"If you can't cut it live, and you build a lot of who you are on that promise, that's a bit disingenuous, know what I mean?".- Ben Sunderland
bunderland is the solo project of Ben Sunderland, vocalist of what used to be Chasing Owls. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting up with him while I was across the pond in the Uk for a session and quick chat.
How has your songwriting changed since going solo?
I think whatever had changed with the writing had already changed before the band came to an end, so it was more of me realizing that change.
It's a lot more self-reflective in terms of content. And I think writing changes with the seasons; I'll be writing in a different headspace today than in the summer. And since I'm writing all the time it's a good measure of me, I suppose? There's constantly a record of where I'm at.
Have you been gigging a lot since you started this project?
I was quite aware of the risk of making it work in the studio, then if it worked live it'd be a bonus. Whereas the way I'd brought myself up in music has always been live first and everything follows thereafter.
[...] It's lovely because most things that come in, I can say Yes to, where previously with a band you're thinking "Well, will drums work in that space? will you be deaf by the end of it?".
What's been your favorite show you've ever played?
[Chasing Owls] played Glastonbury 2013, and that was amazing. It just feels really like a family, with a huge spectrum of ages. And therefor our show was just amazing, so lovely. I would genuinely tell everyone to go, regardless of you are.I'd tell my mum to go!
What would be your favorite kind of place to play?
There's something about art centers: you have a gallery, a cafe, a studio space, a performance space... kind of purpose built for that.
At that building's inception, they're making it for the arts. It's really easy to tap into that ethos when you arrive and you're like,"Ah, this feels like I'm welcome here."
What's the next 6 months looking like?
I want an album. I'm really keen to collaborate [with a producer] in doing that. There's loads of space in my music that I think someone could have a lot of fun with. I'm more excited about that potential than the "fear of letting go".
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