In addition to being assistant professor of music-industry studies at the University of Colorado Denver and a member of local rock band Professor Plumb, Benom Plumb has also sold merch at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the past five summers. During breaks working the merch table, he started checking out electronic sets and found himself drawn to the energy of the artists, particularly the local EDM act Illenium.
Plumb was inspired to start his new electronic project The Jolly Backbeat, which drops “Snow in April," its debut single, on Friday, April 24, on all music-streaming platforms. Plumb also made a video for the song at home during the current coronavirus crisis. The song’s genesis dates back to a decade ago, when he was living in Nashville and working as vice president of licensing at Bluewater Music. He programmed a marimba sound and then recorded a drumbeat and sampled it.
“I liked how the Beastie Boys would do that, where they would sample a live drum sound and just kind of repeat that throughout a song,” he says.
Plumb has been working with Jeff Kanan and Nick Sullivan, who run the local studio The Keep to help with mixing and mastering, and he’s got another nine Jolly Backbeat tracks that he plans to release as singles.
“Snow in April” has a groovy, sexy feel, but he notes that some of the other tracks are serious and some are just ridiculous — in the vein of the Lonely Island's “Dick in a Box," which debuted on Saturday Night Live.
While Professor Plumb's music is aggressive and dark, Plumb says he dubbed his new project the Jolly Backbeat because he was trying to be more lighthearted.
“It’s a little bit of therapy for me just trying to use the music to kind of have some more positive vibes,” he says. “At this time, I think people are looking for something to either kind of get their mind off of stuff or maybe lift their spirits a little bit. That's something that I'm trying to pay attention to.”
Plumb sees himself as more of a songwriter and producer than a performing artist. When he wrote “Snow in April,” he initially thought about pitching it to another musician, going for more of the songwriter publishing angle.
Plumb is currently in his eighth year on the faculty at UCD, where he teaches courses in music publishing, introduction to music business and music business finance and royalties, and he works his own material into his classes.
“I write and publish music, and hopefully I get some data and some numbers and some examples, and I get to bring it back into the classroom for the students, so it's a full-circle kind of a project,” Plumb explains.