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Orlando, FL | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | INDIE

Orlando, FL | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2016






It was a typical Friday afternoon for Full Sail: Students were able to enjoy their last day of classes for the month, finishing up projects, finalizing their graduation plans, or, in 3300+Climbing’s case, rushing off to The Treehouse in building 4. Because tucked away behind those dark tinted windows (you know what I’m talking about) was a packed out venue full of students, faculty, and staff. And in front of them stood award winning producer Seven_12 (Ben Parris) and Red Bull Thre3style champion/Master of the Mix winner M-Squared (Michael McPherson).

A usual Full Sail Social Scene consists of various student talent performing in front of their peers while students network with each other over simple but fun games. It’s fun entertainment and there’s always a large pool of talent in which one could scout for future projects. But this time around, the Social Scene was a completely different setting. Sometimes, at Social Scenes, you can see a few students lounging around the lobby with their Mac Book but on Friday, when the decorated producer and DJ took the stage, people flowed into the The Treehouse from the lobby to eat up the mood that they created with their music, which was infused with personal and remixed tracks of the best records in the industry spanning across different genres including pop, hip-hop, jazz, and EDM.

Everyone was bobbing their head to the beat, especially when they spun “We gET wILD.” Ben and Michael, both very much laid back off stage, dominated the atmosphere with track after track, no breaks, and the occasional nod at each other to see how the other artist was doing. The connection they have with each other and with each other’s music is a talent itself. “It’s so natural. It’s been barley a year and we don’t see each other every day. It’s a natural communication that we have with each other,” Ben explains. Michael nods. “It’s the mutual love and respect for the music.” How they feed off each other on stage is very similar to how they both feed off the audience’s mood, hence the project Mood Designers, which is one of Michael’s projects with fellow musician Natural Phil.

​Although both Ben and Michael had a natural inclination to the music industry as very young ages, they approached it in very different ways. “I’ve jumped in at multiple entries,” Ben laughs, “my parents were accomplished musicians, traveling all over the world on tours. At two, I started drumming, and at age twelve, I was accepted to the Eastman School of Music on a full scholarship" (For those who were wondering, the Eastman School of Music currently boasts a thirteen percent acceptance rate). However, even with all the resources and connections at his disposal, Ben opted for a more humbling approach by taking up an engineering apprenticeship with The Studios at Linden Oaks in New York. As with any other engineer and producer, he paid his dues in the studio, helping the engineers with whatever they needed for a project whether it be setting up a recording session all the way to fetching sandwiches. “I went into the studio and started from the bottom without letting anyone know that I was already skilled,” Ben admits.
​After working throughout the day, he would work on his own projects in the studio at night until he moved up from assistant engineer to engineer. Ben recalls his first real paid gig, which involved James Taylor. “We worked on a record called October Road, which eventually went on to becoming multiplatinum. He’s a legend!” Mr. Taylor was even cool enough to stick around after his session and go into Ben’s personal sessions and offer advice and a good ear. “It was definitely my first rewarding lesson.” Today, Ben is a resident producer at the highly respected Plush Studios and is fresh from performing at SXSW and Coachella. Let’s also not forget that he has earned an Emmy for his work on “Hitching a Ride” in 2004 and a Grammy Foundation Emerging Artist Award in 2012. His very well put together mixtape Plush Life Volume 1 on Mixcloud is gaining a ton of plays daily and on June 3rd, Ben will drop his highly anticipated personal record Prototype Alpha.

Meanwhile in Florida, Michael began drumming in a middle school band. He didn’t come from a musical family but found himself tinkering with vinyl and cassette tapes at a young age. Michael took a very common route that most can relate to. He got his first pair of turntables as a kid and interned with UMG during college. Naturally, he paid his dues as well, fetching coffee during the day and mailing out personal demos on the side.

“Mood Designers is a creative way to express yourself, designing the mood, and creating a reality of how we feel,” Michael explains. But it’s a two-way street. Even though Michael and Ben create very specific moods for the audience that listen to their music, they also feed off of that audience to keep going. “I have to feel the vibe and I have to feel the pulse of the audience. I go through tracks and take them on a journey. It’s a release. The crowd gives me so much energy and after, I can decompress.”

​“I got to see the inner workings of how a record goes from zero to one hundred.”
​But it was definitely a learning experience. “I got to see the inner workings of how a record goes from zero to one hundred.” But as for his craft, “I started teaching myself on the turntables. It was all self taught.” Michael also recounts his first paid gig as a DJ while studying at Florida Atlantic University. “I would DJ in my dorm and always get in trouble by my RA. One day a fraternity brother heard me playing and invited me to play at their party for fifty bucks. I brought my entire set up to the party and rocked out for six hours straight!” Michael has definitely come a long way from playing at frat parties. He’s played in front of twenty thousand people at SXSW, toured with Kelly Rowland, and currently has an exclusive residency at NBC/Universal.

Ben and Michael met by chance. Ben went to an industry event at Bullitt Bar with Plush Studios president Ethan Curtis last year and caught Michael spinning one of his sets. “Everyone was just standing and looking at Michael like he was Drake or something,” Ben laughs, “the mashups he put together were not standard. It was musicianship.” That night, Ethan introduced the two and they eventually started hanging out at the studio, lending an ear to each other’s work. During this time, they started working on “wE gET wILD,” which received a lot of positive feedback from fans. ​With the success of “wE gET wILD,” talks of a music video quickly followed. “It was awesome! The whole weight of the song came forth,” Ben exclaims. Donna Davis, a graduate student in the Full Sail Film program approached Ben about putting together a creative visual for the track. Ben and Michael were immediately blown away by her creativity and work ethic. “Donna took it farther than I ever thought. She pulled her connections with Israel and Nestor and turned it into something no one was expecting. She definitely delivered.

​“Ben and Michael are great examples of whom up and coming artists should emulate. They are talented professionals dedicated to their craft. It was a pleasure to work with them on this project.” - Donna Davis

Additionally, as with the relationship between Ben and Michael, there was an open and honest communication between the talent and Donna, which she says, “increased the ease of the project’s flow.” Both Michael and Ben agree. For them, it all starts with the first interaction and a spark of interest. “It stems from the relationship and tastes in music,” Michael adds. Despite all the success, the two musicians remain extremely level-headed. Ben promises that there is no defining moment that allows one to know that they’ve made it in the industry. Despite all the awards, there is still work to be done. “I’m never really satisfied with where I am. There is always something new, to correct, to explore. And that’s what keeps me hungry. If you don’t work, the mind starts to deteriorate. It’s musical deterioration. You become stagnant and get left behind.” It wasn’t all hard work and power plays from the very beginning however. The love of music came naturally. Even though Ben sometimes saw music as a chore (simply based on growing up and watching his parents’ careers take them all over the world), he always loved music and learned to appreciate the art of music through listening sessions with his father, who made sure he knew all the classics.
“I once purchased sixteen records at once,”

“Through Columbia House?”


There is no slowing down for Ben and Michael. Their natural connection and love for the same vibe that stems from the root of music can be seen on and off the stage, which is the perfect ingredient for an all around plush experience. “Obviously, #plushlife is associated with Plush Studios. But above all the equipment, it boils down to how you feel at the studio and the music that comes from that building. The studio and the people inside of it have always treated me like I was family. When I go there, I’m not going to a studio, I’m going into the plush life.” - 3300+CLIMBING


#PLUSHLIFE vol1 (March 2016)

wE gET wILD-The Remixes (March 2016)

pROTOTYPE aLPHA (May 2016)

SUIT OF ARMOR (September 2016)



The phrase “stay the course” is the mantra of countless innovators across the globe.  However, it has proven to be quite the opposite for multiple award winning Producer/Multi-Instrumentalist/DJ SEVEN_12.  The life’s blood of his musical career has been the proverbial forks in the road…and what lay beyond them.   


SEVEN_12 (born Benjamin Parris)’s interest in music became evident at an early age.  He began drumming at age two, was awarded a full scholarship to The Eastman School of Music at age twelve, and (when he could take a break from his studies) began touring with national acts at age thirteen sharing the stage with artists such as Jesse Norman, Fred Wesley, Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Yolanda Adams, Donnie Gerrard, Mike Miller, Scott Wesley Brown, Jeff Tyzic, Ron Kanoly, Robert Klein, The Berkshires Festival, The Cleveland Symphony, and The Rochester Philharmonic.


 Shortly after University (where he studied Music Education & Performance), Ben quickly acquired a full schedule of students and his future seemed set.  But while teaching brought him great pleasure, he couldn't help wanting more.  He decided to veer from the pursuit of a career in music education and focus on one as a producer.  After soliciting the advice of his parents (both Eastman School graduates and world class musicians in their own right), he determined the best way to succeed was to start at the bottom.  Ben applied for and secured an Engineer’s Apprentice position at The Studios at Linden Oaks, one of the best recording facilities in the country.  He didn’t let on that he had prior music experience but chose to gain acceptance and promotion through handling every task (whether sweeping floors or assisting a session) with consistency, quality work, and persistence. 


His diligent efforts didn’t go unnoticed and soon he was offered an Engineer’s position.  He took full advantage of the opportunity afforded him, taking part in every session he could, and in doing so, received invaluable session experience and knowledge from greats such as Mick Guzauski, Ed Cherney, Russ Titleman, Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Tyzic, and Mike Miller. Within a short time, Ben was requested to participate in and/or oversee client projects regularly as session player, producer, engineer, and/or mixer.  His unusual versatility became his calling card and outside clientele began requesting Ben’ s services bringing on the next chapter of his musical journey.


Over the next few years, Ben had the pleasure of working on projects for brands such as James Taylor, Brittany Spears, Flo Rida, Eminem, Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliot, Lone Star, 50 Cent, Jurassic Five, Duran   Duran, The Game, Miss Congeniality 2, HBO, General Motors, Lamborghini, The Golf Channel, WB, and The PGA among others.  He secured an Emmy Award in 2004 for work on the show “ Hitching A Ride” and a Grammy Foundation “Emerging Artist Award” in 2012 for his work on Tara Keith’s “A Different Kind Of Love”.


Most would be pleased to have garnered such a resume but he found the more he accomplished as a producer…the less fulfilled he felt.  He wanted to do more.  He wanted to give more, and his focus began to veer once again from a production centric career to an artist centric one. He established a new residency at Atlantic Records hub, Plush Recording Studios where, in between meeting his continued demand as producer, he could be found mentoring promising young artist/producers or guest lecturing at nearby Full Sail University.  Also during this time, boutique drum maker Revelation Drums approached Ben to design a drum kit with the soul purpose of fitting into modern Pop production.  The result of this collaboration was the Ben Parris Signature Series Drum Kit, which is now available for purchase worldwide.    


Never one to rest on his laurels, he began pushing himself harder in the studio.  He began to explore new sonic territory with his personal compositions, blending many of his personal musical preferences: EDM, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, and live instrument performance, often into one song. The experimentation quickly became passion and soon he had materialized a full-length album’s worth of material.  He named the project “pROTOTYPE aLPHA” as it serves as both first personal release and the beginning of a new musical journey.  And, as you can expect, he plans to make the most of it…that is, until the next fork in the road.


Look for pROTOTYPE aLPHA (along with accompanying mixtape #PLUSHLIVE vol 1) in 2016 wherever digital music is sold and be sure to catch SEVEN_12 live at SXSW and Coachella. 

Band Members