Category Archives: interview

Frank Turner Discusses Opening For Mineral, Musical Influences, and Which Band He Would Love to See Live

by Vasilis

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Many music fans have a hard time picturing their favorite musicians as music fans themselves. We tend to put these artists on a pedestal and imagine them as rock stars who are above the sort of idol worship that we often demonstrate. However, contrary to that belief, these musicians are no different than us; they love the art of music and grew up admiring a wide ranger of musicians who often became the foundation which helped inspire them to create their music. That feeling doesn’t just go away once a musician becomes popular or well-known. It’s this beautiful cycle that allows the music we connect with so deeply to be created, to continue to influence future musicians who create music that influences a whole new generation, and it’s a wonderful thing to watch. Frank Turner is a musicians who completely shatters the false belief of musicians as being above the fans. Frank conducts himself in a very honest and open manner with his audience; he is just a guy who makes music for a living, one who builds a strong connection with his fans through his lyrics and approachable personality.

Frank is also not one to shy away from the music that inspired him. At shows, he can often be heard covering anyone from Blink-182 to Bruce Springsteen (his “Thunder Road” cover is a staple at his New York City shows). Frank has also made it known that he is a huge fan of 90’s emo group Mineral, whom he described as one of his very “favourite, foundational bands”. When Mineral announced their reunion tour earlier this year, Frank did what any fan would do when presented with a rare opportunity to see such an influential, once-dead band: he bought tickets to their New York City performances and planned a trip without a moment’s hesitation. I was instantly fascinated by his own connection to the band and found it refreshing to see one of my favorite musicians speak so highly of one of his and demonstrate such unbridled passion for their work.

On top of flying out to New York City to catch some of their shows (their first full tour in 17 years), Frank also opened for the first of show. We reached out to Frank Turner via email to ask him about his experience opening up for Mineral last Thursday at St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Frank was kind enough to answer our questions and provide some insight into his experience, some of his other big influences, and which band he would love to see live if given the opportunity. You can check out a full review of the show on Noisey’s blog, as well as Frank’s first-hand experience of the show.

Lyrically Addicted: Thank you for talking the time to speak with us Frank. You called Mineral’s sophomore (and final) album EndSerenading “near-perfect” on Noisey’s blog. Was there any one particular song on that album (or by the band in general) that made you go “wow” on first listen or that really made you connect so strongly with their work?

Frank Turner: Yes, the song “&Serenading”. I remember being a little confused by the record at first (I was about 16), but when that song kicked in, with the chorus line about symphonies in seashells, I was pretty blown away. Once the ice cracked like that, I fell for the rest of the record very quickly.

LA: You had the unique opportunity of opening for a band that meant so much to you on their reunion tour. Can you briefly describe what the experience was like and why you decided to play a set of new songs.

Frank: It was a great experience, one for the obituary. I was pretty jet-lagged and had a nasty cold, so perhaps not on my best form, but I enjoyed the expeirence. I thought I’d play new stuff because I’m working on a new record right now and no one bought tickets to see me play, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try some new stuff out in a live setting.

LA: Was there any particular aspect of Mineral’s music (lyrics, guitar tones, etc.) that really influenced your current sound?

Frank: The whole way Chris [Simpson] sings and writes is a huge influence to me now – the way he uses his voice, both in the physical sense and int he literary sense. I still think that’s probably the biggest influence on me in that area. I also love the production on the second record, I think Mark Trombino’s drum sounds are pretty foundational.

LA: Are there any other bands from the mid-90’s emo era that influenced your music?

Frank: I listened to a bunch of that stuff – Jimmy Eat Wrold, The Promise Ring, Christie front Drive, and so on. Mineral were far and away my favorite of the bunch, but I still listened to a fair amount of Jimmy Eat World.

LA: If you could attend a hypothetical reunion tour for one “dead” band you never had the chance to see live, who would it be?

Frank: Nirvana, circa early 1993.

Thank you to Frank Turner for taking the time to answer our questions. You can catch Frank Turner on the road with Koo Koo Kangaroo in the UK starting Thursday, September 11 in Norwich. For a full list of Frank’s tour dates, go to frank-turner.com/live-gigs. Frank Turner is expected to release his upcoming sixth studio record in early 2015. Mineral continue their reunion tour, which ends in Austin Texas in November, before hitting the United Kingdom in early 2015. You can also check out a full review of Mineral’s Bowery Ballroom show in New York City on our blog.

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Beans plays Boston: Beans on Toast at O’Briens Pub 3-4-14

By Cherie

I learned two things last week.

The first lesson I learned was to never take public transportation to an interview. Your bus will have a broken alternator belt and be delayed more than a half an hour. Then your red line train will, of course, be delayed another half an hour or so because it gets stuck behind a disabled train. And to top it off when you transfer to the green line you will, naturally, be so stressed and frazzled that you’ll end up getting on the wrong train and have to back track (I have no excuse for this one, I mean the trains are clearly labeled, yet somehow I hopped onto the D train instead of the B).

The second thing I learned was that Beans on Toast, aka Jay, is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Playing gigs is what Jay was meant to do. He’s a people person, equally at ease meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. He’ll buy you a drink without even thinking twice about it, that’s just the kind of guy he is. Tipping baffles him, at least when it comes to tipping in America that is. His confusion can be explained by the fact that he’s a long way from home; Jay is the man behind Beans on Toast, a British musician who somewhat jokingly calls himself a drunken folk singer. He’s put out five albums to date, the most recent of which, Giving Everything, was released just last December. This is first proper US tour as a headliner, and I got the chance to meet him when he kicked off the tour in Boston last week.

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When I finally got to the pub and introduced myself to Jay, a full two and a half hours after I was originally supposed to meet him, the first thing he said to me was “you’re late!” He then followed up with “if the girl who emailed me because she wanted to interview me was late I was worried no one was going to show up!” The show was at O’Briens, a small pub located in Alston, and was an ideal location for the show. The crowd was small but loyal, singing along to old and new songs alike. Jay’s set was informal and felt more like a living room show than anything. Ditching his shoes and socks, Jay instantly made himself at home on stage. There was no planned set list, and Jay asked the crowd several times if they had any requests, prompting him to play M.D.M.Amazing and an older song that he forgot the words to and gave up on halfway through. His set was interspersed with hilarious anecdotes and made up words, keeping the crowd in stitches for most of the show.

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Afterwards I got a chance to chat with Jay for a bit. At one point I asked him to tell me a little bit about his first album, Standing on a Chair, which is a fifty song record and has guest vocals from Emmy the Great, Frank Turner, the Holloways, and Mumford and Songs, among others. Jay revealed that doing a record in the first place had never really been his intention. “I was touring at the time and my label approached me about doing an album. I said I wanted to do a double CD, that was the only thing I wanted and they came back and said it wasn’t going to make any money.” Jay pauses for a second, before laughing, “and they were right; it loses money every day.” Jay didn’t seem to be too upset by the idea though. Playing shows is what he loves to do most, and as long as a couple of people show up each night he’s happy to play for them.

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Seeing Jay perform and seeing how much he loves what he does was truly an inspiring experience. What matters most in life is that you love what you do and I can’t think of anyone who embodies this spirit better than Jay.

You can check Jay while he tours the US for the remainder of March before heading home to England.

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Also be sure to check out his latest record, Giving Everything, available now on iTunes or through XtraMile Recordings.

 

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An Inteview with Mike Hansen (Pentimento)

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by Vasilis

Pentimento are no strangers to The Studio at Webster Hall. The Buffalo punk band (who were featured as our “Band of the Week” in November 2013) opened for Reggie and the Full Effect on February 20, marking the third time they’ve played the downtown New York venue since December 2012. The band made the most of their half-hour set in front of the sold-out crowd, tearing through their setlist with a high level of passion and precision. The 8-song set included cuts from their Inside the Sea EP (It’s Okay, Any Minute Now…, Just Friends), their Wrecked EP (The Bridge), and their Self-Titled debut LP (Unless, Circles, The Wind, Almost Atlantic).

After the show, drummer/lyricist Mike Hansen was kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes to discuss the band’s experience on their current tour, their relationship with their fans, the album that changed his life, and which band he would love to tour with.

Lyrically Addicted: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Can you just say your name and what you do in the band?

Mike Hansen: Sure, my name is Mike Hansen and I play drums for Pentimento.

LA: This is the third time I’ve seen Pentimento here in the past year and a half… you guys are originally from Buffalo New York, but do these shows here in New York City kind of feel like a hometown show?

Mike: You know what, New York City is actually a little bit further than most people think from Buffalo, but regardless New York City always treats us very very well, between all the times we’ve been here, especially last time with Real Friends, which was an incredible show. The support we receive in New York City is something that we never expected. It’s such a big place in a small area with a lot going on all the time, so we feel very lucky to have the amount of support that we have while we’re here.

LA: This is the last week of a five-week tour with Reggie and the Full Effect and Dads. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to be on this tour and what it’s been like touring with a veteran like James DeWees?

Mike: Oh yeah, I mean touring with Reggie has been great because those dudes have been around the block more than a few times, so it’s been awesome to just pick up their insight on the way that things work just from being in a small band to being a band their size. You know, James with the whole My Chemical Romance thing and The Get Up Kids has just offered us so much insight from songwriting to just the ways to present yourself as a band. It’s been an incredible learning experience. We got offered the tour and just took it right away; we were really really excited about it. I didn’t know too much about Reggie and the Full Effect before this tour and now I think we’re all pretty much in love with this dude and these guys and the band and everything. It’s been awesome.

LA: You guys probably have a lot of down time during the tour, what do you guys do to kill some time on the road?

Mike: Killing time on the road… that’s tough. I would say eating. Eating is probably the thing that we do the most.

LA: A little while ago, you guys put out your Inside The Sea EP. Could you tell me a little about how the recording and the process of releasing it differed from your self-titled album?

Mike: For this one, we were a lot less rehearsed than we normally would have been going into a recording session. We got the call about the Real Friends tour and decided it would be smart for us to have a release to support on that run. So we wanted to get it out as soon as we could; we went in there and it was a very urgent feeling, which is kind of exciting. I don’t want to say unprepared but we were unsure of the things that we’re normally sure of like guitar tones, vocal parts, things like that. We tried really hard to do it on the spot and what you hear is the product. It took us a very short amount of time to do these songs but we’re excited about the way they came out and the response has been awesome.

LA: I’ve noticed that a lot of your lyrics reference the elements, the seasons, and especially the sea and the ocean and things like that. Is it a conscious decision and what is it about the elements that drives your lyrics?

Mike: I think that a lot of what happens conceptually, lyric-wise, relates to the idea of water in a few different senses. There’s a lot about that particular feeling I get when I’m thinking about the ocean – we live right by a lake – things like that. I draw a lot of inspiration from that lyrically because the bodies of water I have come across have been a great source of metaphorical inspiration, I guess. I feel like when I’m looking out at it, it gives me the sense that just based on the sheer vastness of a body of water like that; it makes me feel so insignificant. But the fact that you’re there at all is something really special.I don’t know, I just take a lot away from being able to reflect when I’m there. Spending time near a body of water is something I really really enjoy to do, but I find a lot of inspiration there and the metaphors that are relating to that. It’s just the connection I have with that sort of thing, I guess.

LA: One of the first things I noticed about your band is how open and communicative you are with your fans. Do you think that’s important, especially in this scene, to kind of be that open and transparent with your fans?

Mike: Dude, it’s just who we are as people, and it’s very important for us to be as transparent as we can because we’re human beings, and everyone who is kind enough to support our band is also a human being, so we should be able to connect like that. The whole band being on one level and fans being on another level or whatever is just bullshit. Being open and honest and being able to communicate with the people who are kind enough to give a shit about what we’re doing is the very least we could ever possible do.

To me, especially in this day and age where everyone is on the internet, it’s important for us to uphold our rapport there. But I feel like there’s a lot of people who are searching for something real within that. Everything is just so digital, it’s so artificial at that point and it certainly plays its role in the world. It’s a necessary tool at this point. We’re very active on social media, it’s just part of what we do now. But it also translates into the way we treat our live show, standing at the merch table talking to people, meeting people who come to the shows, it’s all part of it. It is really important to develop something that goes beyond the band and the listener relationship because we want to walk away feeling like we actually did something real.

I want this to be more than a band. I want this to be an experience. I want this to be something other than “Oh I saw Pentimento and it was okay” or whatever. I want people to feel like “they are aware of who we are” and we want to know who they are in a very genuine way. It’s not about selling a fucking t-shirt, it’s not about selling a fucking record. It’s about connecting with people because they’re human beings and we’re human beings and the reason that we do this is to pursue that idea. We share what we are with people because we want to know them too. That’s what makes us human beings. Dude, life is so fucking short. Shit comes and goes all the time, and I don’t have time to not be that way. We don’t have time to not be that way with people because if you’re not, then you’re missing out.

LA: It’s definitely interesting you bring up social media because it adds another layer that wasn’t there a few years ago.

Mike: It’s another dimension for sure, and it’s something you have to learn to use to your advantage. Instead of sitting on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr and acting like that’s all your band is, use that to transcend the barrier between the relationship that you would have with somebody online and what it would be like when they come to a show because that is one of the greatest parts. It becomes a reality when somebody goes “Yo, I hit you guys up on twitter. We joked around about this that or the other thing” or “you guys replied to me and I really appreciated it”. Now they’re at the show, they’re telling this to you face-to-face. That’s a beautiful thing. That is the way you put that idea to work and it’s so important for people to hold onto that because instead of being oversaturated with it or instead of being absorbed and swept away by the idea of social media… you can do something cool with it. You can do something real with it. I just believe in that because it literally takes no fucking time to tell somebody “thank you” or whatever it may be online for giving a shit about what you’re doing.

A lot of bands, when I was growing up, that gave me the time of day when I was a kid really shaped the way I feel about this now. The fact we even have a platform to do this kind of thing is fucking crazy because we’re just dudes and it’s important for us to maintain that. We’re just dudes, and that’s all we ever want to be. No matter how big the band ever grows – whether or not it grows is irrelevant – we’re here right now treating people the way they deserve to be treated.

LA: Is there any band in particular you remember going to see that had that connection with you?

Mike: Yeah dude… I would say that Rise Against was a band that made me feel like I didn’t have to put them on a pedestal. They were just great on their own. I met the singer when they were on a tour with Comeback Kid and From Autumn to Ashes, a long time ago. I went up to the dude after the show and he said “Thanks a lot for being here.” Our bass player was there, he also brought a friend who told the singer “hey man, I’m sorry this is going to sound really shitty but I downloaded your record; I stole it” and Tim from Rise Against just put his hand on his shoulder and said “dude, I don’t give a shit, you got the record… did you like it? Did you enjoy it? Did you have fun at the show? I don’t care, you’re here!” That was the way that Tim from Rise Against, who is now playing to no less than a fucking hundred thousand people every time they do a show, used the internet to his advantage, and all he cared about was getting the music he believed in to the people who believed in that band. It paid off because people came to the shows and people were singing the words.

That’s what he wanted out of it. That’s what I want out of it. I want people to enjoy what’s going on on stage or on the record. Anything else in the middle, I don’t give a fuck about. But yes dude, there was definitely some shit that happened to me when I was younger that made me feel like if I ever have the chance to do this, I want to do it right, I want to do it right the first time. I want to let every single person know that we really appreciate them because, as cliché as it sounds dude, without those people, we’re not shit. We would not be doing anything without the people who support this band. And we’re still a very small band, we don’t have any illusions about that, but we’re trying very hard to push forward to the next level and grow the band, but it’s all contingent on the people supporting the band in the first place.

LA: And I definitely think that can be the difference between a band that goes nowhere and a band that grows is that connection they form with the fans.

Mike: Absolutely, it does make all the difference. When people walk away from our shows, whether it’s a handshake or a picture or a hug or whatever, it’s something else rather than they saw us on stage and then they left. And that’s fine, some bands get away with that, but that’s not us. And in order to find our own identity, it’s important to take that into consideration. These people are spending money to get in, spending money to get to the show, and probably spending money buying merch that’s on the tour so… dude, what the fuck, talk to them, let them know that you give a shit, because unless you do, why are would they bother supporting your band?

LA: Okay I just have a couple personal music-related questions for you if that’s okay. If you were stuck on a deserted island with one album, what would it be?

Mike: Hmm. Crime in Stereo, The Troubled Stateside. It changed my fucking life.

LA: When was the first time you heard that album?

Mike: I was like 17 or 18 and at that point I thought I had music figured out. Like I was a hard-ass 18 year old sitting in a record store like, “dude, I’m never gonna get that band to happen to me again. I already know all my favorite bands, fuck everything else.” I called a friend of mine and said dude, I got some money to burn, what should I buy? And he told me to check out this Crime in Stereo record and I got it. I put it on, I’m driving home in my parents’ Kia Spectra and I pulled over; I could not believe what I was hearing. It connected with me in such a way that no song or band has ever done before. That record changed the way I look at music, it changed the way I felt about writing songs, it changed the way I thought about the world. I needed it at that time. I don’t know if it was right place right time but that’s one of those records where every time I listen to it, I’m transported so far away from this reality that it just makes me feel alive.

LA: Have you ever seen them live?

Mike: Yes, several times. I love that band.

LA: Yeah they put on a great show. If you had to tour with one band that’s currently touring that you’ve never had the chance to play with, who would it be?

Mike: A.F.I. They’re probably my favorite band of all time, but their live show is unrivaled. I love that band with my whole heart. Getting the chance to tour with them… I could probably die happy for sure after that.

LA: Is there any album or EP that you’re really anticipating this year.

Mike: I just found out today that a band from the UK called Apologies, I Have None is releasing a new EP soon; I’m really looking forward to that. They had a record called London that I really enjoyed.

LA: One last question… I know you probably don’t want to spoil anything big, but what can Pentimento fans expect for the rest of 2014?

Mike: 2014 you can see us on the road. We plan to use this tour to try to grow organically. We want to get out as much as we can, do as many support tours as we possibly can, do a lot of festivals this spring and hopefully something awesome in the summer.

LA: Okay thank you so much.

Mike: No problem, thank you so much for being here.

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An Interview with Ben Marwood

by Cherie

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photo by Ben Morse

Fresh off his first US tour supporting Frank Turner, the lovely Ben Marwood agreed to sit down for an interview Lyrically Addicted. The British musician just released his second album in 2013, entitled Back Down.

LA: The first time I heard your music was because I heard you were opening for Frank Turner on his most recent US tour. How did you meet Frank in the first place?

Ben: Me and Frank met wayyyy way back in the mists of time. It feels like a lifetime ago. It was probably only April 2006. From what I remember he was on his first proper tour of the UK since his split from Million Dead and a friend booked me and him on the same bill. We were on a few more bills by chance and then I guess I must have brainwashed the poor guy. He’s really good at keeping in touch so eventually we did more shows together on purpose this time and since then I’ve been hiding in his suitcase every so often. It’s all good fun. He’s one of the most genuine and down-to-earth people you could hope to meet in this industry and he has a lot of incredibly keen fans.

LA: How did the tour go? Were you surprised by the amount of Marwood fans at the shows? Are there any plans for an American invasion any time in the future?

Ben: The tour was astonishing. I was really surprised by how keen everyone was to get down to the shows in time for doors and how far a lot of people traveled. I live on an island where some people complain about having to drive to the next town over to see a show (20, 30 miles), so to meet people who think nothing of driving four, five, six hours in one direction just to catch a gig was an eye-opener. The support was very touching, and as I genuinely had no expectations going into the tour as it was my first in the USA, to have it pan out the way it did was really special. It definitely helps to be out on the road with such a professional and friendly bunch of people. FT’s band and crew are great, Off With Their Heads [main support] were excellent night after night and we also had my hometown hero Ben Morse out there to do photography and video stuff for Frank. It quickly became like a home away from home and it sucked to be over so soon. It’s something I’d like to do again, so I wouldn’t rule out an American invasion in the future, but it won’t happen for a while. Touring your country is, sad to say, probably one of the most expensive things any musician could ever do, so it’s something that needs careful planning and deep pockets. Otherwise I’d be on a plane tomorrow.

LA: Do you get homesick while you’re on tour? If so, is there anything you bring with you on the road to help you be less homesick?

Ben: I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, and whilst mentally I don’t miss home when I’m away, my body does go kinda crazy very quickly. Away from the schedule of day-to-day life, I forget to eat, and I don’t sleep enough, and that takes its toll quite quickly. Before any show, I’m normally a bag of nerves, so after three or four days of not looking after myself I can get pretty ill and whilst as such there’s nothing I can really take with me from home that’ll make me feel better, I know by now that I just need to power through any panic attacks, safe in the knowledge that it’s always fine in the end. And remember to GO TO BED.

LA: Traveling means a lot of down time (stuck in a car, a bus, a train, etc). What do you like to do to fill that time?

Ben: Well, it depends on how you get from show to show. The last tour I did in the UK to launch the album in June, I did the travelling mostly by train. That might sound nuts to someone who lives in a place with no real public transport (Florida, I’m looking at you..) but it’s cheaper than taking a car. When that’s your method of getting around there’s not a lot of downtime, but what time there is I like to listen to music and stare at the scenery. I’d recommend anyone take the train from York to Dundee via Edinburgh. The scenery on the way through is spectacular. Any time that I don’t spend listening to music, though, is normally spent in a daydream. It wasn’t until I sat down the other day and actually really thought about what I do with my time, that I realized I spend at least 50% of any given day thinking about stuff which plain doesn’t exist. I’m a grown man, you know.

LA: What kind of guitar do you play?

Ben: I currently have two guitars on the go: my lovely Simon & Patrick GT cutaway and a Saigon DM100e which they essentially gave me to take to the States, the idea of which (getting stuff for free) is crazy and something I’m not used to. It’s a really tough decision choosing between the two as they both have their quirks. The Saigon’s really easy to play all styles on, and the S&P sounds impeccable turned up loud, so I couldn’t part with either of them. I also have a Gibson SG Voodoo for if I need an electric guitar, but sightings of this in public are very rare. Having two acoustic guitars is a new and weird sensation for me – before this summer I’d only owned one acoustic ever, an Art & Lutherie, but that was retired in June after more than a decade of loyal service and now sits in a corner of my house wondering what it did wrong. Chin up, little buddy.

LA: Do you prefer to play acoustically (like you did on the US tour) or is that more of a practical decision?

Ben: I much prefer to play acoustic. It’s how I write all my songs and, for just one guy on a stage, you can fill all frequencies much easier and have it sound much better. Really, playing an electric guitar would only be worthwhile if I was in a rock band and it’s not often that that happens.

LA: Would you mind explaining what the recording process was for your latest album? You said in an interview that it took you something like 18 months from start to finish. Are you happy with the final result?

Ben: I like to think of Back Down as that difficult child that you have to love because otherwise you’d abandon it on someone’s doorstep. Writing it was a nightmare, recording it was like throwing money down a hole but somehow it all came together. About halfway through the writing process I moved into a new flat/apartment (delete per whatever side of the Atlantic you’re reading this on) and found myself surrounded by some of the noisiest people yet, at the same time, people the least tolerant of noise ever. I couldn’t play guitar without invoking some kind of complaint from somewhere so the album writing had to be finished off in my head, without touching the guitar. Add to that, I (maybe foolishly) tried some new recording techniques right at the start that didn’t work, and rather than going “well, that didn’t work” I decided to stick it out. Turns out recording a song is like building a house. What’s on the bottom has to be right, otherwise the whole thing’s going to fall over when you get to the top. Me and Matt (Bew, the poor guy who had to engineer the mess) spent many Saturday mornings poring over takes and tracks making changes here and there, headbutting the walls and going “why, baby Jesus, why?“, but in the end it worked out okay. I’m as proud of Back Down as I am the first album but it was much more stress than it needed to be. But hey, you live and learn. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve said after every trip to the studio ever, though. Uh oh.

LA: What’s next for you? I saw you just announced a UK tour with several house shows? Any long term plans to come back to the US in the next few years?

Ben: Next for me is to play some shows in the UK in November/December, and then I’m also starting to book more shows in the UK for February to May 2014, at which point I’ll put Back Down to bed and focus on some new things. I couldn’t rule out a third album one day but starting it is the hardest part. I won’t be moving house in the middle of writing next time.

LA: Have you seen any good shows this past year? Any you were upset to have missed?

Ben: I saw a good show this past week, in fact. A couple of days ago I traveled to London where, after many years of waiting, I saw Mountain Goats for the first time at the Union Chapel. I’ve been a massive fan since Sunset Tree (which is, for my money, one of the best albums ever recorded both in terms of its musical field and its narrative/ability to turn a personal tragedy into a tool for recovery) but whenever MG come to this country, I’m always off doing shows elsewhere. Still, I finally got the job done and it was worth the wait. The thing about Mountain Goats is that they’ve been going for, I don’t know, 672 years and they feel under no obligation to play any of their obviously popular stuff, so you go into the show as likely to hear a song from 1995 that was only ever released on cassette as, say, anything from their latest album. Actually I don’t think they played a song from their newest record at all.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to They Might Be Giants in November. Amongst the other great shows I’ve seen in the past year have been the return of Jetplane Landing (a rock band from Northern Ireland recently reunited), and also Colin Meloy of Decemberists who put on a great show at Newport Folk Festival. Who am I kidding, I must have seen loads of great shows this year but my memory is not so good. Basically after the summer I’ve had I go to every show expecting it to be a Frank Turner show. Those shows with FT and Off With Their Heads were some of the best times I could ever have, so I think show of the year probably ends up going to the final night of the tour in Madison, WI. I wish I had a prize to give, but my own personal prize was the look on the server’s face when I walked into a catering outlet at 2pm and asked if they were still doing breakfast. Her face let me know there’s no such thing as a late breakfast in Madison. I had to look down and check I’d remembered to put clothes on.

LA: What’s on your mp3 player right now? Any guilty pleasures on there?

Ben: Aha! I can honestly say there are no guilty pleasures currently on my mp3 player. I regularly clear it out and restock it with new stuff – there’s probably only about 50 or 60 songs on there at any one time. Recently I’ve been listening to the new album by my friend Mark McCabe (recommended) and the recent albums from Jetplane Landing and Off With Their Heads. There’ve been some great albums out recently though, including a new one from Jason Isbell which you should all crawl over your own mothers to hear.

LA: If you could do anything else for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Ben: What, like, a collection of things? Or do I have to just pick one? Because to be honest I think if you could only choose one thing to do for all eternity, you’re going to get bored of it. “Oh man, I have to get up and wander around this perfect utopia AGAIN?! Sighhhhh I wish I didn’t choose to abolish Facebook.”

I think I’m going to choose.. actually, you know what? It doesn’t matter. I can do anything, and collections of anythings, as long as I’m at peace with whatever I’m doing. There are people who go out of their way every week to do as much as possible and still get this sense of unease that they’re not doing enough, and next door to me my brother is shouting at people down the internet and shooting zombies and he seems perfectly happy about it.

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