San Miguel has created its own unique Rich List, unearthing a group of 20 ‘life-rich’ individuals from across the globe who have unique, compelling and aspirational stories to tell. Featured in the Rich List is Sailing Conductors, Ben and Hannes. After their flight ticket had expired, they decided to buy a boat and sail back from Australia making music along the way. Four and a half years later, thirty five countries and five continents later, the pair have compiled an album like no other with contributions from another 8 musicians. Now they are organising a contemporary music jazz festival and looking forward to whatever their next great adventure turns out to be.
1) As far as producing music goes, this is quite an incredible and different approach, why did you decide to sail back and produce an album at the same time? It must have been almost impossible at times?
Well, the initial idea from Benni was just “I’m gonna sail back!” And when he was looking for someone to join him because he didn’t just want to do it by himself he found me. And my thoughts were “hey, soon I’m gonna be finished with studying audio engineering and I want to be a music producer, but it seems very unlikely to get a job as one. You would have to be experienced.” Just travelling wouldn’t have been interesting enough for me at that time. But producing an album with musicians from all over the world seemed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
2) Which continents/ countries did you produce your best tracks in?
Brazil and U.S.A. – But these were the countries that we spent the most time in so we had more time to find and record musicians.
3) What can we expect from the album?
I hope a big change! Maybe we can start a movement, really make a difference. After Brexit and what happened in the states, with Trump and the Dakota pipeline protest, basically all over the world – this album is really about humanity and international understanding
4) When travelling and experiencing different countries, you can’t help but embrace their culture. Did this help when it came to making the music?
Wherever we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts. We met soulmates from another country. Met a “brother from another mother” as one says. So yes, it was very easy to move around and meet amazing musicians and produce this album.
5) You must’ve been inspired by such a vast amount of different musical genres, what was your favourite place you travelled to that you feel made it onto the album?
Well, it’s not really a place that inspired us the most. It is all about the people. Our project was always a big collaboration of many individuals. So there were a couple of musicians that just participated more than others, like Jack Mantis and Lincoln Davis. So you can hear them more on the album than others.
6) Has making music always been a part of your lives? Is this the first album you’ve made together? If so, it’s gonna be hard to beat!
Benni is a classically trained cello player and I started to play guitar when I was 14. Pretty much after that I also started to play in bands. With the last band I had before we started the Sailing Conductors we made it second place in a band contest and released one album. But this is by far the biggest thing for Benni and I, definitely by the amount of time and effort that we put into this.
7) What can you tell us about the jazz festival that you’ve organised? When/ where will it be?
We got fired after one month. Strange thing, we’re kind of glad that we don’t have to work there anymore, although it would have been a great experience.
8) What is in store for the future? Any more sailing adventures?
We’re both hooked, so sailing will always be a part of our lives. But as for now we have to see how to make money to pay our rent.