Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with Ben Williams to find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
Originally I’m from a town called Romsey. I’ve been living in Manchester since about 2001. I first got into music when I discovered The Beatles when I was 5 or 6 years old. I quite quickly became obsessed. I played the piano for a while from about the same age, then took up guitar when I was 13.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Growing up I loved The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, then at some point I discovered soul music - Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye etc. I’ve had a big Paul Simon phase over the last few years. Also James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Prince. There’s too many to mention really. More recently, The Villagers, Frank Ocean, Lucy Rose, The Staves. It all comes back to The Beatles though.
How would you describe your sound?
Most of the time when I finish a gig, people either say I sound like Paul Simon or Jack Johnson. I can understand where the Paul Simon thing comes from because I’ve spent quite a lot of time studying his songwriting and learning his songs. I guess my music can be quite chilled and laid back at times, so maybe that’s where the Jack Johnson comparison comes from.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest release is called ‘Minimum of Fuss’. It’ll be my third album. The name of the album reflects the approach. I went into the studio, sat down in a chair for 3 days and recorded 10 songs acoustically. We added some piano and backing vocals and that was it. I wanted to keep the album quite simple as I felt it suited the songs, and I wanted to try something different from my last album, which had all sorts of instruments ranging from string quartet to the spoons.
What’s your local music scene like?
It’s amazing really. Manchester’s such a great place to be for music. There are lots of incredibly talented people around and they’re all very friendly and supportive.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I have a tour starting in April. I just plan to get out there and gig as much as possible to promote my new album. And I’m always writing.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Loads. Paul McCartney. Beyonce…
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I came off stage after quite a big festival in Germany once and realised my flies had been open the whole time. I just hope they weren’t projecting it onto the big screen.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Online you can find me under Ben P Williams. Sometimes the ‘P’ stands for ‘punctual’. Sometimes for ‘party’. It’s interchangeable.