His gamble paid off: as a touring session drummer and musical director he has performed internationally with various artists such as Rüfüs Du Sol, Dakota, Nathan Ball, AJ Mitchell, Samantha Jade, Aston Merrygold, Taylor Henderson, Justice Crew, Kim Churchill and Reece Mastin, to name a few.
“I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of really great people who have helped me get started over here,” he says. “I’ve been doing a lot of filling in for other drummers, some musical direction work for new artists, and I’ve been doing quite a bit of studio work.”
Benson sometimes receives a last minute call for a job, which he insists is a welcome challenge:
“It’s a huge workload to learn a whole set of music in a short time! I got asked to fill in for Rüfüs Du Sol on the European leg of their tour; I was contacted two days before to play four shows, starting in Amsterdam – with no rehearsal. I’ve got a few systems in place that I use to learn and retain material. But the first show is always a nerve racking one!”
What would Benson advise for any budding session drummers?
“Play for the music, don’t over play,” he answers. “You hear that said a lot, but it couldn’t be more true. Also, just being a decent person is super important. No one wants to tour or work with an asshole – no matter how well you play!”
Loyalty also goes a long way:
“Believing in the people you work with is important too,” he nods. “Being professional and prepared is also paramount. Learn the material; turn up knowing your shit, and be in a good headspace. I think keeping fit and eating healthy is very important too, so I prioritise that. I avoid drinking too much – I definitely choose my battles wisely on which nights to have more than one or two,” he grins.
Benson is particularly proficient in live electronics and triggered drums, as well as building live shows in Ableton and running backing tracks – securing him endorsements with DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drum Heads, Promark Sticks and SKB Cases.
“I love DW drums and Zildjian Cymbals’ products, and they are a big part of my sound,” he enthuses. “They are super reliable, and their tour support is great. A lot of my gigs lately have incorporated electronics, and I mainly use Roland stuff because their gear is so reliable and easy to use. Saying that, I like to play any sort of vintage gear when I get the chance. That would be mostly for studio sessions though.”
Benson shares that a lot of live shows these days are supported by backing tracks.
“It’s super common and I think it’s almost become a staple in a show to have playback and backing tracks. These days it’s quite important to know your way around these systems, so I’ve just taught myself how to do that and have been helping artists I work with to create their vision.”
Having played with so many talented artists already, who else is left for Benson?
“Queens of the Stone Age are one of the coolest bands out there,” he answers. “And I think Jon Theodore is a complete badass. If I could ever step into those shoes in an alternate universe for a day, that would be wild!”