Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Ben Hobbs find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I was born in West London, and then grew up in Surrey. Currently I’m living in South London.
I first got really into music when I was around 10 and started taking piano lessons. My dad then bought me The Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ album and I just immediately wanted to be in a band, and fell in love with older music. So from there I formed my first band playing guitar and singing. I then discovered music production and also started doing some session work for other artists. It was only about two to three years ago that I decided to go solo and make some songs under my own name.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
A couple of key influences growing up were The Police and The Beatles. But I’ve also always been really into film music and big arrangements instrumentally. There’s lots of places now like the Albert Hall screening movies with live orchestras which are pretty incredible to see. As for now, Bon Iver, SZA, Knox Fortune and Rhye have been filling my ears a lot lately.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s definitely got an 80s feel to it, but because I’ve always been into soul and even jazz too, I think some of that is in there as well. To sum it up, I suppose it’s retro inspired pop. Apple Music call it 'Disco', which was a new one.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
It’s a double A-side; 'Simple Life' and 'Blind to You' - two songs taken from my Blue Sky EP. The story behind 'Simple Life' was after a breakup, I was a bit pissed off and rather than talking about it I wrote a song about it. From there it just sort of progressed into a ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ tune rather than one filled with angst. It’s more about acceptance.
What’s your local music scene like?
Generally in London you’ll never be more than a few hundred metres from live music. I’m slightly more on the edge of London which has some really cool venues, big and small, some of which support a really wide range of styles which is great.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I’m in the process of booking in some shows, hopefully some more abroad for the summer and rest of the year. I love playing in other parts of the world. Though I’ve just released an EP, I’m back working on new songs, so there’ll be more new music in the coming months too. I would say an album in the next 12 months is likely.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I’m a big fan of SOHN, it would be amazing to work with him! And also HONNE. Basically artists that rhyme and write their names in capital letters. But, mostly, it’s that I want to collaborate with artists and musicians I feel I can learn something from and both of those fill that criteria and have great music and production.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I was on tour last year in Europe and three nights in a row I dropped my guitar as the strap fell off. Then my drummer was like “hey Ben, how about putting some strap locks on”. A life changing moment. I’ve never looked back. Then one time I was playing this show as a session player, and someone from the audience got on stage and stole the drummer's snare drum and started jumping on it. Sometimes instruments have a rough time. Not funny at all come to think of it, more eye opening.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I really like dogs.