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INTERVIEW: Ben Brookes

Hi Ben, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi everyone. These last two years have been a whirlwind but we finally got the and have released the album so all is going pretty well!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Girl Who Cried Wolf”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song? Any plans to release a video for the single?

The Girl Who Cried Wolf was written when is was around 19 maybe 20 And is about an ex girlfriend of mine who lied to me about being pregnant in a last ditch attempt to save our failing relationship, hence “the girl who cried wolf”

I gave it a circus vibe at the end because the whole thing turned out to be a complete horror show. The video for the song is being released on the same day and I really can’t wait for you all to see it. It was directed by “Emmy Award winning” Dan Huiting who has worked closely with Bon Iver in the past.

The single comes off your new album The Motor Car & The Weather Balloon – what’s the story behind the title?

The title came from a line in the last song on the album (Shackles) I thought it was quite a poignant line in the song and deserved to be the focal point.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was awesome! Getting to work with people like Greg Inhofer, (keys for bob Dylan) Michael Bland (drums for prince, soul asylum, Dixie chicks, Chaka Khan) John Wright and Dan Neale from the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Steve Lheto, Joey Moland, Mark Healey And Randy Anderson from Badfinger and Bob Corbin (sax for Tina Turner and Bob Marley) was truly an incredible and humbling experience. The guys are all really talented and professional musicians with the credentials to boot!

The writing process took the best part of 12 years.

I hand picked (in my opinion) the best 11 songs that I could pull from the archive and put them all together with a little help from my new friends.

What was it like to work with Mark Healey and how did that relationship develop? How much did he influence the album?

The relationship with Mark was forged together with the help of my good friend Larry Laughlin.

Mark is a great guy who has a knack for putting songs together in the right order and a tenacious and meticulous ability to make the songs stand out from the rest!

I would recommend him to anybody.

When it came to influencing the album we did clash on a couple of occasions.. he would say that he thought it should go like this and I would tell him “no, that totally sucks” I have my own vision of the picture I wanted to paint.

Don’t get me wrong though, he did have some awesome ideas that I embraced with open arms and now looking back, I’m glad we made those decisions together.

You brought some special guests – did you handpicked them or how did they come on board?

The special guests.. yes they were very special indeed. It was Mr Laughlin and Mr Healey that had the pulling power to get those guys involved.

I just turned up and told them how I wanted things to sound. I could literally hum a tune and they would play it back to me. Those moments were special!

What role does England play in your music?

England plays every role in my music.

It’s my native land and A shit hole of sorts but it’s my shit hole!

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The inspiration for the songs and lyrics come from day to Day life.

I can never force a song out.. it kind of just happens when I’m in a certain mood.

I could be watching TV and something will piss me off enough to want to write about it, or a memory will pop in my head and I just have to stop what I’m doing and jot my thoughts down. The music always comes before the lyrics though, apart from one time when I wrote a poem and put music to it but that turned out to be some mental avant guard political rant with subtle undertones of sarcasm.

Any plans to hit the road?

I most definitely plan to hit the road in the Not to distant future.

The team and I are currently working on a route into China and Japan and hopefully Brazil also in the latter stages of next year but not before we handpick a mini tour around the US.

What else is happening next in Ben Brookes’ world?

Well my girlfriend and I have just had a beautiful bouncing baby boy so I will inevitably be changing diapers and cradling him for the foreseeable future. Hopefully they can both come on tour with me next year and experience this incredible hourly first hand by my side.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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