Benjamin Shaw has been impressing audiences and inadvertently insulting the wrong (or right) people for a while now, with last years EP I Got The Pox, The Pox Is What I Got impressing us no end! As the release date for Ben's solo album approaches, TMF thought best to catch up with him before world domination inevitably ensues.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Ben: I have many of being fairly obsessed with Michael Jackson, but a pleasant one that stands out is being alone in bed at around 6 or 7 years old, listening to the radio, and feeling very happy and pleased with myself that I knew all the words and harmonies to 'Eternal Flame' by the Bangles.
If you could hold a recording session with any five artists, who would you choose?
Jeff Lynne, Mark Linkous, Lou Barlow, Prince and Emmylou Harris.
You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?
From experience, I have found that saying “Sparklehorse, Hefner, the Moldy Peaches and Gram Parsons” usually creates awkwardness and confused silence. So typically I panic and just mumble something about “..ah, just miserable stuff... folk.”
Or failing that, I find it's easiest to just say 'Kenny Rogers'.
You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?
A year on a desert island sounds brilliant, thank you. Out of the Blue by ELO, Manilow by Smudge, and Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones.
Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory,what is yours?
Having the album Stars by Simply Red played over and over and over again by my mum in the early 90s. That was pretty defining.
What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?
Not one gig I don't think, but Glastonbury 1999 was pretty special. Pavement, Super Furry Animals, Mogwai, Built to Spill, Mercury Rev, and even – at their artistic and commercial peak – The Corrs.
If we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album that we'd find?
I only have a 4gb MP3 player, so the line up gets changed quite often. But at the moment, easy: the hit album High on the Happy Side by Clydebank's finest, Wet Wet Wet.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I really have no idea. I love London and Britain, but with such high rents, low wages and opportunities, and a fucking dreadful Tory government trying to make things worse, I'm not sure how much longer I can afford to live here. I'm lucky in that I have links to both Canada and Australia, so perhaps one of those will look good in a few years time. Sadly.
What three words would you use to describe the experience of seeing Benjamin Shaw live?
Worrying, Excruciating, Idiot.
My first full length album There's Always Hope, There's Always Cabernet is due out on 21st November on Audio Antihero Records. It's a giant messy affair, full of nonsense samples, mellotrons and noise. But I think it has a rather romantic hopefulness about it, and it's easily the best thing I've ever done. Which, to be fair, was probably not an entirely infeasible feat.
Find Benjamin Shaw on Facebook here and his label Audio Antihero here