Ben Hemming explores the ‘Broken Man’ on Goth Americana Blues Album
Whether you listen to music on the radio, live or on your record player, a whole lot of songs are based on traditional themes like love. But describing struggles of a human being, or writing poetry about the darker side of humanity is what London based singer-songwriter Ben Hemming does.
Hemming tries to explore what it is to be human and how in the modern age something seems fundamentally missing in day to day life. On his album “Broken Man” you’ll find 13 songs with that atmosphere packed into a dark Goth, Blues and Americana package.
“Broken Man”says a lot about the main concepts of his work and that was a good reason to ask him about his music, influences and signature guitar riffs.
You will like Ben Hemming’s music more every day because there is a lot to discover in each single song from the guitar riffs to the lyrics to the intensity.
What music do you listen at home?
“As far as my musical influences, I love the work of early Bluesmen like Son House or Howling’ Wolf. I aspire to the simplicity of the Blues and how one man with nothing more than a guitar and a voice can express so much about what it is to be alive”.
You play a lot of unique guitar riffs instead of ‘standard’ chords on Broken Man. Am I right and is it part of your signature?
“Yes I think it is. I guess like the subject matter of my music, I try to move away from standard chords and structures in favour of something that I hope is a bit more unique and challenging on the listers ears. I think music has the possibility to push boundaries rather than the cliched songs you hear a lot in mainstream music”.
BEN HEMMING – INCLINED (LIVE)
On Broken Man you play guitar songs without a backing band. Do you have plans to perform and record with a backing band?
“At the moment I do have a regular group of musicians that play with me, depending on the setting of the show, and I definitely enjoy playing with a band, but equally I love the intimacy I get with an audience when it’s only me on the stage. But I am currently writing a new album, and I hope to record it with my backing band later in the year”.
Since you’re from London, Can you tell something about the London blues and music scene. Is it easy for musicians to get stage time?
“At the moment I think there’s a lot of problems with the live music scene as a whole for independent artists, especially in London. A lot of promoters seem to have lost sight of there original role in the industry and are really little more than ‘bookers’ thoughtlessly chucking together acts, often with different styles of music, on the same night in the vague hope one of them might have a decent fan base, and leaving all the promotion to the acts themselves. As a result I think a lot of audiences have lost a lot of enthusiasm for live music and I think it’s a real tragedy.
But having said all that there are some great promoters out there who do put on some quality nights, but as with anything in life, they can be quite hard to get your foot in the door with”.
I think music has the possibility to push boundaries rather than the cliched songs you hear a lot in mainstream music”.
Would you ever consider using roots music instruments like Banjo, Cigar box guitar in your arrangements?
“Two songs from the album; ‘Broken Man’ and ‘Cigarette Blues’ were written and recored using a Cigar box Guitar that I picked up a couple of years ago in New Orleans when I was traveling around the states. It was a kind of a musical pilgrimage I was on at the time and gave me a whole knew outlook on what’s achievable with just one man, a guitar, and the Blues”.
On “Broken Man” Ben Hemming shows us that the blues is a whole lot more than a three chord song and in his lyrics that there is a lot more than just a traditional love song. I’m really looking forward hearing more from this London musician cause I think there is a lot more Ben Hemming has to tell us on later albums!