We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Benny Muniz a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Benny thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you take us back in time to the first dollar you earned as a creative – how did it happen? What’s the story?
The first dollar 3 Exits to Hattiesburg ever earned was back in 2016 at a Houston venue called Super Happy Fun Land. Super Happy Fun Land is a venue at which every young band in Houston should perform; it has the potential to be the CBGB of Houston: a budding punk and indie venue with no air-conditioning and a charm unmatched elsewhere. At Super Happy Fun Land, we thought we had finally made the big leagues, we were getting paid to perform and we had fans there to watch us sweat and do what we think we do best. Those few dollars and that rush of performing for a group of people who wanted to be there pushed us to do things we never thought possible: we hosted a music festival, we performed at bigger venues, and we did a national tour. Through all these accomplishments and milestones, we never forgot that first show at Super Happy Fun Land, and we kept going back for more, even filming our music video there for “Witching Hour”, the lead single off our sophomore album Nevermore.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am the singer, guitarist, and songwriter of 3 Exits to Hattiesburg. Along with these roles, I have always ensured 3 Exits did more than expected, meaning we have worked tirelessly to schedule our own shows, hash out our songs prior to studio time, and ensure that alongside rehearsals, we still have time to just have fun together as a band and as friends. As a band, we also make sure our merch is developed as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, that way we can ensure fans do not have to pay more than necessary for things like T-shirts, stickers, CDs, and other merch we have made along the way. We managed this with T-shirts by hand printing every single design in the kitchen of my old house in Houston. 3 Exits to Hattiesburg is by all accounts a joint effort, and giving more credit to one member and not another is not possible. We have all worked hard to go the extra mile with our music, and have brought that forward in different mediums. Having gone on tour in 2019 and gotten to see how our music affects fans in other parts of the country, we have managed to not lose sight of where we have taken ourselves, and we will continue to remember our beginning, embrace our middle, and ideally not find out what the end looks like for years to come.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
I think one thing a lot of people who have not worked in an artistic field misunderstand about those who do is that we are lazy or that making music or making visual art is a lot easier than working in another field. This is a misconception of which even I was originally guilty. I always felt, if 3 Exits could just make it into the mainstream, my life would be so much easier. Over the past six years, I have found out that being a musician is a full-time job, and putting my all into that could mean even more than a 40 hour work week. Through rehearsals, performances, writing, and sometimes ten-hour studio days, pursuing music has been equally as challenging as working full time. What I have found that still rings true from my prior misconception regarding life as a musician, is that maybe instead of an easier life, it would be a happier life. Pursuing a passion project has been anything but easy, but that’s exactly what makes it so fulfilling.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
There are a lot of things society can do to support artists, but I think the most important thing to do is appreciate art that fits your taste. There is an entire world of artists out there, and sometimes you just have to do a little digging to find them. Find a local venue, find a local art gallery, or just go check out a local festival and meet some people in your art or music scene. We have always had the benefit of working closely with musicians in our area and seeing what a good and a bad crowd is. We were astounded by touring, and in doing so, finding the differences in music scenes in different regions of the country. It’s always incredible to see just how much art is reflective of the artist’s surroundings. After seeing that and experiencing the support these scenes provided to us, kids in a band traveling from Texas, we definitely found that just going and seeing what is out there is the most important step to creating a better environment for artists of all backgrounds.
- Website: https://3exitstohattiesburg.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/3exitstohattiesburg/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3exitstohattiesburg/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsEGVfj4i4PHQqEeQG3KqQw
- Other: Store: https://3exitstohattiesburg.com/store Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7txoMt9OlGaC1eb5BLyDcx?si=FDJibcqUT_ioy-EbTJGFSg Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/3-exits-to-hattiesburg/1266046107
Sophia Whitewater Fidencio Dapretta