Interview: Ben Barritt

"Hey Ben."
"Can I have the set list, please?"
"Thanks, I'll buy your EP now."
"Oh, that's how it works?!"

And that's how I got into a little conversation with Ben Barritt.
And guess what? That conversation turned into an interview!

I'm really excited for you to get to know the singer/songwriter and guitarist (amazing guitarist!). 
So stay tuned to see what Ben tells us about starting out as a musician, John Mayer's lyrics, Jim Kroft and a lot more...

house in the sand: So Ben, please tell us a bit about how you got into music and how you decided this is what you want to do.

Ben Barritt: My mum and dad are musicians so I grew up listening to them play. They didn't push me into it- in fact they encouraged me to do something else! But the instinct to play music proved to be too strong and I ended up following in their footsteps.
The start of my 'career' was risky- I was a bad player and had non gigs! I met some amazing colleagues in London and learned a huge amount from them. Slowly the gigs got better and we all grew into the musical characters we are.
Being a musician is an uncertain and unpredictable life. Sometimes the compromises we have to make test your love of music. I suppose my love for it passed that test!

house in the sand: While I was listening to your EP I kind of got the feeling that John Mayer is one of your influences. Is that correct? Who and what inspires your music?

Ben: Yes- good observation! I really got into his songwriting, particularly the Continuum album. It's full of melody and I think the lyrics were surprisingly poignant at the time considering the super-mainstream Pop audience it was aimed at.
The artists that inspire me the most write songs that are musically colourful and lyrically strong.
The sound of the words is really important to me in addition to their meaning. I guess pre-1950 songwriters are indirectly a big influence via the medium of Jazz.

house in the sand: You moved from London to Berlin. Was there any specific reason or were you just looking for something new?

Ben: I started visiting Berlin a few years ago to play with Jim Kroft. I love the city and knew I would move here someday- that turned out to be this year and I'm very happy. Being an English musician I represent a bit of a cliche here, but the reputation as a home for artists is very true it seems. I really feel at home here even though it hasn't been that long, and when I'm travelling I look forward to being back. I miss my friends in London but I had to escape after 10 years living there. Having toured Germany a few times I'm looking forward to exploring, it's a wonderful country to play music and be on the road!

house in the sand: Quite a lot of my readers might know you as Jim Kroft's guitarist. What is working with Jim like?
Ben: Jim's a really old friend of mine, we were in a band together when I was 19! The JK band is one of the most fun gigs I've ever done- it's extrovert, warm-hearted rock and roll which is essentially what I became a musician to try and do.
He's gone way past the point of where others would have given up, the belief and work-ethic are infectious and inspiring. He's been really supportive of my music too.

Ben and Jim | image stolen from Jim Kroft. :)

house in the sand: Is there any great music you've been listening to lately that you'd like to share with us?

Ben: I'm crazy about a band called The Invisible from London, I urge everyone to check them out. Also a jazz bass player called Alan Hampton made a songwriter record that's one of my favourite albums of the last few years.

house in the sand: Top three gigs you've been to?

Ben: I randomly ended up seeing Fatoumata Diawara play in Zurich and that was one of the best gigs I've seen recently. If I could ever get the full spectrum of emotions she captured into one of my gigs I'd be very happy.
Rapper Dizraeli and his band did a collaboration with folk musician Chris Wood who I really like. Folk and Hip-Hop sounds like a bad idea on paper but it worked amazingly and I found it really moving.
For the 3rd it would be either Erykah Badu or maybe Steely Dan....

house in the sand: Something funny before we bring this to an end: what was the funniest thing that happened to you on stage?

Ben: Invading the stage during Livingston's set on the last night of the tour and spraying everybody with silly-string. They played some tricks on us too....

house in the sand: Please complete the following sentence: I am Ben Barritt and I ...

Ben: ... don't get interviewed very often. I hope these answers are ok!

house in the sand: Is there anything else you would like the house in the sand readers to know?
Ben: I'm planning to record my first album next year, and I'm trying to plan a solo tour for the Spring. I've had some great experiences doing house-concerts this year- if anyone is interested in hosting such a thing please get in touch!

And that's it! I hope you enjoy this wonderful interview and got to know Ben a lot better.

Ben Barritt online:

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Way too cool!

    Would you be interested following each other on GFC?


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