• Maz speaks to Ben Howard tonight on XFM. They caught up before Ben’s headline show at Hackney Empire this week so tune in from 10pm GMT or listen online here: www.xfm.co.uk/london/radio/player/#screen_on-air 

    Maz speaks to Ben Howard tonight on XFM. They caught up before Ben’s headline show at Hackney Empire this week so tune in from 10pm GMT or listen online here: www.xfm.co.uk/london/radio/player/#screen_on-air 

  • BEN HOWARD: I’M WORRIED MY SECOND ALBUM WILL BE “HARD GOING” AT GIGS

    5th September 2014, 11:39

    Ben Howard has admitted to XFM that he’s worried about how fans will react to his upcoming new album I Forget Where We Were, describing it as “almost too serious”.

    Ben Howard

    Speaking to XFM’s Maz ahead of his show at Hackney Empire last night Ben joked that he thought that people might walk out when faced with a new material filled set.

    "I think we’ve got such an eclectic bunch of people that listen to the shows and we’ve been really fortunate, the tickets sell really quickly, so you never know who those tickets go to," he told Maz.

    "I think some people might be quite confused by it, I don’t think anyone realises that we’re not going to play any of the old stuff so that’s maybe why I think people might just go ‘well, this is a bit loud and and a bit grand.’ 

    "It’s definitely a bit grander, it’s quite hard going some of it as well. I laugh because it’s almost too serious, the record."

    I Forget Where We Were is released on 20 October 2014 and was produced by Ben and his drummer Chris Bond at Start Point Farm Studios in Devon.
     
    Ben admitted the record’s “grand” sound came from working with what they had.

    "There’s a lot of guitars on the record. We’ve tried to make really grand music but with guitars just because we didn’t have an orchestra to hand, we were in the middle of nowhere and it was just us and it was like - how do we make that move over there without an orchestra or anything like that? It’s definitely grand."

    You can hear the full interview with Ben Howard on this Sunday’sCommunion Presents from 10pm.

  • Ben Howard

    Ben Howard

    (Source: BBC)

  • THE INTERVIEW: BEN HOWARD

    lovetoleave:

    Published on 28 August 2014

    It’s been three years since Ben Howard’s first album, Every Kingdom, a debut album that saw every one of its singles A-listed by Radio One and that won him two Brit Awards, best British male and best British breakthrough. Yet despite these accolades it is clear from…

    (Source: hungertv.com)

  • Ben Howard: ‘The more attention I got, the less I wanted it’

    Ben Howard, a shy surfer boy from Devon, went from writing confessional ditties in his bedroom to winning two Brit Awards, selling out stadiums and wooing thousands of hysterical teenage fans along the way. It’s all good, he tells Joshi Herrmann, just don’t compare him to Ed Sheeran

    image

    Updated: 10:44, 29 August 2014

    The impression that Ben Howard burst out of nowhere withEvery Kingdom, his Mercury-nominated debut album of acoustic, soul-baring folk ballads, is not right — and it’s important to him that we know that. Certainly no one in 2011, when it was released, expected it to sell 600,000 copies in the UK, a million globally and rise to fourth in the album charts a week after its softly spoken creator stunned the boozy crowd at the 2013 Brits by winning the awards for British breakthrough act and male solo artist.

    But everything about the 27-year-old Howard, from his artistic self-worth to his contempt for the fame-obsessed prima donna types he meets backstage at festivals, rests on the notion that he won his success the hard way, the traditional way; gigging relentlessly, in his case to crowds of fellow surfers in Devon and across Europe. His best-known songs, such as the top-ten hit ‘Only Love’, and ‘Keep Your Head Up’, weren’t known to the nation overnight on the whim of Simon Cowell, but were slow-burners, loved by the crowds at the intimate shows he played around the world (his first album charted even higher in the Netherlands and Belgium than it did in the UK).

    He’s known to be less gentle in person than he seems cooing in his distinctive breathy voice behind the microphone. He doesn’t give many interviews and those he does tend to mention that he can be irrit-able and defensive and prone to going on rants about other musicians and his critics. Two years ago, one unfortunate interviewer mentioned an article about ‘beige pop’ that suggested the Mumford-Adele-Sheeran wave in British music that he is part of was a bit on the boring side. ‘I couldn’t give a f*** what he says,’ said Howard.

    Before we meet, in the restaurant of the Soho Hotel, he first has a quick fag outside ‘to chill out’ and then, suitably relaxed, sits down at our corner table, smiling agreeably. Shyly radiant in black jeans and a faded surfer T-shirt, he looks like a striking wetsuit model, or a hard-to-read hunk on Home and Away. Everything he says is accompanied by the hallmarks of a guy who has earned his money through introspection: studied pauses, lengthy looks into the distance, expressive facial twists. His measured responses couldn’t be more different from the hysterical tweets, mainly from his teenage fanbase, that greeted the announcement of his long-awaited run of gigs next month (Hackney Empire, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris). One tweet wailed: ‘I don’t think my mum understands the importance of getting Ben Howard tickets, like if I don’t get them, I will cry forever.’ ‘I am so happy yet so worried about not getting tickets that I want to vomit but cry because of Ben Howard,’ panted another.

    I was present at two of his biggest festival appearances: first in an acoustic tent at Bestival in 2012 and then in a packed-out afternoon slot on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury last year (he was on shortly before the Rolling Stones). But in the year since, his crowd has become notably more One Direction. ‘I’ve been very fortunate that the screaming girls haven’t put off the guys at the back, who are still listening,’ says Howard, referring to the dramatic change of fanbase he’s experienced in a short space of time. ‘It’s flattering. It’s nice to be the centre of attention among many women.’ He admits it ‘instantly puts a strain on any relationship’, but adds that his long-term girlfriend ‘deals with it pretty well’.

    Howard grew up ‘in the doldrums of Middlesex’ and went to primary school in Richmond. Living right under the Heathrow flight path, he remembers standing at the end of the garden with his mother, a jeweller, and his older sister Krysia, waving up at his architect father when he was returning from business trips. ‘I don’t have any contact with any friends from when I was younger,’ Howard says, though he recalls happy trips along the Thames, where it bends around Richmond and Isleworth. When he was eight, his parents moved to Devon, close to Totnes, an outpost of free-thinking and hippie localism in the West Country.

    By age 11 he was writing love songs, jamming with his sister and her friend India Bourne on cello. (Bourne remains one of Howard’s full-time collaborators, singing harmonies, playing bass and helping out with percussion.) A well-received first open-mic gig in Totnes set them on their way. Throughout secondary school, music was Howard’s full-time hobby and by the time he started at University College Falmouth in Cornwall, it had become his main priority — he quit his journalism course after six months and never looked back.

    Ben HowardJumper, £290, Lou Dalton at liberty.co.uk.Grandad-collar shirt, £55, COS (cosstores.com)A month of sold-out gigs across Europe in 2011 landed him every musician’s dream: a record deal with the label of his heroes, Island Records, which had first signed Howard’s inspiration John Martyn, at the age of 19, in 1967. Howard’s parents were big music fans, who introduced their children early on to singer-songwriters such as Martyn, Van Morrison and Simon & Garfunkel. His other musical heroes include Neil Young — Howard admires his ‘fierceness’, but doesn’t want to get political himself until he’s got his message straight. ‘We live in a modern world and yet there are fewer people who own everything,’ he says, when pressed for an insight into his politics. ‘I kind of shy away from it because you’ve got to be very clear about what you want to say.’

    Some would bracket Howard with the other twenty-something male British breakthroughs of the past few years, such as Ed Sheeran or Tom Odell. I ask if he gets on with that crowd; they presumably meet backstage at festivals and award shows. ‘I was talking to a friend in the pub last night and saying that it’s interesting that we’ve never really been a part of any scene,’ he says. ‘I keep out of the way. I find it funny how at British festivals there are such inflated egos. It’s rare that I even talk to anyone at a lot of them. You see people throwing their toys out of the pram. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of arrogance, because it’s show-business, but when everyone around them is catering for their needs and they’re still trying to be this larger-than-life character, you just think: “You could be normal in this scenario.” ’

    As if to prove his anti-music-business credentials, Howard’s first songs were recorded in a converted barn in Devon and he has just bought his first house, in Totnes, near the sea, which he shares with a couple of housemates. He’s been with his girlfriend — whom he refuses to name — for over a year now. ‘It’s kind of really important for me at the moment because everything is quite chaotic,’ he explains. ‘It’s nice when you can find someone who understands.’

    Earlier this month, he announced the title of his second album, I Forget Where We Were, on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show. Out this autumn, it’s less pop-like and more eclectic than Every Kingdom. Its sonically grander, more complex sound almost seems to say: ‘Not for teenagers.’ ‘One of the main themes is anxiety,’ he explains. ‘The past couple of years I was drinking a lot and I obviously had a lot of attention as well, so it was quite nice to go away and write a record just drawing on what I was feeling [about that]. I was quite anxious about a lot of things, so that’s kind of really pushed itself to the forefront in a few of the songs.’ No alcohol is ordered during our meeting — it’s mid-morning, after all — but still, I ask if his drinking has been a problem, recalling that in one past interview the journalist noted that Howard was on his third whisky before 3pm. ‘It’s never been a problem,’ he says. ‘It’s not a big deal; it’s just something you do on tour and stuff. It’s not like any sort of dependency or anything. I’ve been quite fortunate that I live where I do and I’ve got friends that I have, so it’s never something that’s dictated my life.’

    Howard is a confessional singer whose songs sometimes border on self-help: ‘Keep your head up/keep your heart strong’; ‘I will become what I deserve.’ ‘I just write about myself all the time, which is a funny one, because I don’t really like sharing much stuff with other people, apart from music,’ he says. It’s where the intense connection to the thousands of anguished kids comes from, but I wonder if it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Can singing about heartache sometimes beget more? ‘It’s all very personal, sometimes I wonder whether it’s too personal,’ he says. ‘I think you have to be very conscious to save something for yourself, that’s one of the most important things anyone has ever said to me. It was an ex-girlfriend of mine and it’s the line from a John Martyn tune as well.’ He sings hastily, under his breath, so our fellow late-breakfasters can’t hear: ‘Cos I saved some/You didn’t get it all.’ Learning that lesson means there are some songs that will never see the light of day. ‘I didn’t record a couple of songs on this album because they were too much,’ he says. ‘There’s definitely a line you’ve got to take. About family and stuff. It was just something I didn’t want to share.’

    Ben HowardBomber jacket, £1,025, Alexander McQueen at liberty.co.uk. Jumper, £650, Dior Homme (020 7172 0172). Trousers, £250, Burberry Prorsum (burberry.com). Trainers, £265, Common Projects at mrporter.comHearing that, my mind turns to a highly shared fan post on Tumblr, which makes the unlikely claim that many of his songs are inspired by the claimed suicide of a long-term girlfriend (lines are quoted from ‘Follaton Wood’: ‘Still don’t, don’t you forget/That rope you tied around your neck’; ‘And it took them three days to find you/tired torch lights and dog scents/Oh they led you down from the highest branches/Cold eyes and frozen arms’). It’s something he has never spoken about. After a long pause, he answers uncertainly, ‘No. I think there’s a lot of stuff…’ his voice trails off. ‘People will figure out the strangest things, but I’m quite happy to let people follow their imaginations.’ It’s obviously something he’s heard before. ‘I’ve heard it [the imagined suicide] talked about. It’s not true in the truest sense — I don’t think any ex-girlfriends have committed suicide,’ he says. ‘But I like the freedom people have with songs, the fact that someone will spend the time going through them. But I don’t think it’s mine to deal with, you know?’

    For all that, he admits that the process of growing famous on the back of baring his soul turned a ‘fairly extrovert’ kid into a shy star. ‘I meet a lot of people who are awkward around me now. I was always embarrassed about that; the more attention I got, the less I wanted it and the more it would manifest in a physical way and I would be hunched over about it. I’m just starting to realise now that it’s not my problem, it’s somebody else’s problem. And that’s OK.’

    Howard’s new album I Forget Where We Were is released by Island Records on 20 October. Photographs by Tomo Brejc (tomobrejc.com). Shot on location at Sounds of the Universe Record Store, 7 Broadwick Street, W1 (soundsoftheuniverse.com)

  • (Source: alecsh-turnah)

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  • Ben Howard on XFM on Album number 2

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