Melbourne singer songwriter Ben Abraham impressed us greatly with the video for his latest single ‘You And Me’ towards the end of last month.
And he’s bound to impress us again with his forthcoming debut album ‘Sirens’, which is due to drop on March 04.
We Get To Know Ben in our latest feature and discover his favourite songs, his multilingual exploits and where you might be able to stalk him.
1. Name : Ben Abraham.
2. Where are you based? Melbourne.
3. How did you get your start in music? I was raised in a musical family, so it was always in my life one way or another.
4. Tell us a little bit about your sound and how it developed. I’m quite a linear and harmonically simple writer. When it came time to record my album I worked with producers Jono Steer and Leigh Fisher with the goal of creating a layered, textured, sonic universe for the songs that would provide the perfect juxtaposition for the simplicity of the songs. Reflecting on the whole process and in light of my background in film, we started calling it cinematic folk.
5. Who have been your musical influences? This is always a tough question because I can’t help but categorise my answer. As a singer it’s people like Donny Hathaway, Thom Yorke and Gotye; as a songwriter it’s Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Ben Folds; as an arranger its Feist, Sufjan, Kate Bush; as an artist it’s folk like Peter Gabriel, Kanye (pre-current-meltdown), and Quentin Tarantino.
6. What are your favourite songs of all time? For me, Peter Gabriel’s song ‘In Your Eyes’ is a perfect song and the performance on the ‘Secret World Live’ DVD makes me cry every time I watch it. Other perfect songs are ‘Both Sides Now’ by Joni Mitchell, ‘How To Disappear Completely’ by Radiohead, ‘Hyperballad’ by Björk, ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’ by Bob Dylan, ‘How To Grow A Woman From The Ground’ by Tom Brosseau and ‘Come Pick Me Up’ by Ryan Adams.
7. Give us a little fun fact about yourself that people might not know. I can say “You have a fat head like a pig’s a**” in multiple languages – at one point the language count was 28+ but I’ve forgotten a bunch of them. I can definitely remember it in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Burmese, Mandarin, Arabic, Afrikaans, Swedish, Macedonian and Fijian. It’s a really important skill.
8. What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? Put your head down and make good work. It seems self evident but with the internet and the age of rewarded narcissism well and truly upon us, it never ceases to amaze me how distracted you can get by what everyone else is doing. At some point it all gets a bit much. The tastemakers, the blogs, the retweets, snaps and hashtags, the think pieces, the hype machines, your friend’s friend’s hyperbolic PR blurb for that boring Soundcloud link everyone seems to be losing their minds over — you can really get stuck if you’re too swallowed up by all that. Sometimes you have to shut out the world and really ask of yourself “What am I actually doing here?”
9. Tell us about your latest release. ‘Sirens’ is my debut album that took eight years to write and record. This wasn’t because I took eight years to find the songs for the album, but rather the album was recorded at the end of my establishing years as an artist. Because of this, we shortlisted 12 songs (from a list of about 40) that we felt made the most cohesive collection and represented me best as an artist. The songs are arranged roughly chronologically so that the album essentially documents my growing up as a songwriter from the earliest songs I wrote as a 22 year old who had never played guitar, through to the songs I was writing as a 28 year old who had been pouring blood sweat and tears into making something of a music career.
10. What do your future plans involve? At this stage I just need to be as rich as I can so I can build a house that has a rooftop pool. It’s a five year plan and luckily nothing says certain financial success like a career in music.
11. Where can our audience catch you live? I’m often walking through Collingwood in Melbourne to get myself a pork roll from the N.Lee bakery on Smith Street. Otherwise I am also about to do a tour through Australia around mid March through to mid April. You should definitely come say hi if you make it to any of these.
March 16 : Fremantle (Arts Centre)
March 17 : Adelaide (Grace Emily)
March 20 : Melbourne (Howler)
April 02 : Brisbane (Junk Bar)
April 03 : Sydney (The Vanguard)
WEBSITE : www.benabraham.com.au
FACEBOOK : www.facebook.com/benabrahammusic
TWITTER : www.twitter.com/benbrahammusic
INSTAGRAM : www.instagram.com/benbenabraham
SOUNDCLOUD : www.soundcloud.com/benabraham