Ben Lee On Ninajirachi Collab 'Tuck Shop'

1 June 2023 | 9:17 am | Mary Varvaris

“It was so cool making this, we had totally different musical touchstones but found a common vibe and musical language to play with."

Ben Lee & Ninajirachi

Ben Lee & Ninajirachi (Credit: Byron Spencer & Kurt Johnson)

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Ben Lee has joined forces with EDM star and producer Ninajirachi for a new track, Tuck Shop. To celebrate its release, he shared the story behind the track’s origins with the pair's audiences.

A few months ago, Ben Lee and his wife, Ione Skye Lee, hosted a mini-rave at home with Ninajirachi on the decks.

“I was so blown away by Nina’s vibe and talent that I texted her the next day and asked if she wanted to go into the studio and make something together,” Lee wrote on social media yesterday (31 May). A few days later, the pair met with no ideas, but by the end of that day, they had a fully produced song in Tuck Shop.

Lee explained, “For the non-Aussies, a tuck shop is the school cafeteria/snack shop, but in this song it’s a symbol of teen loneliness and isolation, and this song is about how those experiences create resilience and courage… Working with Nina was a dream. I reckon she is one of the best writer/producers out there and is destined for huge things.”

He then compared guitar wizard Steve Vai to Ninajirachi, stating, “She shreds on Ableton like Steve Vai shreds on an Ibanez. Pure magic.

“It was so cool making this, we had totally different musical touchstones but found a common vibe and musical language to play with. Check it out!!!” Lee has self-released the track, which you can hear below via Spotify and watch the lyric video.

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“You can also hear more about the creation of this song on today’s Weirder Together pod episode ‘I Tried To Stage Dive But No One Caught Me’ (referring to my experience seeing Hoodoo Gurus in LA last week lol),” Lee added. “Love ya Nina you’re a total rockstar. Also big love to Off Menu Andy for the single cover and visualizer and Hans DeKline for mastering.”

Last month, Ben Lee called for the unionisation of musicians and songwriters, tweeting, “How different would the music industry be if musicians and songwriters were able to unionize and strike as effectively as screenwriters when our incomes came under threat?”

His tweet came as the Writer’s Guild Of America (WGA) went on strike, protesting against streaming services' residual income and the emergence of AI in writer’s rooms. Lee’s post clearly hit a nerve, with one user quickly responding, “Streaming residuals is truly insane. You shouldn't have to be Taylor Swift to make a living as a musician.”