Benedict Sinister on music and dueting with Kim Jong-Un
Benedict Sinister is French /Australian music artist, producer, poet.
Sinister’s first single used lines from 16 songs by septuagenarian art rock fixture Bryan Ferry arranged into rhyming verses. Los Angeles based DJs Miss Beltran and Christian B released lounge and club remixes under the titles “Ne Dramatise Pas” and “16 Lines from Bryan Ferry,” the latter making No 5 Breakout on the Billboard Dance Club chart last year. Sinister’s videos for the songs were the world’s first to use footnotes, combined with pastiches of other videos – from the lyrics video for the Chainsmokers’ “Paris” to “Blurred Lines.”
His follow up, “Your Parents,” an electropop track inspired by a French cabaret song by Vincent Delerm, came accompanied with a hilarious animated video he also created, packed with so many witty references (from Trump to Spiderman and climate change to Last Tango in Paris), that it reached over half a million YouTube views in two months. We caught up with Sinister for a 1 on 1 chat.
1. To kick things off, who is Benedict Sinister in 3 words only?
Music for sapiosexuals.
2. You’ve had huge support Billboard Dance Charts charting recently in the top 10 breakouts, how does that feel?
It was pretty unexpected for a guy whose singing voice is so rough it makes Tom Waites seem like Ariana Grande in comparison.
3. Tell us About the single ‘I’ve Come to Tell You I’m Going Away’
It’s a translation of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1973 hit “Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais.” Bizarrely the day after we finished mixing it, I was having breakfast in the Breslin restaurant in New York and they played Jarvis Cocker’s version of the song over the PA. I had no idea he had done a translation of the same song, and I was so taken aback I just froze, a wedge of skirt steak and tomatillo salsa on the end of my fork in front of me. Anyway I’ve listened to it since and I like Cocker’s Dylanesque approach, rhyming “I just came to tell ya that I’m going” with “As the poet said ‘and the wind is blowing’.” But needless to say mine is the far superior adaptation.
4. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be & why?
Yves Klein. Although he’s best known as a painter and performance artist, he also wrote and conducted a work called “The Monotone-Silence Symphony.” The orchestra plays a D Major chord for 20 minutes, then remains silent for 20 minutes. He wrote it in 1947, when he was 19 – two years before the premiere of John Cage’s silent work, 4’33”.
5. Besides music, what you passionate about?
Tracking down the Malaysian billionaire thief Jho Low. I haven’t been to a decent party since COVID, and he may be a fugitive from the law, but you know he’s still throwing down!
6. What motto do you live by?
“Sing like the critics are listening, Dance like your enemies are watching. Even though in reality probably no-one gives a shit what you do, you’re the director of your own life, with full creative control – so make it f*cking magnificent.”
7. If you could be on a physical tour right now, which city/venue would you be looking forward to?
Pyongyang’s Rungrado May Day Stadium, performing “Senza una donna” in at duet with Kim Jong-Un in front of a crowd of 130,000 North Korean fans at the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang.
8. At Distract, we also cover fashion and entertainment… So tell us, what’s your favourite fashion brand to rock?
9. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I’m actually trying to get rid of my superpowers – particularly invisibility from the mainstream media.