Benjamin Cartel

Video Premiere: Benjamin Cartel “Shut Inside”

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Ben Cartel
Benjamin Cartel photographed by Liz Tormes

Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Benjamin Cartel’s song “Shut Inside,” from his forthcoming album Write at Home. The album was produced by Charles Newman; mixed by Matt Anthony and mastered by Tom Rogers at Atomix Studios. The album features art by Henry Beguiristain and photography by Erika Kjorlie Geery and Tony Nelson.

“Shut Inside” is Benjamin Cartel on vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, and percussion;  Kieran Mulvaney on backing vocals;  Ed Maxwell on bass; Charles Newman on synths; and Ryan Smith on electric guitar.

This video was directed by Martin Hedman; produced by Benjamin Cartel with video by Jeremy Rothe Kushel; and written by Benjamin Cartel and Martin Hedman.  We can all relate to the feeling of being shut inside, an irony that this song, written before the pandemic, renders omnipresent. Cartel and the band play the music in a way that shoots the song across the immediate, unthinking parts of our minds. The video seized an opportunity to gather footage from around the world of folks’ various moments of isolation, and is entertaining all on its own.

The woes of being ‘shut in’ turned out to be accidentally prophetic. I hope it speaks to many people’s shared reality of the past few years.

The inspiration for ‘Shut Inside’ came to me a year before the pandemic. The lyrics were inspired by the story of a close friend who had just come out of a kind of ‘cabin fever’ relationship. He loved his ex-girlfriend, missed her, but felt too ‘shut in’ at home in their relationship. She was a homebody who wanted to spend time at home with him exclusively. He was more gregarious and enjoyed going out with friends in NYC. He felt the strain of their personality differences.

In making the video, I saw an opportunity to share a glimpse of ‘pandemic pod life’ by using footage of my friends around the world via camera phone video. I am grateful for their generosity in helping to make this video possible. I worked extensively with videographer Jeremy Rothe Kushel in Lawrence, Kansas and with editor and director Martin Hedman in Stockholm, Sweden who contributed a lot of extra footage.

I had hoped that the pandemic would be well behind us by now. Sadly that is still not the case, but I believe we’re about to enter the endemic stage.  — Benjamin Cartel


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