Benjamin's Childhood and His Musical Influences

Benjamin is the youngest of three children, with an older sister named Patricia who sings in a rock band called The Kicks and a brother named Rodolphe who plays guitar. Benjamin said: “The interesting thing about my family was that we got exposed to so many musical styles. My sister sings hard rock, my brother plays funk and soul music and I play pop and rock.”

“Since I was 6 years old till 14/15 years old, we used to listen to the French radio every morning on our way to school. They had a section called Le Hit Parade which played the top 10 songs of the week. Then, coming back from school we would listen to American and British music on the radio. But now and then my sister came home with her friends who played very hard rock such as Led Zeppelin and AC/DC which were totally new to us.”

“So I was really exposed to different kind of music ever since I could remember. Later on, when I was in high school I got interested in pop music and rock. Also my cousin gave me some of his Beatles tapes which had an amazing influence on me.”

'The Closest Thing to the Beatles'

In 1999 Benjamin began to compose and sing together with his sister Patricia (who would later leave the band) and his brother Rodolphe. With Benjamin on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rodolphe on lead guitar and Patricia as their backing singer they created the band Brothers of Penandrite in Paris. The band released 3 albums to critical acclaim: Ta’al-Azkar (2002), Kiyavar (2005) and Kiom (2008). In 2010 Benjamin decided to reform his band and dropped the other members of Brothers of Penandrite. He said: “I released my first album independently in France called Entre Deux Lumières which means between Two Lights. I don’t know how many copies it sold because it was an independent release, but more than 500 people downloaded it from my website. I had a lot of feedback about that album and many people said it was the closest thing to the Beatles outside of the Beatles.”

“Then we came to Australia, and that’s where I really started writing songs in English. It is a liberating experience for me because now I don’t have to translate into French anymore, because for a songwriter the best thing is to write in his mother tongue.”

“This book contained the poems of Rumi which are the most famous in Iran and they are sang by many singers. This book also contained a collection of poems of Hafez and Omar Khayyam which I was not familiar with before. The Iranian tapes my mom gave me had these two poets’ poems sung by Fereidoun Farrokhzad and Abdullah Mehrpouya. I really loved those two poets’ poems and still do. As for my other Iranian interests, they are due to my wife who is Persian.”

“I tried performing at many open mic nights where I performed my songs. I got positive feedback and people told me “we love your voice, but you need some more music behind it”. They were really encouraging so I said to myself that maybe they are right, so I am going to do a one-man-band show. I saw some talented musicians in Sydney and I asked them if they wanted to join the band, and that’s how The Benjamin Javaheri Project was born.”