But then at the same time, you know, I’m around the age that he was running that stuff. And I’m like, you know, it’s never too late. But again, you know, you have to always counteract the risks and the reward and, you know, Can Can you uplift your life, uproot everything from the ground, do something like that. But what I tried to do is I find a balance, and I have a lot of retail experience, I worked retail for more than half my life. So I know the sales side of things. I did trade shows growing up with my kid, with my father as a kid. And then I do trade shows now, like I do them for press, because I write for a video game site. Another thing that I do, I also do shows where like, I’ll sell, I’ll be a vendor, and I’ll sell stuff that I have. I literally just did a show this past Sunday. in Woodbridge, New Jersey, it was a toy convention, small room, maybe 40 tables. It was awesome. And the reward for me other than selling stuff was finding stuff you like connecting with other people that walk by your table, and they’re like, Oh, my God, you have that? And then you start talking about that, you know what I mean? Like you connect with it. It’s such, it’s, it’s an experience that you can’t I don’t feel you get in many other places.

Ryan Freng 23:07
Yeah, and especially not online. You know, I know, over the last year, they’ve tried to move a lot online, and there’s been successes. And you know, it’s definitely commendable. But I’ve been looking here, so I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and I’ve been looking because two or three years ago, or three years ago, there was like a wizard con, you know, convention here, or Madison, Comic Con, or whatever, at the convention center. And it was it was kind of small, but it was so much fun. Because, you know, we met people who drew big comments comics back in the day who were inking big comment comics now. Authors, you know, people just passionate who are traveling from around the state or even the country just to come to this little convention. And I even met somebody who I knew in high school who now produces graphic novels on the side, you know, kind of independent graphic novels. Not somebody that I would normally reconnect with, but just walking around, and I saw a cover and my kids and I walked over there and then all of a sudden, it was this guy, Dan, and we’re like, holy cow. This is awesome. Like, tell me more about this. And it was it was so fun. So joyful. So like lately I keep looking. I think it’s maybe in October is when they’re doing it this year, but I kind of want to get more back into that stuff. My older kids want to go to like actual comic con to we’ve never been I’ve never been a see it and we watch some stuff. And I’m like, Yeah, I think it could be really, really fun. You know, it’s definitely changed. I don’t know how you feel about that. How it’s kind of become a commercial for all the big brands but

Benny Rose 24:52
Yeah, well I would say you know, the bigger brands like San Diego Comic Con New York Comic Con, they’ve definitely commercialized for us. These reasons, when you’re when you’re at that scale, it makes sense you have to grow and evolve. From, from a standpoint of a fan, I’ll always have love and appreciation for those shows on the side of somebody that’s vended, that has covered those shows for press purposes, that some of the events are a little too cramped, some places need to evolve, scale wise, and they just haven’t they haven’t done that yet. That’s a really big thing. So like New York Comic Con, they’ve been expanding the building for years now. And it’s been portions of the building have been closed. And then obviously, the pandemic happens, and it’s opening again this year, but it’s gonna be limited capacity. A lot of passes were not distributed this year. So a lot of things are changing. So it might be better this year for the people that are going to go because it might be a little more, you know, not less competitor. Yeah. But like, I’ve also done stuff at that event at that venue. It’s called the Jacob Javits Center. And I’ve done like the Toy Fair, which is actually it’s pretty much closed space, so it’s not open to the public. So it’s only usually press and people that are going to buy. So I’ve done that, and you can walk a lot better at an event like that. And obviously, as a person, that’s a fan of that stuff, you could really appreciate that stuff. On a different level, you could set appointments, so there’s always different ways of approaching them. If you haven’t done a Comic Con, I would definitely make a plan to do it at some point. It’s definitely for somebody like us. It’s really an enjoyable experience. Kids love it too, because the cosplayers that’s one of the biggest things, you know, some people invest a lot of money into their cosplay. And to be able to see that upfront. It’s, it’s something else. It’s pretty incredible.

Ryan Freng 26:50
Yeah, there’s there’s also a renaissance fair, that’s over here to kind of one of the big ones in the Midwest, and I used to go to it as a kid. And it’s funny, because I saw an ad for it. And I told my wife, I was like, I’ve got, you know, I’ve got I’ve got something to tell you, like real serious, like, and she’s like, What, and I was like, I think I identify as a renaissance fair person. Even though I’ve never dressed up. I’ve never cost blade and you know, gone. I was like, I feel like that’s who I am. Because when I think about that, it brings me such joy. And I’m like now as an adult, I’ll just do it because I don’t care. You know, as a kid, I was like, I don’t want to be you know, made fun of or whatever. But yeah, we totally. Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s awesome. Yeah, you said you were are a father. Is that correct?

Benny Rose 27:43
I am. I have one five year old boy drives me through walls. But he is literally a carbon copy of me and every good good way and every bad way. So it’s like screaming to a wall. But at the end of the day, it’s a pure joy to have him in the end. He’s had some health issues recently. That’s been a little bit of a struggle but we’re getting through it and he’s he’s learning the ways of the collector. He’s a big and Thomas the Tank Engine fan and collects Thomas the trains kids got almost 500 trains now. It’s absurd. Super fun. But yeah, we have a lot of fun with it. I’ve taken him to flea markets, where he looks for the old trains. The kid knows we know our stuff. He knows like I bought two trains for him at the Toy Fair on Sunday. ones I never saw before I knew that there was like a company that made the trains that had a different names like some weird Sunny Side city, but it’s like Thomas trains, they were designed different diecast from like, 15 years ago, a woman was selling some vintage stuff. She’s like, 10 bucks each. I’m like, Alright, I bought them. I said he’s not gonna know who these guys are. He’s like, Oh, that’s cold in this. He doesn’t read yet. Like incredible. You know, like, knows his stuff. It’s really it’s it’s an awesome site and I try to support his love for it. He watches YouTube now like every other kid. He watched his his new obsession was going to the store and finding SpongeBob popsicles to find the perfect one. Because he found a video of a guy doing this.

Ryan Freng 29:22
Yeah, absolutely.

Benny Rose 29:25
So we went on a journey. We found a couple of them I made a couple of videos. I’m like deciding should I be that dad that uploads it? See if people like it. I had him. He did it like it was a video he’s like hi this is Xander. This is my video. Like Oh fun is pretty cool. You know like I can appreciate it being a nerd. Like oh my kids a nerd already. You know it’s pretty awesome.

Ryan Freng 29:47
And you said his name is Xander Xander Correct. Does that does that come from something?

Benny Rose 29:52
It does. My middle name. My middle name is Alexander. I wanted to give him part of my name part of my leat father’s name. His middle name is Charles. And I’m a big Legend of Zelda fan. So that’s why his name is the legend Xander with his birthday on my arms. His when he was born, his room was elephant themed. So I got a little elephant were in the tunic. And I love my Triforce and I’m a big Kingdom Hearts fan too. So. Oh, that’s cool. We’re making mash

Ryan Freng 30:21
up there. Yeah.

Benny Rose 30:24
These are these were all done by Adam, my artists that I mentioned earlier as well. He’s done most of the ink on me. And funny enough, this is my dad’s comic book store logo from when I was a kid. Cool. And that’s him on their home the comic? Yeah.

Ryan Freng 30:41
Oh my gosh. That’s awesome. Yeah, I have a I let’s see Damian Alexander. Love Xander. Yeah, love the name Xander. And we ended up finding like, you know, there was a bishop, Bishop of Alexandria, named Alexander. So we went with like a saint name. But it was it was from my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xander the character there. So that’s kind of a nerdy ass take on that, which is really fun.

Benny Rose 31:16
It’s so funny. You say that? Because one of my one of my best friends used to get his kid like the blind boxes in the mail like the loot crates. Oh, yeah. And literally the day my son was born, he sends me a picture. He’s like, we got this Loot Crate. He’s like, and I don’t know what it is. But I feel like you might know. And I showed him a it was a little pop figure of Xander from Buffy. Oh, that’s I said, I said, Dude, this is like, well, it’s for your son. And he still has it. He’s like, go figure. I’m like, that’s crazy. You know? So like, yeah, small world, man. That’s awesome. No,

Ryan Freng 31:53
I love that. So I’m kind of all over the place to you had mentioned to you’re not the drummer with neon Arcadia. I am not the drummer. When you put that together, you’re like, I’m not drumming. That’s not what I do.

Benny Rose 32:10
Good, good reason for it. Actually, I am a drummer, I played drums in drums and go civilian. I play drums a lot when it comes to other bands. But my realtor that helped me buy my house happened to be a musician in my scene. In a band that I nerd over, he’s, I considered him one of my top favorite drummers of all time. He’s a crazy drummer, and I got to meet him in the scene once and then coincidentally, we became friends on Facebook just mutually. So I was looking for a house he reached out, we became friends from that I made a joke. I said, hey, we’d like the house. I’m only gonna buy it if you start a band with me. He’s like I’m in. And then we, you know, we bought the house or whatever. And he’s like, you know, I was gonna, I would have did it anyway, right? He’s I know. You know, it’s just, it was awesome. Because this, he is either an amazing drummer. I know where my limits are, I know where the sky is. And I know that if I want to reach above and beyond, you got to collaborate with people. I like working with other musicians. It was the best thing I could have ever done. And like he’s a metal drummer at heart. He’s one of the fastest drummers I’ve ever met. But he found a way to take his style, and blend it in such a unique way with our music. That just, I feel it’s one of our biggest differentiators with the synth wave scene. You know, like, we got kind of put in that category. It wasn’t intentional, like we, I moved over to the keyboards and the synthesizers because I played that stuff. That was the first instrument for me. And every band I’ve been in, I always tried to incorporate it. So they would be like, Oh, we’re gonna do a live show, I’m gonna write an interlude. And I’m going to play it live. So I would find the reason to do it. And I did that with all my other bands. Fast forward. I’m like, You know what, it’s time to go back to what I love. And you know, there wasn’t really bands that had keyboards as a as a headline, you know. So that’s where I’d went into it. And then the first song was getting created, and I started finding this group on Twitter that just was doing kind of the same thing. I was into a couple of bands in that scene, like I’m a big Mitch murder fan and a big gunship fan before I was even writing the New York EDM music. So that was a big change for everything. But then fast forward to that point of Alright, we’re about to put music out and people were like, Oh, this is like such cool synth wave a mic. Okay. And then I met a mutual friend of the scene. Megan McDuffie, one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I believe she was on the show before

Ryan Freng 35:00
Yeah, she was the recommendation or she we got your name as a recommendation from her. Yeah.

Benny Rose 35:06
Megan, love you if you’re watching, you know it already. Yeah. So like the second song we did was desire, which is a song we did with Megan. And I take a lot of pride in that song because I kind of wrote the basis of that song for her. Before I pitched the song to her. I said, this is a song I would love, Megan to sing on. If Megan doesn’t sing this song, I’m not releasing this song. That’s where my that’s where I stood with it. And, you know, I reached out to her, I said, I know you’re busy. I said, I know. Schedules are crazy. I said, I want to know if you’ve liked the song. Before we can discuss anything she liked. And she dug it. She’s like, it’s really different. It’s unique. She’s like, I’d love to be a part of it, you know. So we just had to find a way to make it work for everybody, which we did. And we changed some stuff around based on her recommendations and the stuff that she wrote for it. It’s, it’s some of my favorite parts that we have in any of our songs. And the song has been remixed by my good friends and who I’m supporting with his shirt right now. Love, he said, I did a remix of the song. Actually, recently, it’s the most recent track that we put out, because I always felt the song could have like a lighter, more ambient vibe to kind of go along with her voice. So I said, You know what, we have a rule in the Arcadia. And it’s nothing matters. Meaning like we try to say no, the least, you know, unless we just feel like something doesn’t click. And that’s why there’s a lot of variety in the music. A lot of people like, you don’t have any songs that sound like another song like almost a huge jump in a different genre, every song. And it’s kind of that we do it in the heat of the moment kind of feel. And we do that because we have so many different inspirations. Like if you listen to my Zune, I’m gonna say Zune, because Because iPods you know, I never had an iPod, I had a Zune, if I put it on shuffle, the music variety would be really vast, it would go from the bars, to, you know, my chemical romance to all it remains, you know, it would just go all over the place to Michael Jackson. And I was like, you know, like, if I, if I start writing a hook, or I start writing a beat, I want to see where I want to go with it. And I want to leave in memories. I don’t want to, I don’t want to go into dangerous territory of trying to shoehorn it into a song like we do. We do formulate things, the way musicians do, you know, verse chorus, in most cases, but the sounds and the things that we approach is very unique how we do it. And

you know, when it comes to our music, a lot of our stuff is collaborations vocally, because in the beginning, we didn’t have a vocalist. So we were like, alright, you know, we know not everybody loves instrumental stuff. So why don’t we see if we can get other people to sing. And that first song we released, which was whispers, I hired somebody on Fiverr for that, and you know, it was a good stepping stone. She, she wrote one verse, we didn’t really get to expand on song. So it kind of repeats. But it was it was one of those, alright, now we know what we want, what we don’t want. And we evolve it from there. And that’s what happened. We started doing collaboration after collaboration. And the first set of singles was all collaborations. And then we brought in our good friend Tom, who was our singer in Ghosts of Eden, because believe it or not, rich Nyan in the band was in gosurf Eden as well. So he, myself and Bill were the ones that founded the Arcadia, Tom decided to come and join us. And his first song was daydreams. And that was just, you know, kind of the stepping stone of, alright, we can kind of have this hybrid platform where, when Tom is able to sing on a song, or if the song fits him, he can sing it, and if not, we’ll do a collaboration. So that’s, that’s where we kind of go up and down and left and right, and we don’t have a direction that we stick to. Because my goal was if we can put out music, that like just about anybody can listen to like, they can all find one song. I feel like we served our purpose, you know. So the next song that we’re working on Funny enough, we haven’t spoken about it. In a while, we brought it up in in a tease, because we wanted to see if the meaning of the song was relevant, which was we started doing weird, cryptic posts, like saying, you know, we haven’t been around Do you miss us? Does anybody want to know how we’re doing just weird stuff, you know, you get a couple of posts. We know. People move on some times and if you’re not pumping out music, people move on to the next greatest thing and that’s fine. I’m but this next song is called. And then they were ghosts. And the idea behind that it’s kind of double play, you know, because obviously most of us were in a band called ghosts of Eden. But it’s also because we were relevant at a point people talked about us all the time, then we didn’t put out anything for a little while and people forgot about us. So now we’re ghosts. Were just there in the wind, I changed the name on the page to that people thinking like, we changed the name of the band, you know, let’s just see where people went away. And this next track is going to be instrumental. It’s, it’s going to be heavily focused on the music, which we’ve done before, but we never really, we only have one instrumental out that was released as an instrumental, which was actually just Bill and I, which was a hard track called Crimson staircase. This track, there’s guitars, there’s since there’s fretless, bass, there is crazy, crazy double bass, there’s guitar solos, there’s everything that we love blended into just a hodgepodge of what we ended up being determined, as we’ve kind of went into prog rock a little bit. You know, it wasn’t the intention. But we had a lot of fun with it, it’s we’re still, you know, wrapping up the song, we’re going to be teasing some music really soon. But it’s going to continue the trend of just when we take a departure with every song, it’s a different journey, different emotion, different part of our lives. And, you know, we’ll see where it goes, we’ll see who likes it. And, you know, again, we don’t want to get lucky and find the song that like becomes our niche. And then we start writing to that. I want to continue this trend, if just keep writing, you know, crazy, crazy, weird stuff, you know, where we just have fun with it. So I’m looking forward to that.

Ryan Freng 41:47
Yeah, I love that idea, too. And even if you do have a song that hits in a certain way, you know that that’s awesome. I love that perspective of like, okay, well, we can rinse and repeat. But we want to create new things. And I feel like bands have been successful with that before I was just introduced to a Jr. Like a month ago or something. I’d heard some of their songs but didn’t know who they were. And they’re, you know, they’re different. But some of the things you’re mentioning make me think of them. Like, when I tried to describe them, I’m like, I don’t know, they’re kind of like a little electronic, a little big band, a little folk, like all these things are on different areas of the spectrum. And I’m like, different songs are different as well. It’s like this huge eclectic collection. And I think that’s one of the reasons I really, really liked them and appreciate them is because they have just Oh, wide range. And I think that’s, that’s special when you when you can do that.

Benny Rose 42:52
No, thank you. It is. But it’s also it can be one of those blessings and curses. Because people get people get scared of change. People don’t like different and a lot of times, so be concerned with that is you know, oh, they’re just trying to do their own thing. You know, they should stick with synthwave or they should stick with this. They should stick with that. I know that I know, certain things deter people from listening to us regularly. And a big part of that is we don’t have the standard synth wave sound, you know, like, we’ll have arpeggiated stuff in there. We don’t we try not to force it in there. If it feels right, it feels right. But, you know, there’s, to me synth wave is defined by specific genre styles. You know, outrun, like that electronic reminds you of like 80s video games and or movies or soundtracks. Zen is a perfect example of the ideal artists when I think of synthwave muchbetter is another, you know, like, when I listened to their music, I’m getting transported back. I don’t think that was the message that we were trying to defer here. But some people feel it was certain songs, like cruise control, I feel like the artwork tells the story, but the music is kind of in its own age as well. And it’s just, you know, again, I feel that there’s a lot of thought process behind when people do it. So, you know, for us, we are telling a story. We’re telling an emotional story that, you know, we’re also collaborating with a lot of other artists that are not part of the band. So it’s another another way of thinking, you know, so just an example. Cruise control is a perfect example. You take another band, Tom Celica, duos and wave group, bringing their unique style into, you know, neon Arcadia, who’s already kind of done a little bit of dark synth, a little bit of chill wave. And we’re going into like, almost like early 90s Rock ish. You know, how do we approach that and, you know, we gave them the core foundation of the song We said Do your thing. Like, here’s some ideas that we had, if you can implement them cool, if not, let’s see what you do. You know, it’s a very unorthodox collaboration, people usually, you know, put a lot of notes, here’s what we want from you. Here’s what we don’t want. Okay, we left a lot of creative freedom. There were a few scenarios where we’re like, Alright, can we just do this a little different, but for the most part, we wanted them to be themselves, so that the music can reflect the feel of of both artists.

Ryan Freng 45:34
And you had mentioned too, with neon Arcadia, it sounds like there’s some people that are local, but others are not.

Benny Rose 45:42
So, so Tom singer lives in Tennessee, he’s from New York, he lived here when we were in Goa, Sweden together, but Bill rich, and myself all live in New Jersey, and we probably live 25 to 30 minutes away from each other. So I’ve seen rich over the last year or two I’ve seen Bill, I haven’t seen them both in the same room.

Ryan Freng 46:05
To print to produce together, right, because you know, your conventional band is like, Alright, we’re gonna come together, we’re going to jam and we’re going to develop something were to be jam. And then of course, when you record, you know, you could record individual, so it’s all clean, and it can be mixed. And when you’re remote, you can obviously record individual and then it’s clean, and it’s mixed. But like, how do you get that same energy of that collaboration, but producing remote?

Benny Rose 46:32
Yeah, so it’s a very unique take, like I mentioned, a lot of it is, is text message based. Sometimes, Bill drives a lot when we’re sending messages. So he’ll send his audio files, you know, with his opinions, his thoughts and everything. Traditionally rich, and I write the bare bones foundation of where the song is where it can be, we’ll usually put drum loops, we’ll write some drum ideas of where we’re hearing the progression, we always leave that open for Bill to kind of do whatever he wants, or if he wants to use some of it as a basis to kind of write his own parts. And then usually, it goes to Tom after that, like we, we tell them where we’re hearing things, what we’re feeling, and then it just, it just spends a bit of time with each person, little by little, and then basically, they’ll they’ll bounce everything back to me, eventually, I start doing like the rough rough mixes to kind of see here’s where it could sound we just needed at another level. And then a lot of times, I’ll end up just, you know, partnering with a more established producer to help mix in potentially master that stuff, because I’m not at that level. And I, I want to say early on, the first early singles were all mixed by me, including desire. But once we got into bringing Tom In, Tom is a professional session session musician, and we wanted to take it in the right the right direction. So I brought in other people to help with that. So you know, we’ve had a different group of people help depending on the project, one of my close friends, Josh Lopez, who actually produced like the mixing and the mastering of pretty much, almost everything that Tom has been on, with the exception of chemicals. He actually did our EP as well. And he’s actually the guest artist on the next single the instrumental he’s doing all of the lead guitar work on there, because he has a studio, he plays guitar, he plays eight string guitar, he’s crazy and other, you know, really out there. But um, yeah, for the most part, I just I build the foundation of how I feel I can sell it to someone to take it to the next level. And that’s that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing. It’s, it’s worked, you know, because I don’t want to pretend to be better at something I’m not. And when it comes to music production quality, I know that we have to get better with each song. That’s the goal here. Because that also deters people from listening. If they listen to a mix, and I know what’s out there, I know people like Billy Eilish are able to produce in their bedroom and take it to a whole nother level. Not everybody has the luxury to learn that stuff. And I want to do what I can with what I have, you know, that’s pretty much what we try to do here.

Ryan Freng 49:23
Yeah, that’s awesome. And it sounds like you kind of create that foundation and then hand it off. And then people add themselves into it, and then pass it along. They add themselves and you know, loops back through this feedback loop. You know, there might be some changes and modifications goes back to them gets updated. So it’s constantly kind of being added to until at the end, you’re like okay, this is gotta be it because we got to get it out. I’m sure there’s a time when you’re like, you know, we could do better at this or I would love to change this but like we got to get it out. This is this is where we’re at and it’s gonna be awesome. We just got to finish it.

Benny Rose 50:01
That’s the worst part of the process. Because I get I get so anxious to like, I’m like, Alright, we’ve been sitting on this song forever now like, and that’s, and that’s, that’s probably just the worst thing to have in your brain. Because I feel like for us, like, rich reminds me like, it doesn’t matter. You know? Like, we don’t have we don’t have people sitting and waiting and demanding an album. You know, I said, but if we did you know, is that gonna make it any better. So I feel we should just kind of follow a flow. We had a, we had a mindset of tried to do a song a month. Like we’re not, we’re not capable of producing full albums, you know, like, like an old school band. So if we could do a song a month, we’re happy, you know, like, the last couple of months had been hard. And we’ve tried to make do with what we can. And that’s why I put that Redux out to kind of give somebody give people something different while we’re working on stuff, but also don’t want to like keep telling people, it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming. And then they just get anxious and then walk away. Yeah, so it’s a tough scenario. When you’re, you know, like, we were part of a label in the UK, which I’m grateful to. But again, like it’s one of the it’s one of those scenarios where we don’t have enough going on to like, be like, Hey, here’s, here’s what’s coming. It’s like, let’s, let’s get some stuff together. And then we’re going to work with them, you know, the labels, CW one records. They’ve been awesome to us, since we’ve been part of it. But unfortunately, it’s just one of those timing scenarios where we have a really pumped out music since we started working with them. So the next couple of songs, you know, will be part of that. And we’ll be able to grow, you know, with them.

Ryan Freng 51:42
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s interesting, too. I know you got to leave at one. So I want to respect that. And we typically do play this little game. Let’s see if I can find the graphic here. Here we go. You’re ready for this?

Oh, right. That’s right. It’s game time. We’re gonna play two truths and a lie. We’ve been playing this for a whole year with everyone. Often, you know, we’ll go first and you got to guess which story of three is a lie. But because we just want to hear from you and get you out of here and get you on your way, we’ll just have you come up with three stories that you can tell us. One of them is alive. Two others are truths. And we are live so people at home can guess. And if you participate, if you guess you’ll get some swag. We’ve got coasters. This is not an example of the coaster because they’re not in my room. But you’ll get branded coasters from us. And some other fun stuff, if you participate. So this is basically just me vamping to give you a second to come up with three different stories.

Benny Rose 53:02
It’s funny, because I’ve had to do this at my job before too. That’s that’s pretty cool. Nice. I like this. It’s cool.

Ryan Freng 53:08
What what is your job? By the way,

Benny Rose 53:10
I work as a support engineer for a company that deals with digital forensics. So I pretty much work mostly with law enforcement to pretty much help deter devices that had been apprehended by law enforcement to help put criminals away. And unfortunately, unfortunately, I can’t go into much more detail. But it’s something I do take a lot of pride in, because I do help make the world a safer place in the sense. My company provides tools to the law enforcement, and I support that product when they’re having issues with it or anything like that.

Ryan Freng 53:49
Yeah, and you’re such a chill, dude, I would love to call you. You know, if I had some software issue like, oh, my gosh, I need Benny Benny. Amen. What’s happening?

Benny Rose 54:02
And funny enough, I am that guy. For a lot of people. I worked. I worked at Geek Squad for many years, too. So I’ve done a little bit of everything. But not awesome. Thank you for hearing that out.

Ryan Freng 54:15
Yeah. All right. You got your three stories?

Benny Rose 54:19
I think so

Ryan Freng 54:20
you’re ready to play? Yeah, we could do this. All right. Yeah, go for it.

Benny Rose 54:24
So first story is when I was a kid, my older brothers 10 years older than me, was in a group, a dance dance kind of pop group. Where like, he, they have like a trio true of like dancing and they would be part of a band like traditionally like when an artists like let’s say Britney Spears sings, they have dancers, but the dancers aren’t really part of the group. Like they were part of the group like the idea was to market it. What the person that they were dancing for was Debbie Gibson. and this was, this was early 90s. I got to amazing. I got to Debbie Gibson, I got an autograph from her. She was really cool. And, you know, my brother had a Gumby hair cut, like literally the sideways hair was pretty awesome. And his aim was going to be to. So that’s one, two, out of all the toys that I collect. One of my favorite toys, happens to be something that I grew up with as a kid, but didn’t have any more, which was an old 80s cartoon called mask, and a SK. So it was a cartoon net like these people had helmets that gave them powers, they had vehicles that would transform like one guy had a bike to turn into a helicopter. And recently, I came across a game site that I follow that sells toys to somebody did a trade, they traded a bunch of these toys, I got them at a steel, which they go for a ton of money. So that is like my prized possession right now. And the last thing is my middle name. Si muy I have multiple middle names, but I only go by one. And I had a name that I used to go by all the time and it was Xander. So even though my name is Benny and stuff like that, it was several years where people called me Xander instead of any little little strange.

Ryan Freng 56:38
I love it. That’s good. You kind of set this up and the teat it in the beginning when you’re talking about Xander and you know the names and stuff where you said, I think but I think you said that. Xander Your son is the is got a middle name from your dad. Charles. I thought that’s what you said. Let’s see. Oh, wait. Yes. So Alexander, you said your middle name was Alexander. But then you also said you have multiple middle names. But that would check out if you went by Xander. That’s okay. All right. So, Emily, you guessed number two is a lie. Oops, let me show that. I’ll give you give you free stuff when we get it Emily, you’ll be the first to get it. So number two was collecting your favorite toy you found was a was a TV show called the

Benny Rose 57:41
mask? It was called masking. So I don’t remember the acronym but it was like m dot a dot s dot k.

Ryan Freng 57:48
Okay. Had one that I haven’t heard of.

Benny Rose 57:51
Yeah, it was. It was mid 80s. It’s something that like it’s highly sought for Now believe it or not crazy enough?

Ryan Freng 58:00
Yeah, I’m gonna look this up now. All right. So that was it that you were able to find some at a steel. Right. And then the third one middle name. You were called Xander for a while? Yeah, I mean that I think that checks out because you mentioned your middle name being Alexander. And then we got forgive me if I’m saying this wrong. dama

Benny Rose 58:24
it’s Jama. Believe it or not. That’s my mama. i Mom. Oh, nice. Big my biggest fan. My biggest fan.

Ryan Freng 58:32
Welcome. Alright, so she says first is true. So I mean, that sounds awesome. Your 10 year older brother was at a dance pop group. And he danced with her for Debbie gets Gibson.

Benny Rose 58:47
sensually? Yep. So that that is 100% true.

Ryan Freng 58:52
All right. So your mom also says the second one is a lie. And I think the third one is true. So I’m gonna have to go with our people at home and say number two is a lie.

Benny Rose 59:02
Okay, so you let me know when when I need to unveil the truth.

Ryan Freng 59:07
Yeah, you can go ahead and do that. Now. I think everyone got their guests and Okay,

Benny Rose 59:11
so I was able to secure a small little set of masked figures. For for a crazy deal. These figures and sets usually cost about $100 each individually. For like a vehicle and a character. I was able to score 12345 About six of them for about $140 and pretty much almost near complete. I have them on display. I’ll send you a picture later since the camera won’t reach. I have a painting that was custom of one of the characters helmets signed by the voice actor right behind it. So the reason that the last one is a lie is because I wanted people to call me Xander. But nobody would call me Xander. I had 1x girlfriend. I wanted the name because I liked it more than my name. I had an ex girlfriend that got me a gift as a bowling ball. And it has Xander on it. So it’s the closest I ever had, which I can now pass down to my son, which is awesome. But yeah, nobody. I was called ACE in junior high for a long time because of my love for easements, easements, hoorah. That’s as far as it went. I was always been Benny Benji, those were my names all my life pretty much now. It’s become Benny rose, which I’m very grateful for, for the last 12 years. That’s what people identify me as. But yeah, then Xander was never a name that I got to appreciate for myself. So I pass it on to my son.

Ryan Freng 1:00:47
Oh, that’s awesome. That was super tricky. And super deep, which I appreciate you pulled several things together to make that happen. And you fooled your mom, which is amazing. Awesome. Cool.

Benny Rose 1:01:03
Thank you so much. I this was an awesome experience. I really,

Ryan Freng 1:01:07
yeah. I mean, thank you. I feel like kindred spirits here. So we’ll have you back on. Maybe we can do in the evenings when we have a little bit more time. That’d be a blast. We could you could share some music and stuff too, because I think that’d be really really cool, too. But yeah, thanks for coming on. Thanks for taking the time. Let’s see next week. We’ve got a Matthew Pearson, who’s a seminarian studying previously studied in Rome. He’s here for the summer, come and hang out with us. That’ll be fun. We haven’t had a seminarian before. Then we’ve got we’re out for a week. And then we got Max Olmstead, who has been on the show before, but now he actually works for us. So that’ll be really fun to see. Check that out. And that’s what I got. What can we plug for you, Benny?

Benny Rose 1:01:57
Well, you can always find me on Twitter at it’s Benny rose, or at the neon Arcadia. Like I said, we have a new instrumental coming really soon. I promise we’ll be teasing it in the coming weeks. Really excited for it, we think it’s going to change the way people feel about us, hopefully for the better. Because we are experimenting once again, something that we have not done a lot of pride is going into the song but there’s a lot of deep reasoning behind the song. Like I mentioned before, you know, we we don’t want to feel forgotten. But sometimes that’s just an emotion that comes through. I also, I have some stuff I’m working on potentially, to pitch for a horror documentary that will most likely release before that is even considered. So we’ll still put it out as a single. So there is other stuff in the works. Outside of that you can actually check out I have a podcast that I’m really happy about. It’s called the media, the media masterminds. And you can find that on iTunes, Spotify, all those different podcasts locations. We are a duo that talk about movies, pop culture, it’s mostly Marvel, DC, our love for it or knowledge about it. We do spoilers. We’re just fans shooting it, and talking all about it. And we do a best of where like we’ll do our best Marvel movies. We’ve done our top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, we kind of mix it up. We have. We’ve been at it. We’re friends for almost 20 years. We’ve been doing it for a really long time. And we have a new show every week every Monday. So please take a listen and appreciate all the support. Thank you again.

Ryan Freng 1:03:35
That’s awesome. I’m gonna sign up right as soon as I get off and pick up my phone over there. So thank you, Benny, so much for taking the time. This is awesome. We’ll get you back on. Thanks for tuning in. If you did answer, send us your info. We can get your mom’s info too so we can send her some fun stuff for tuning in. And that’s what we got. We’ll see you next time.

Benny Rose 1:03:56
Take care and have fun.

Ryan Freng 1:03:57


author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...