In the latest of our series of 10 question interviews, we caught up with Benjamin Francis Leftwich.
2011 will be remembered as the year that saw Benjamin break through as a dynamic acoustic singer/songwriter, as well as a trendsetter in knitwear fashion.
Benjamin has had close links with Desert Mine Music through recording many songs at The Factory Of Unprofessional Sound as well as having Desert Mine's Hayley Hutchinson as guest vocalist on tracks such as 'Atlas Hands', 'Box Of Stones' and 'Shine'.
So we tracked him down, fed him a handful of pickled eggs and asked him the following probing questions:
1. How many chords do you need to have in a song before it becomes good?
I think at minimum 69 chords…..
2. What is better, the music industry or music?
I think the music industry is awesome. It is based solidly on a functional and efficient business model and is controlled by some of the coolest people in London. So yeah basically the music industry is the winner…..
3. Which do you value more, your integrity or your tuner pedal?
I would say my tuner pedal. When I’m on stage and see the flashing LED’s of my white pedal…. Sometimes I get slightly emotional and it makes me really think about the continued integration of science and technology into music… it is a really beautiful thing. Without a tuner pedal you're nothing but a lizard.
4. Do you sing better with your eyes closed or open?
I would say closed. When I have my eyes closed sometimes i imagine myself running naked along side a stream in “Westow” (Yorkshire) on a crisp Sunday morning…. Often during my on stage day-dream I am joined by another strange hobo type looking man who bounds along next to me….. Usually this sequence ends with a friendly embrace….. but on occasion, we both turn into meer cats and run free together for an eternal summer over the hills of Yorkshire….. that is why I sing with my eyes closed.
5. Have you ever rapped in a song?
So far in my “career” I have not really rapped in a song. However, it has come to my attention of late that to fully maximize my market potential as phase 1 of my campaign comes to an end then I may well need to rap. I don’t think I necessarily need to release a full album of rap songs but I think a couple of bars of hard truths combined with a “sick” beat will really help things moving forward and will help us to maintain and build upon the support we have been lucky enough to receive already.
6. What is the most confused that you have ever been onstage?
I would say I was most confused during my i-tunes festival gig at the “Roundhouse” in London. There were huge screens either side of the stage showing me while I was playing. Very weird.
7. When you walk onstage, what is your favourite style of walk?
Great question. Personally I like a strong and focused walk on stage…. Not OVER confident but driven and serious. Of course the lighting in the venue combined with the type of jean I am wearing will seriously impact my choice of walk. For example I find that dim lighting combined with skinny light blue jeans is conducive to a more chilled/laid back on stage walk. The on stage walk must always be carefully considered and each situation should be judged on it’s own merit.
8. What is the most overused phrase that reviewers use for your music?
9. When were you coolest?
A couple of weeks ago, I was in a studio in London and I went outside to have a smoke and I found out that I was in the same complex as the BELLA UNION headquarters…. Just to be near them was overwhelming to say the least. I felt, just for a minute, that this was my chance to be part of an elite/secretive group of the coolest people in the world…. I slowly mustered up the courage to walk up to the front door of their headquarters and ask if they would teach me about the world…. But just as I was about to knock, I remembered that I had COLDPLAY on my ipod…. So I punched myself in the balls and walked away crying.
10. Have you ever been tempted to have a snack whilst onstage?
Of course! But I have never been brave enough to do it because it would be kind of awkward just stood there eating whilst everyone watches. I think the most practical on stage snack would definitely be wasabi peas though. Easy to eat, flavorsome and they’re not too time consuming to devour either.