Ben Wash couldn't be anything further from a snob.
Talking with him, he's affable and surprisingly energetic, especially considering we're calling him in the midst of a busy visit to California, where he's promoting his debut full-length album, Snob Rock.
"It's something I kind of throw around," Wash says when asked about the album's title. "It's more of a rebellious, punk sound geared toward a dance club."
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So despite its ring of negativism, the phrase Snob Rock isn't meant to be a put-down, but instead a self-aware description of his own work, for which Wash melds traditional house and techno elements with the pompous attitude of arena rock -- think Justice, Gesaffelstein, or Skrillex.
But the album, which drops this week, isn't only Wash's debut. It's also the first full-length that he and his collective, King's Head Records, have ever put out. And it has been the label's trial run in promoting an album.
"This is definitely our first big stepping stone for big-time promotion," Wash admits. "That was probably my biggest concern after finishing the album, 'How are we going to go promoting this?' But I have a great team of people working with me, and we extended our promotion all the way up to New York. I think we've done pretty well and I'm glad that my project was the first album to test our promotion skills."
Artistically, at least, King's Head is certainly hitting the ground running with Snob Rock, which is a 13-track collection of both new material and older cuts that Wash has already unleashed upon the world, including "Give Me" and "Fornicate to Perjury."
Also notable about Snob Rock is singer Bridget Barkan, former backup vocalist for Scissor Sisters and Mika, who appears on one of the only three vocal tracks on the album. "I wasn't able to record her in person," Wash says. "But it still turned out quite well. She knocked it out of the park."
In the end, Snob Rock's greatest purpose may have been serving as a learning experience for Wash, who admits he was a bit naïve going into the whole process. So what's the most important lesson he's learned during the creation of this slab?
"Small details make the biggest difference. When someone listens to a song for the first time, they might like the beat. But after listening to it again, for the tenth time, maybe they notice something different about the drums or the vocalist. I try to add little things to the songs so it stays interesting."
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Ben Wash's Snob Rock Listening Party. Presented by King's Head Records. Tuesday, November 11. Hush Bar & Lounge, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach. The event begins at 9 p.m. and limited free admission with RSVP via firstname.lastname@example.org. Ages 21 and up. Call 786-540-4874 or visit facebook.com/hush.bar.lounge.
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