Benjamin Kheng and Evan Low on Meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, Collaborating Together, and Using Logic Pro on Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks exclusively with ELLE Singapore on meeting the Singaporean musicians, and how they inspire him.
Published: April 19, 2024
Benjamin Kheng and Evan Low on Meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, Collaborating Together, and Using Logic Pro on Mac
Photo: Courtesy of Apple

Benjamin Kheng has come a long way from his days as one-fourth of Singapore’s arguably most successful music groups, The Sam Willows. For starters, he got married, became an actor, and has created a niche for himself in the island city’s content creator space. He’s also a considerably successful solo musician—but he didn’t get there alone. Enter Evan Low, who goes by the mononym Evanturetime, an award-winning music producer and director. He's also the regional manager of Warner Music Asia’s artists and repertoire department, who happens to be working with Kheng for the better part of a decade.

Their journey began while Kheng was still with his band, and Low was the sessionist for one of their sets. Fast forward a decade, numerous collaborations, video game sessions, and kopi meet-ups later, Kheng and Low have developed a special working relationship founded on mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s craft. While interviewing the two, who were riffing off each other and making inside jokes, it was clear to everyone in the room that they were friends first.

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Benjamin Kheng and Evan Low on Meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, Collaborating Together, and Using Logic Pro on Mac
Photo: Courtesy of Apple

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Last evening, both musicians were invited to host a live session at Apple’s Marina Bay Sands store where they performed four songs and shared their workflow using Logic Pro on Mac. Hosted by longtime Apple user Rozz Lee, the event was made more memorable when Tim Cook, Apple CEO made a special appearance

Speaking exclusively with ELLE Singapore, Cook shares: “It’s incredibly inspiring. Our whole gig in life is to produce great products that enrich people’s lives and then empower them to create things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Hearing that they use Logic Pro in this way to build something complex using stock plug-ins and sounds makes my heart sing. We were listening to Ben’s music last night and to think that we enabled some of that work is really very special.”

Prior to their performance, Kheng and Low had the opportunity to speak with Cook and share how they use Logic Pro and Apple products to augment their music-making process. “He was very present, and listened intently to what we had to say,” Kheng shares, with Low nodding in agreement.

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Benjamin Kheng and Evan Low on Meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, Collaborating Together, and Using Logic Pro on Mac
Photo: Courtesy of Apple

Ahead, Kheng and Low discuss the evolution of music production, how Logic Pro streamlines this process, the importance of developing a habit of writing regularly, how epiphanies in the shower can lead to great songs and which industry legends they’d love to collaborate with and more.

Tell us about your experience using Logic Pro on Mac, and how it streamlines the music making process. 

Benjamin Kheng: Literally everything!

Evan Low: Logic Pro and the way the user interface is designed makes it an extension of us. It doesn’t impede our creative process, rather it has shortcuts and quick access tools that allow us to create what we want to, when we want to, without any hassle. It’s quite intuitive, which allows us for a fluid workflow. It’s definitely one of its biggest strengths. 

BK: It’s so true because it’s so ‘chicken and egg’ with the industry at large—the software informs how musicians make music. But at the same time, it’s also a reaction to the trends. For example, back in the mid 2000s, pop punk was a really big genre followed by electronic pop and hip hop. Musicians needed quick access to instruments when they had to cut a song. You don’t have time to hire a drummer from out of state, and with Logic Pro, you don’t need to. You can literally cut a well-mastered song and put it up on Apple Music right away. 

EL: And the quality is vouched for. If I recall correctly, the drum loop samples of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” is called Vintage Kit 03. It’s right out of the app, and it’s free. 

Benjamin Kheng and Evan Low on Meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, Collaborating Together, and Using Logic Pro on Mac
Photo: Courtesy of Apple

What is your creative process like? What comes first?

BK: If you pigeonhole yourself into thinking that the music or lyrics must come first, then you’re doing yourself a disservice as a creative. I think it needs to be very fluid and organic. Some of the best artists write in the shower.

It could also just be like a very strong idea that comes to your head that doesn't have words, melody or arrangement. For instance: I want to sing about a cloud and what it means to me. This is enough to spawn all the ideas, but if you put yourself in a box where the music must come first, you will never get that other inspiration. So that's why you shouldn't develop just one line of creation.

So in short, inspiration comes first. Where do you get yours?

EL: I'm quite affected by a few pillars of songwriting. For example, my focus on a particular day might be the lyrics, melody, or just a certain object like a cloud. And I would just try to be sensitive to that in the day, and see where that pulls me into. So I think I have little things I'll force myself to lean into. So I can be more sensitive towards a certain topic or feeling in mind. That really helps me.

BK: I think the key is to always be open. It’s very easy to be in cruise control sometimes. If you live your life being receptive to information and not being judgmental, it opens up a whole new source for creativity. It’s just about being curious, but also disciplined. If you set an alarm to wake up at a certain time every morning to write, you’re going to be really good at it. So it’s also about developing good habits.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

EL: I think the focus should be on creating a piece that's authentic to what you want to say and what you're feeling at the moment. And I think with the tools in Logic Pro and GarageBand, in both the MacBook and iPad versions, are enough for you to be able to freely express yourself quite easily. 

BK: I’ll actually say that your goal is to just get out there and fail. Make mistakes and try until you figure out what works for you. You can be inspired, but don’t try to emulate somebody else. Be bold in making those mistakes. 

If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

EL: I would love to work with Quincy Jones. After watching The Greatest Night in Pop (2024), I want to see how he works. 

BK: I really look up to Donald Glover. What he has accomplished in his career is inspiring—not just in the music space, but as an artist and creative. It would be really fun. Just put me in a room with him. 

What’s next?

BK: What we can legally say is that we have a song together coming out in May. And then this guy is jetting off to be a global superstar. 

EL: I’ll be assisting a global superstar, not being a global superstar. I’ll be on tour with A-Mei (Taiwanese singer and record producer), and be working on some arrangements as part of her band. Then I’ll be back working on songs with Ben and a few other artists.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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