When the term “electronic dance music” is mentioned, most think of huge festivals with glow sticks and fans tripping on psychedelic drugs. But Cori Benedict is breaking the stigma surrounding electronic music.
Benedict goes by “Danky” online where she and her record label Lush Selects, post her music to Soundcloud. “Danky” is different from any electronic music heard in the mainstream today. She tries to stay away from the repetitive norm of EDM.
“The thing about my music is it’s not typical party or rave music. It’s different and more intricate,” said Benedict. “That’s what I like when I listen to music, the technicality of it; it’s not boring and repeating.”
Benedict is currently a criminology major in her junior year at Sonoma State University. She’s always been interested in forensic science, growing up watching shows like “Criminal Minds” and especially “Dexter.” But her passion lies in music.
“Balancing school and music is hard,” said Benedict. “School has definitely affected my music, I think it’s made me more dedicated to it. When I have time for it, I’m going full force at it.”
Electronic music producing gives her an outlet from school and work, exercising the creativity she doesn’t get to use in classes. Benedict has been branching out more with her sound, incorporating her own guitar playing.
“I’ve been working a lot with putting electric guitar into my songs. It’s definitely opened up a lot of creativity with me,” said Benedict. “Before, I was just kinda stuck using the keyboard, maybe finding sounds on the internet. But now I can put my own touch on it.”
Benedict gathers her inspiration for Danky from the world around her. Everything from her childhood to everyday sounds can turn into a song in her head.
“I’ve literally grown up with music all around me,” Benedict recalled of her childhood. “I woke up every day to the sound of my mom and dad practicing.”
Benedict grew up playing piano and trumpet, and eventually taught herself guitar at 15 years old. She began electronically producing with her brother around 14 years old.
“My brother and I are extremely close. He’s the only person in the world that knows my music taste,” says Benedict. “He can contribute to my music and I can contribute to his. Everything we play for each other, we like. It’s nice to connect with someone on a musical level.”
Benedict’s brother Andrew has enjoyed growing up with and watching her musical style change over time.
“She’s incorporated the classical training from piano and the jazz training from when she was in jazz band throughout middle school and high school. So I’ve gotten to see that all being utilized in her current productions,” said Andrew. “I think it’s really awesome how she’s still using that music from her formal training to develop her own modern style and her own characteristics as a musician.”
“Anything can inspire a piece of music. I could go on a walk and hear a car drive by or leaves rustling on the ground and be inspired by that. I can even record it on my phone and somehow incorporate it,” said Benedict. “A person can inspire me, even if it’s not someone super special to me. It could be someone walking past me who smiles or says something funny. It’s weird how it can turn into a musical idea because it helps me tell a story.”
Benedict’s roommate Allie Foulk, an accounting and financial management major at Sonoma State, has been living with Benedict for the last three years. Foulk has been able to see Benedict’s passion for her music grow over time.
“She plays her music non-stop so I get to hear it all the time. It’s cool to see what she has that’s new,” said Foulk. “She’s always dancing around the house. It’s cool to see how passionate she is about it.”
Benedict tries to form a deeper meaning in her songs by tellingstories inspired by the things and people around her.
“It could be a different story for every person who listens to it, but for me it’s the story of an adventure or of my day,” said Benedict. “I like it like that, so people can have different interpretations. It doesn’t have to be a set idea.”
Benedict recently released a three song EP titled “Her,” available on Soundcloud. This and her recent promotion on EDM.com she considers her greatest accomplishments to date.
“[EDM.com] promoted one of my songs a few months ago and it has around 200,000 plays, which is huge for me. I usually get 1,000 plays, tops,” said Benedict. “It’s comforting to know there are other people out there listening to my music. It makes me think, ‘maybe I can actually do this.’”
Benedict’s future goals include playing live shows, exposing her music more and potentially creating a career out of it.
“It’s just a passion, it’s not a career. But I want it to be,” said Benedict. “It’s going to be hard work, but that’s the dream. I like not knowing [where I see myself in 10 years], I like going with the flow. I don’t want to set myself to a standard.”
As far as fame goes, Benedict would rather produce and play what she’s passionate about rather than have millions of fans.
“As long as I’m happy with my productions, with what I’m putting out there, I’m pretty content with my listeners. Even if it’s only 1,000 listeners, I’m happy with it.”
You can find Danky on Soundcloud or on Facebook at Facebook. The EP “Her” is available for a free download, but you can help support this student artist by making a donation.