Ben Howard is a singer songwriter and surfer from South Devon. His first EP, The Old Pine, was released on Ben Mumford’s label Communion, while his first album is due out through Island Records later in the year. Known for his incredible live shows, Ben has gathered a cult following selling out shows both in the UK and in Europe. The UK’s Guardian newspaper advised to, “Go and see him. He’ll make listening to acoustic folk-tinged music feel like the first time.” Ben Mondy caught up with Ben to talk music, surf and the future.
So Ben, what’s happening in your world right now?
Ben Howard: Well right now, we’ve just about to play a few more big festivals and then have a break. My first album is just about done, finished and completed so that’s a pretty big.
How long has that been in the making?
Well I suppose almost two years from start to finish. I signed with Island Records this year, and that’s bought a lot to it. To have a label supporting it like that, with guys in their back catalogue like Nick Drake and John Martyn, has been massive. But the songs have been kicking around for a while.
In that two years, things have changed a lot huh?
My God, yeah. I can’t really believe it. Two years ago I was just gigging around the UK, with a small loyal crowds, and just going surfing and playing music. I mean I knew I wanted to make a living out of my music, but to be playing big festivals and working with Island, and doing live sessions on Radio 1 and Radio 6, being played in radio 2, yeah, it’s been pretty mind-blowing.
That mix of music and surfing is pretty important to you?
For sure, that’s probably the two big drivers in my life, my two passions, so if I’m doing them I can usually rest pretty easy.
Do you get to combine the two?
It seems to be getting a little harder – gigging around Europe and the UK’s big cities I’m away from home and the coast more and more. Later in the summer though I’m playing Groundswell, a festival near Biarritz in September, so that’s the like the ideal scenario. Big crowds and a load of artists playing the music I love, plus there’s incredible waves and beaches right next door.
Do you get down to that part of the world often?
As much as I can. I mean earlier in the year we had like two days between gigs in Belgium and Amsterdam and myself and the band just bolted down there to get a couple of surfs, recharge the batteries and then bolted off again. So this year, to get paid to play and hang out there is a massive bonus.
And what can we expect from the new album and from you at the festivals?
Look it’s just what I’ve always done. Just write songs that reflect who I am and where I’m at. I’m having the time of my life, I’m young, I’m traveling and surfing and trying to be creative with my music. Look I’m working hard, but so far the goal is to just keep doing what I love and not get too caught up in the rest of it all. That’s the simple plan.
To see Ben Howard at Groundswell go to www.groundswell-festival.com Tickets start from €45.
For more information on Groundswell Festival, headline acts or eco policies please contact press officer, Helen Sansom Helensansom@me.com
Check out other dates and Ben’s music at myspace.com/benhoward.