Benjamin Love is a Chattanooga local with deep roots in the city’s music, film, and photography scenes. Born under the name Benjamin Corey Snipes, he has recently decided to change his last name to Love as he prepares to embark on a solo career as Benjamin Love. By day, he works as a graphic designer at Relik Creative Agency. By night, he writes music for his upcoming album and runs Love’s Rehearsal Hall in the heart of downtown Chattanooga.
What instrument do you play?
Benjamin: I started playing drums for my older brother B. Snipes’ band in high school and then I picked up the guitar during my freshman year of college. I write most of my music on guitar, but in this upcoming album I played all of the instruments.
Weren’t you a member of the band Rigoletto in college?
Benjamin: Originally I attended UTC, but after some health issues I went home for a period of time before transferring to Covenant College, where my brother attended. It was a little easier having someone I knew there. That’s where I started the band Rigoletto, which was a lot of fun. We released three albums, a few singles, and signed to a record label called South Division who helped us tour for about three-four years.
What’s the focus for your solo career and your new album?
Benjamin: This record is all about self-realization. I’m focused on writing songs that light me on fire when I listen to them. and that I’m totally crazy about. It ended up being a diverse record because the songs vary from acoustic and intimate, to dancey, theatrical, and flamboyant, to edgy rock.
Who are your music inspirations?
Benjamin: Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Prince, and the Rolling Stones.
Why did you start Love’s Rehearsal Hall?
Benjamin: This company was born out of necessity for the city because Chattanooga needed a place where artists could rehearse that was climate controlled, had a PA system, an available drum kit, etc. I remember trying to find places to rehearse after school when I was younger and we ended up in my parent’s basement, which didn’t have a lot of space or a PA system. I wanted to provide kids with a space to come after school if they wanted to rehearse, and the audience has grown since then. We have customers ranging from visual artists who want to paint to bands made of 50–year–old metal heads come use this space. We want to provide a space for people to feel comfortable enough to create in at an affordable rate.
For bands, it’s $20 an hour. For solo artists, it’s $15 an hour. We also have monthly memberships available, we just work with the artist or musician to determine how we can accommodate their needs.
We are open 24/7. We chose this location specifically because the space used to be a storage unit before we moved in. The guy who owns the building told me that if we put in a practice studio, we could play as loud as we wanted at any point in the day. Where can you go downtown and be as loud as you want to be 24/7?
What are your goals for 2017 as an artist and for the rehearsal hall?
Benjamin: For Love’s, it would be to get every artist and musician who needs a practice space here so they have a space to create in. We’re booked, but we’re not so busy that we have to turn people away. We’re just trying to make sure this place is up and running so people can use it and offer a space where community is built.
For my solo record, I want to finish recording within the next month or two. I’m working with a few agents in Nashville who are trying to help me get it into the hands of the right people. My dream is to have people I trust get me to the point where I can distribute my music and go on tour while someone I trust is holding down the fort here.