Ben Parcell Interview

Ben on beach

Hi Ben, how are things? How has 2013 treated you so far?

2013 has been the biggest year for me in terms of the amounts of gigs
I’ve performed at and exposure to listeners. I guess with me coming up
to three years as a solo artist, the word has finally got around about
what I do.

You are fresh back from Beverley Folk Festival. How did it feel to
be invited to play at such a prestigious festival?

I felt very privileged when Leila from ‘Moonbeams’ asked me
if I’d like to do a slot at the Beverley Folk Festival. It was such an
honour to be asked, and I’ll be honest… it was the first gig I was
nervous about in about a year!

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Your career has advanced at a rapid rate since you released your
debut album, ‘Humble Beginnings’. How did your recent signing to a
record label transpire? 

The record signing trail leads back about 6 months when I purchased a book entitled ‘A Guide to Getting Radio Airplay’ by Emma Scott. After reading the book I emailed her telling her how much of a good read the book was. From there we developed a professional relationship and I found out she had formerly been a Radio presenter for ‘Kerrang Radio’ and ‘Q Radio’ as well as having her own record label, ‘In at the Eye’. I originally agreed to let the company run a PR campaign for me, but this gradually evolved into a single release.

Is it fair to say that your songs have become more Folk-inspired
since ‘Painted by Numbers’ was unleashed?

Before I started going to acoustic clubs and folk gatherings, I had little knowledge of traditional folk music. I was brought up on pop and rock music. I’ve been transformed over the past 3 years, highly influenced by local artists such as The Whiskey Dogs and Edwina Hayes, while national artists like Frank Turner and Ben Marwood have rubbed off on me.

‘Painted By Numbers’ was recorded more organically using instruments such as the mandolin and cello. Because of the lack of virtually-created instruments, I feel it gave it an honest, almost live-sounding feel. That to me makes it more folky than my debut album, but I will never pigeon-hole myself into the folk genre, I take bits from every genre and mix them up. That’s why you’ll find each song of mine brings something different to the table.

Album Cover

Do you think playing gigs with the likes of Edwina Hayes and Ben
Marwood has influenced the style of your songwriting?

Strangely enough, I have an Edwina-esque song ‘Too Late To Say
Goodbye’. She has a special way of writing about loneliness but makes
it feel uplifting. There is a new song of mine – ‘Forget The Pain’ – which
I wrote going through a Ben Marwood phase. It probably shows in
the fast finger-picking style.

Do you ever wish you could rewind to the time when you played in
Pop-Punk band The Trailers, or do you prefer being a solo acoustic act?

As much as I loved playing with other people around me to share the highs and lows, there is also a lot more responsibility with organising gigs, making sure everyone is available, and the logistics of getting all the equipment to the show. When I played my first solo shows, I felt naked, with all of the attention on me – something I was not used to. After discovering open mics and acoustic clubs, I developed a lot more confidence, and I realised there are a lot more opportunities for a solo artist than a punk-inspired band.

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Reflecting on all the songs you’ve written over the years, do you
have a personal favourite that you’ll never get bored of playing? If
so, why is that?

At the moment, that song would have to be ‘Painted By Numbers’. I
usually start my set with it and I feel it possesses the most positive and
uplifting lyric and tempo. Even so, I’m often criticised for
playing too many depressing songs!

Given that it’s the height of Festival Season, where else are you
playing this summer?

The festivals I’ve been confirmed for so far are Staxtonbury
Festival, Kilham Beer Festival, Oxjam Festival, and Graphtonbury.

Do you hope to record and release any more EPs or albums in the
near future, or are you concentrating on gigging as much as you
can for the time being?

I have an EP ready to go out called ‘Expectations’. It’s in the final stages, and should be released this summer.

 

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