A Word With Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Benjamin Francis Leftwich has already been a staple here at HMCMB. Wholeheartedly captured by the emotion and mystery of his enchanting EPs ‘A Million Miles Out’ and ‘Pictures’. We vowed HERE to make a conscious effort to keep you up to date in all things Leftwich, which would of course mean mentioning that he has just released the first single ‘Box Of Stones’ from his forthcoming LP ‘Last Smoke Before Snowstorm’. Box Of Stones is Leftwich at his most intense and resonant. The soaring chorus’ and soothing verses create an atmospheric and consuming sound that you cannot help but be drawn in by.

Here’s the SoundCloud link for those who appreciate high quality audio, and sat  atop of the article is the beautiful new video for Box Of Stones.

With all the excitement surrounding Benjamin Francis Leftwich at the moment, we thought there was no better way of keeping you up to date than getting in touch with him ourselves! Check it out below.

Hi Ben,

Hi there

So your ‘Last Smoke Before Snowstorm’ LP is coming out on June 20th, could 
you tell us a little bit about it? Anything to look especially forward to?

It’s in the same vein as the EPs but I think it is a progression in terms of the sound. I’ve put more of an instrumental arrangement on some of the songs and also I think the songs are stronger in general. There are some songs on the record where I played with a full band and there are some really cool moments on some of those tracks…

It’s not yet been a year since your first official release, and we’re 
already looking at an album, was that a natural progression due to the
 success of the EPs, or was an album always on the cards?

The album has always been happening. I just had a lot of songs from the past few years to consider and I felt that some worked better on the two EPs as opposed to a full album.Releasing two e.p’s also gave me more time to write for the album which was really important to me.

Songwriting wise then, is your music something you aim to sit down and perfect,
or is it a spontaneous experience?

It’s always spontaneous for me. I think if someone approaches song writing with a “formula” it will always end up sounding unnatural and weird. I think all the best songs come from moments as oppose to efforts.

What was the artist or record that has to you been the most influential?

Bruce Spingsteen – Nebraska. I love that record! I love all of his stuff but for me Nebraska is his best. The way the production is so minimal is amazing combined with the simple arrangements on the tracks. It is an album I always feel really connected with.

Having asked the obvious question then, what are your influences outside of

I guess a lot of different things are influential in the way I write music. I love reading so I guess a bit from that and also some films too. I guess anything that interests me influences me and there’s no real formula as to where I look for it.

There seems to very much be a stylistic link between your album covers,
which are really striking! How involved were you in the design process and
what are the ideas behind them?

I was really involved in them. I always liked the idea of having continuity with all the artwork. I guess the idea behind them is to encompass lots of the different lyrical references on the album. I like the sort of mysterious/trippy vibe on the artwork.

Your cover songs have been really well received, our favourite being ‘When
You Were Young’, is there anything in particular you look for when deciding
what to cover?

Not really. I just try and find a song that I can connect with so I can do as good a job on the cover as possible…

What’s been the greatest challenge you have faced so far as someone trying
to make it in the music industry? And have you any advice for others in the
same position?

I guess it’s always a difficult situation when music and business get mixed up. I think sometimes people don’t really understand why musicians play music in the first place and they expect them to be more than musicians when it’s actually not in a lot of peoples nature to adhere to what is expected from a “known” artist. I guess my only advice would be to always trust your instinct and to remember that success has nothing to do with commercialism. I think the guy who writes and records an amazing song in his bedroom and shares it with 3 of his friends will always be more deserving of the title of “success” than a major labels pretty face pop star. I think it’s important to always believe in your music.

You’ve supported Noah & The Whale on their latest tour, how was the
 experience? Any good stories you’re keen to share?!

The tour was great. We played in a lot of cool venues. The Thekla in Bristol is amazing, it’s a venue in the inside of an old hollowed out ship which is cool. And, on the ferry to Ireland I got the high score on the “Big Game Hunting” arcade game which was pretty insane.

Parallels have been made between your sound and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon,
what do you make of them? In a similar vein to Kanye, can we be expecting collabs with Dizzee any time 

I love Bon Iver! I can see how parallels could be made but I think there are other artists that I sound more like. I try not to take comparisons with other artists too seriously. And no I dont think I’ll do a collaboration with Dizzee! I would love to collaborate with Mike Skinner from The Streets though, I really love all his stuff!

Thanks for your time and hope all goes well in the future. We’re really looking 
forward to the album!