A Q&A with Tony Benn, Songwriter

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Modern alt-folk from Co. Clare, Ireland…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
I released ‘If We Make it Through the Winter’ a few weeks ago and I’m delighted with how well it is being received.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Getting everything to line up mid-pandemic has been a bit of a struggle. I had to cancel the dates I had planned so I couldn’t support the release the way I wanted to but it’s been going well, apart from all that.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
Ville and Matt Leppanen at Animal Farm in London produced it and it was a great experience. I had never been produced before and they made me look at the song in a totally new light.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I’d like them to feel something, happy, sad, anything really. If someone listens and feels something you know you’re doing something right.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
I like to do it as organically as possible, so I start with no plan at all. I just play the acoustic and let my subconscious start me off, once I have the bones of something I record it on my phone and over the next few days (weeks/months/years ) I go back to it adding to it till I’m happy with it. Since the lockdown started I have tried to do what Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen do: write everyday – but it is harder than it seems. I’ll keep trying though .

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
When I was recording ‘If We Make it Through the Winter’ I was staying in London and everyday I took the tube to the studio, on the way I would listening to a trio of great singer songwriters (Damien Jurado, Noah Gunderson and Phosphorescent) on my iPod (old school I know) and I hope some of their influence came through in the recording.

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
I’d love to tour the UK when the pandemic is over. I’ve played in London a bit but never the rest of the UK and I would love to see what the scene is like.

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If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I would like for the readers to listen to the title track from my album, If I Cross Your Mind. I think it is the song of mine that sounds the least like anything else, but the most like myself live. It’s thoughtful (at least I think it is), it’s odd and vaguely traditional. Also I play a resonator on it which was a item off my bucket list.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I would love for my album to do well and for the next tour to be packed out every night but I’ll settle for the world going back to normal and continuing to make my living playing music. I would love for other artists to release my songs as well, I think that would be so cool, also I have a secret dream of an anime using one of my songs for the intro but it hasn’t happen yet, fingers crossed.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you for having me. I hope every likes my new single and I hope to see all your readers at a venue nearby when the world goes back to normal.

For more info visit: facebook.com/tonybennmusic


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