You may not know music producer Ben Fagan, but you do know at least one of his songs. He co-wrote triple platinum title 3AM with Meghan Trainor. Two more of Fagan’s songs broke a million streams recently.
But what he’s most excited about is an upcoming “rock reggae” project, an EP set for release in early 2018. To finish, Fagan, 33, is buckling down in Charleston, where he spends serious time outside of Los Angeles and Costa Rica.
“I was mostly working on more commercial-style electronic music in L.A., which I will continue to do supplementally, but my next release will be more pop/hip hop/reggae. It’ll feel more like me—Charleston’s good vibes mixed with L.A.’s popular sensibility,” he says. “I like the demographic of the island market because it feels more centralized and real to me. I’d rather make a modest living and be surrounded by sunshine and happy people than to make a billion dollars surrounded by fakes.”
Fagan’s affinity for the lyrical life all started when he saw his older brother “get up on stage and rip the shit out of guitar and vocals on some Dave Matthews.” He says, “That blew my mind. That was the day I decided to take up music.”
The thing is he’s not all that star struck by the music industry. “Most of the ‘famous’ people that I make the effort to wind up around are the working-class hustlers like the Rebelutions, Slightly Stoopids, G-Loves, Revivalists, Zack Deputies. Etc., who are all down to earth cats, so it’s just like hanging with the boys,” he says. “I’m not overly impressed by the glittery celebs. I prefer real people. I took a wiz next to The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) one time, but I don’t know if that was being star struck or just awkward.”
On that note, we wanted to know more. Here’s what Fagan had to say about real life.
Where do you find artistic muse?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, and it’s usually when I least expect it that the best stuff surfaces. I try to create from passion as opposed to a cerebral process, but that means that I have to always be available to catch it when it comes. That can be hard during a busy day, so it’s usually after midnight when the world slows down enough for me to slip into that medium zone between my brain and my soul. I’ve written a ton of my music from the perspective of other people, ironically. It’s valuable to me to be able to see things from other angles and step into someone else’s shoes to narrate from there. For me there is magic in the spontaneity of writing, where I almost look for things to throw me off guard and let the feelings flow out of me before there is time to overthink it and add human bias.
Any routines for staying healthy and happy?
As a musician I have no real schedule, but I always start my day with a healthy protein shake full of frozen organic fruit, greens and coconut water. Then I take a super-hot/super-cold morning shower to get the blood flowing. If the sun is out, I step out onto my back porch and do a short core workout to wake up my sleepy brain. Almost every day of my life here [in Charleston] is spent in the studio next to my house working on anything from writing new music to managing my businesses. Life is good.
How do you fill free time or the rare day off?
Well, for better or for worse, music is almost all I do. It’s my connection to the world and my constant life wave to ride. I love to surf and studied martial arts my whole youth, both of which are very similar in a lot of ways to music. It’s a connection to something bigger. I travel a lot, but honestly people are what bring me the most joy inside and outside of music. Partying and hanging out with friends fills up most of my little bit of spare time. My girlfriend and my dogs keep me grounded, and Costa Rica keeps me sane and my perspective in check.
And, we had to ask … Favorite Nectar style?
The standard wayfarer style is my favorite. I’m always a fan of black-on-black, and I’ve worn the grey Pardays a ton. I like the blue green and the orange sunrise lenses because I always wear shades when I play and shoot videos, and the reflection adds a nice element to the vibe.