Imagined Herbal Flows Interview: Ben Gorvine Discusses Creative Process, New York City & More
Sensible Reason recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with electronic downtempo producer Ben Gorvine of Imagined Herbal Flows (IHF) at Elements Music and Arts Festival, where he’d been scheduled to perform alongside other acts like Emancipator, Bassnectar, Subtronics and Snakehips.
A solo artist hailing from Virginia, Ben incorporates melodic instrumentals, feel-good jazz, soul and hip hop beats to create the smooth sounding, feel-good vibes showcased in Imagined Herbal Flows. With two full EP’s (his most recent being Departure, preceded by Floating back in 2014) and a tasteful selection of catchy singles and remixes, Ben’s talent remains noticed and steadily on the rise.
In addition to being well-versed in frequent music festival performances and live events, Ben’s also touring this Fall alongside internationally acclaimed electronica producer CloZee – with Imagined Herbal Flows scheduled as opener for the Midwest-Northeast sector of of her 2018 Evasion Tour.
In the midst of a heavy thunder storm, Elements Festival took a muddy turn mid-afternoon as downpours and hints of lightning took over, resulting in a temporary shutdown of the outdoor Earth Stage and an unfortunate cancellation of the acts scheduled to perform it that afternoon, including Imagined Herbal Flows.
Despite the gloomy circumstances, Ben’s presence was otherwise acknowledged while chatting that day through his positive nature and friendly, respectable charisma – even with a canceled booking.
What’s your status as of now? Any update with your set?
Unfortunately with this weather it’s looking like can’t play as of right now, but they’re keeping me posted. Hopefully I’ll be able to showcase some of the newer songs I’ve been working on. I’m really excited about these tracks and hope I’ll be able to play them for you guys.
When did you arrive in New York and how long are you staying?
I actually flew here today from DC, an hour before I was scheduled to play. I noticed it was raining though and then the lightning happened, so now I’m here. I’m also playing Shambhala this weekend, so tomorrow my flight to Seattle leaves at 7AM. I’m playing the festival later on at Grove Stage. I was actually scheduled to play Shambhala last year, but the day got messed up because there was a nearby forest fire. So, there was fire then, and now there’s rain!
And we’re at Elements! How fitting.
Exactly. Now we just need an earthquake.
How do you like New York? Compared to other cities, is there anything in particular about New York that stands out to you whenever you play a show here?
I think it’s honestly pretty surprising how many people there are in New York that are really into downtempo music. On the surface, New York seems like more of a professional-type city, but there’s so much more to it.
Agreed. New York certainly has a top layer of glam and flashiness. It’s only once you get passed that where you realize how much depth and diversity resides here.
Yes. And being at Elements Festival in particular – you really get see that type of diversity within all the people here today. You guys definitely know how to have a good time.
Let’s talk about you. You produce a ton of downtempo ethereal-sounding melodies. How’d you start out?
I have a background in classical piano, so I think my roots and inspiration with making music first began with those slower melodic sounds. I then started experimenting with sample-based instrumentals – mostly hip hop – then began adding electronic elements to it. I think all of those musical elements contributed to a lot of what can be heard in the earlier songs and melodies I’ve released.
What’s your creative process like?
I have a super small studio, so I produce there with just my headphones, keyboard, laptop, MK2 machine and a keypad. For me though, the most important part lies in the keyboard and being able to create the melody. The melody is the most important part for my music because once I have that, I can continue to structure everything else further from it. That’s a pretty common thing with a lot of electronic producers, at least at the beginning. They start out using sample melodies in their earlier tracks and then eventually stray away from it. I know Bonobo started out that way, along with many others. It’s a really common thing. You get a ton of practice when using samples and then eventually progress onward and build off of it.
Would you say Bonobo has inspired you and your music?
Oh, for sure. Bonobo is definitely my top in addition to Odesza. I also love Flume because of his ability to be so experimental with his sound.
You’re touring with CloZee soon!
I am! We’ve been friends for a while and the last time we hung out was at Envision Festival. She’s so awesome, super friendly. She reached out to me asking if I was available to open for her on tour this Fall in the Northeast. It’s really cool because I’m friendly with the additional acts supporting her on tour. They’re all really great people. Lots of talent.
Any new music releases the horizon? What can we expect from IHF in the near future?
I’m working on an EP! The first single should come out within the next month, then I’ll continue releasing the rest from there on out.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Favorite dessert… I’m gonna have to say anything that’s cookies ‘n cream