Ben Christophers speaks to Incendiary

"

I have always wanted to be Madonna!


"


 


Ben Christophers, spiritual heir to Tim Buckley (yes, truly) talked to Incendiary in the wake of a set of epic gigs, where he verily blew us all away with both the quality of his songwriting and his incredible voice. This guy deserves to be a big star. Read on.


 


IN; First of all Ben, Incendiary salute the incredible gig you played at


Rotown. At one point even the bar staff had stopped serving in order


to watch you.


 


BC; Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.


 


IN; Okay, here goes...


You seem to love playing over here. You even knew some Dutch!


 


BC; My first ever gig in Holland was at the Paradiso in 1999, I think at a


showcase with a few other bands. I have good memories of Holland


because it was the first place that noticed my music, so I have been


there many times. I have tried learning a little Dutch because I never


learned any language at school, really, (apart from some French) and


felt I should do something about it. Unfortunately it's only enough for


me to order a drink so far, but the amazing thing is most Dutch people


know English so well! I remember ordering a drink with a girl behind


a bar in Amsterdam in Dutch, and I was so proud but she asked if I'd


mind if she could speak English so she could practise too, so we


had this bizaare broken and twisted conversation. I have a long way


to go!!


 


 


IN;  At the gig you pushed the music quite hard, sonically. Almost


testing it's elasticity. Is that deliberate?


 


BC; I think I wanted to see if I could break anything. Sometimes I love


the peace, sometimes I love the violent sounds in my guitar or the


electronics.


 


 


IN; Do you have different approaches to your live and studio work?


 


BC; It's not intentional, but the songs and performances always change


after they've been recorded, sometimes I wish I could do it all the


otherway round, write the album, tour it, then record... you heard it


here first!


 


 


IN; You're not scared of using silence as a major dynamic in your


music. Why do you like such delicate, almost crystaline song


structures?


 


BC; The dynamics of a live performance are the best; to bring things right down to nothing


but to have something to hang on to, is what gives music and the


songs breathing space. Or to make it bleed but still feel hypnotic is


vital, when you hear nothing in a room of people it makes the quiet


really shine. Just because you hear nothing or not much doesn't


mean you're void of emotion or understanding; in fact it makes more


sense!!


 


IN; I get the feeling that you don't want your work to be pigeon holed


in the singer-songwriter category. Or are we barking up the wrong


tree?


 


BC; If it helps me sell millions of albums and I can buy a new Hoover


and a nice hat you can put me in any pigeon hole you like!


 


It's so easy to be precious and I am in many ways about what I do,


that's how I protect it; but when you want to make a success, it


doesn't matter what people say. You can't control it anyway. The best


thing any artist can do is keep working and keep Loving It and wanting


great things and wanting to change the world. Pigeon holing can actually


help, although after all I've just said, I agree with your question, ahem!


 


IN; Your music reminds Incendiary of rarified ecclectic stuff like John


Cale's Music for a New Society, or Robyn Hitchcock,or even


Witthuser and Westrupp. How far off the mark are we?


 


BC; I don't really know their music that well, although I am in the left of


field, actually I have always wanted to be Madonna! I felt the


mainstream was where I would be, but I don't work in that way. I only


know myself, so I have faith in where my head is at and would feel


out of place if I tried to dance and wear a head mic anyway.


 


 


IN; What are your plans next year?


 


BC; Touring is mainly on the agenda for next year. I'm working on a few


"project guest vocal" things and will be doing some more writing, as well as planning a few trips to America for later in 2005.


 


 


IN; Ben, If we don't see you this side of the water before, may we wish you a


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


 


BC; Thankyou..... Vrolykke Kerst Feest."


 


 


Interview : Richard Foster.