14 May Benbrick: A BNM Exclusive Interview and Single Premiere
‘I find it hard to put anything over what you and I had’
Wham! A double dose of exclusive today, coming to you from the rapidly rising artist from the UK, Benbrick. We first gave you a bit of “Forever Holding On” back in March, but today is an epic inside that’s been in the works for months.
Not only do we have a one on one with Benbrick AKA Paul Carter, but he’s also chosen us to premiere his second single off of his forthcoming debut EP Closer | Closure. Sorry, did I also mention he’s complemented this release with a striking new visual arrangement? “And So She Runs” is a mix of organic and modern sounds twisted upon a dreamlike soundscape. I’m fixated on Ben’s haunting vocals and eerie production, as well as his extremely artistic approach to the video.
Benbrick says the EP is “mixed by the guy behind Faithless, and mastered by the guy behind James Blake,” which is a phrase you can’t hide from. He seems to have a clear plan for what he wants, and I’m sure with the coming of the iTunes release we’ll see exactly what’s behind the magic.
As a producer, Benbrick has been working with Luke Pickett who’s music has been featured in Vibe and EARMILK. The track in VIBE (Wasted Dreams) was actually co-written and produced by Paul. But before I give you too much information, let’s hear that new single:
“And So She Runs”
Paul Carter AKA Benbrick! So glad we could do this. First, let’s take a dive into your musical background. Can you give us a vivid description of your first memory with music?
My first memory of music is of George Harrison – Cloud 9. I was going on a summer holiday with my family, it was a sunny day, we were driving down to the coast with Cloud 9 on repeat. It was a tape that my brother had picked up somewhere. We were listening and singing along… then it would end and we’d wait a minute or two… and put it straight back on. I remember that my dad chucked the tape out of the window because he was sick of hearing it!
What are your top 5 music influences, and why?
- The Beatles
- The writer Goethe – I’ve been reading a lot of his stuff over the last few years. (Okay, he’s not a musician, but he’s good!)
- Chopin / Debussy / Erik Satie / Schubert – a few of many classical (romantic era) composers that floor me every time.
- Eminem / Drake / Kendrick / Kanye – innovators.
- Vangelis – this guy is the ultimate genius. His Blade Runner soundtrack is probably one of the best things I’ve ever heard.
If you could sum up your style to our fans in one sentence, what would you say?
We first came together back when I wrote about your song “Forever” on EARMILK. How have listeners reacted to your first release?
I’ve had a really good reaction to it. I’ve uploaded songs for a few years under the name Benbrick, but I don’t think I was an artist until this release. This is the first thing I’ve really loved. I filmed the video in America earlier this year and that’s also had a cool reaction. It was the first time I’d shot a video, I made it harder by having to shoot most of it in reverse – I’d shoot a scene, send it to my Instagram (@Benbrick), then shoot the scene before where I open up my Instagram and start watching the next scene… Did that make sense?! Go and watch it and it should!
Today we not only have the pleasure to display more about your personally, but we also have a premiere of “And So She Runs”. How will this serve as a first impression of your upcoming debut EP Closer | Closure?
It’s a great first track for someone that is just hearing about my music. Lyrically it sums up the whole EP – it’s the last track on a record where I move between wanting the girl closer to me, and wanting closure from her. This track kinda says ‘whatever, it didn’t work out, but I still think about you’. Musically it’s a good representation of me too – about half of the song is just music, which I like in a totally indulgent way. I think it shows that my project is not all about verse – chorus – verse – chorus. I felt when I was writing the lyric that I’d said all I needed to say after ‘I find it hard to put anything over what you and I had’ and so I just moved to music for the rest of the track.
I saw that on your site, the tagline for your EP reads: “1 Girl. 6 Songs. 21 Months to create. 24 Minutes to explain.” Obviously we have multiple questions. First, the most obvious, who is the girl?
The girl was the first time I’d been in love and it’s about our relationship and the subsequent break up. The lyrics are very revealing – when I play the record to people they seem to be struck by how honest/sad it is. The first time I played it to my dad I think his first comment was that it was depressing. Well, it was a pretty uncomfortable experience for me too – I’ve tried to get that feeling in to the music – so it should be uncomfortable to listen to! Sometimes people hear it and say like ‘ahh poor you’ like I’m reliving it groundhog day style. I was for a while, obviously, but as it says this is 21 months on, plus all the time it took to create the videos etc. I’m in a totally different head space right now. It’s the same as any record about an experience like this. Kanye is probably not thinking about the girl that he was writing about in 808’s & Heartbreak. I guess at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who the other person is, it’s what they made you feel.
Second, what are you looking to explain in that short 24-minute time span?
It’s just everything that I felt whilst I was with her, but didn’t get the chance to say. It’s everything (positive and negative) that she made me feel, and the things I didn’t bring up afterwards because it would be too late to (as the lyric in And So She Runs goes) “dwell on insecurities” – especially when I knew that she had no intention to listen. When I started making it I thought I’d giver her the finished copy – you know – go and buy and envelope and put it in the post without the need for a note because everything would be enclosed in the lyric. The thing is, like I said above, at some point you realise you are over that and you don’t need it anymore. In Reckless I sing ‘She’s felt love, and she’s watched it go, but she didn’t want to hurt no one’ – It’s not all negative about her. I get it – we’re all learning and changing. But as Gotye says ‘you didn’t have to cut me off!
Where does visual art come into play with your releases? We totally dig the kind of artistic nature you bring to each one.
Thank you. I love putting music to visuals because it’s another way to help describe the story. In Forever Holding On I had the girl flashing in and out of the shot over the lyric ‘I’m Forever holding on to you’ as if she’s there and I’m seeing her everywhere I go, but in fact it’s just a memory. To be totally honest, these days creating videos for your music is something you have to do. You have to hit with multiple pieces of content to try and keep people engaged (unless you’re with a major then they’ll just buy you a load of plays – which is totally counter intuitive). My video performing Sakura Nagashi has almost 400 000 views on YouTube now – making something new for those people that are already engaged (specifically on YouTube) is super important too. Having said that, even when it’s about business, it has to be about art primarily. I want everything to look great.
I believe that your music would be a great complement to film. Not only that, but also as a good alternative addition to any label. If you could choose one movie to redo the score to, what would it be and why?
You mean removing the original score and starting again? That’s tough. I’m actually listening to Ennio Morricone – Cinema Paradiso whilst typing this. Ennio is the man! I’m really into the stuff that Randy Newman makes too. I was actually stood outside his manager’s office in Hollywood – wondering if I should go in and try and connect. I didn’t – I think people find you at the right time. Everyone is caught up in the bullshit game of ‘I’m an amazing artist man, listen to my work’. Honestly, I think that stuff is annoying. I just want to concentrate on what I’m making. I guess my answer (sorry, I was rambling!) is something Disney. I’m going to say Disney’s Up. That was a beautiful score, but I’d like to take a go myself!
As always here at Brightside, we strive to connect independent artists to bigger paths. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you make it much further in 2014. Do you see yourself being picked up by a label?
Thank you! At the moment I’m really enjoying creating music, creating videos, reaching out to blogs. I don’t want to have to compromise – but I’m aware that teaming up with the right label could flip the project. I’m thinking more about indie labels though – someone that has the time to dedicate to building something great. It’s about more than just playing some shows around London, you know? It feels like a good time to be creating music – the power is in your hands to get it in front of lots of people. As labels are moving to subscription and streaming instead of CD sales it’s more important than ever to know exactly what the label is going to deliver. I think I’m probably just quite picky! Haha
Before we wrap this up, give us your “day in the life” of Benbrick…
I’ve got a studio in London that I work from every day. Most of the time I’m coming up with ideas and putting them down on voice recorder (on my phone). I’ll start tracks on the piano. Some of the time I’ll be in with other artists too – recently I’ve been working with George The Poet who’s also featured on my EP. If I’m on my own I’ll work till I get hungry – go down to the cafe – get frustrated at the size of the queue – and go back to work. I’ll normally try to walk around London a bit too- that’s when most of the ideas come together. I love it when it gets to midnight and everyone has left the studios around me, and I can completely be free with my ideas, without the fear that other people are in the vicinity. When I work late I normally end up sleeping at my studio. It’s a 24 hour experience every day!
And finally, what is your Brightside? That is, what inspires you to make music?
I’m inspired by the moon and the stars on a cold winters night when it’s pitch black and you decide to get out of the taxi a mile from your house so you can be alone in that moment.