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Benn Hartmann Interview

benn hartmann

Benn Hartmann Interview

I’m here at the Curve theater with local singer, songwriter, musician and general all rounder Benn Hartman.

LM: First of all could you introduce yourself.
BH: May name is Benn Hartman, I’m from Leicester and I am primarily a guitarist, but I can also sing, play bass, drums and I’m also a songwriter.

LM: Where do your musical influences come from?
BH: Well surprisingly I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop and urban type music. My parents also listened to a lot of Motown and Soul which had a huge influence over me during my early years. Then I began hanging out with a friend who got me into bands like Metallica and that lead onto me getting into the metal scene.

LM: So how did that link with your friend influence you getting into music?
BH: He also played the guitar, I used to watch him rehearse, and I really enjoyed being a part of it all. So I decided to learn how to play the drums which I did for a few years. Then at the age of 16 I got my first guitar and I suppose it went from there really.

LM: What was the name of the first gigging band you played with?
BH: Its a funny story actually, I had seen a band called Scream who where headlining at the Abbey Park festival and they where just brilliant. Then a few weeks later I noticed they where advertising for a guitarist. – so I tried out for them and got the spot.

LM: Can you remember where you played your first gig?
BH: That’s easy, The Princess Charlotte with Scream. It was certainly something I shall never forget being such a legendary venue.

LM: Can you name some of the other venues you have played at?
BH: I have played most of the venues in Leicester; The Donkey, The Musician, Soundhouse and some of the lesser known places. But, I also lived in London for a number of years and so I have played in some really great venues across the country.

LM: When did you begin writing your own material?
BH: I have written songs for most of the bands I have been in, but there was always a front man performing them.

LM: What made you want to begin performing as a solo artist?
BH: There was a competition being held at The Shed for singer songwriters and one of the performers dropped out. So I was approached by Kevin (Shed owner) and he asked if I would like to fill the spot. I said yes and to my surprise, I won the competition.

LM: How has winning the competition helped you?
BH: I got the opportunity to record a complete album through Drip Records at Ollie Petch’s studio.

LM: Can you tell us a bit more about the album?
BH: The album is called ‘Chronicles of Anyone’ and it was very much inspired by John Mayer and Fleetwood Mac who I was listening to a lot whilst putting the album together.

LM: I it take you where pleased with the album?
BH: Yes I was very pleased and it really spurred me on to begin writing more material for myself.

LM: Who are you working with at the moment?
BH: I have recently been working with Polly Yates who is a very talented singer. I’m also doing regular stuff with the excellent Pamella Moo, plus Calder McLaughlin and George Simpson who are also extremely talented artists.

LM: Would you class yourself as a professional musician?
BH: Well if you mean is being a musician my full time job then yes.

LM: Is it hard making a regular income being a musician?
BH: Well its not easy, but nothing is, you just have to work hard and keep at it.

LM: Have there been any memorable moments this year as far as performances go?
BH: Well I really enjoyed playing Strawberry Fields with Pamella Moo, that is certainly one gig that sticks in my mind.

LM: Have you played any other festivals this year?
BH: I have played various gigs during 2013 but another one that was certainly memorable was the Simon Says festival, there was a real buzz about the whole thing.

LM: Was you sad to hear about the Summer Sundae festival ending?
BH: Sad yes, surprised no, as it was clear to see that its popularity had declined over recent years.

LM: Do you think Simon Says could end up the same way?
BH: As long as they keep the line up interesting and continue to give new up and coming acts a platform to widen their audience, then I think it will continue to be a great local music festival.

LM: What mainstream music are you listening to at the moment?
BH: Brandon Boyd from incubus has just released a solo album and that is awesome.

LM: You have just released your New EP can you tell me a bit more about it?
BH: Well it is entitled ‘Nothing Specific’ and has 6 new tracks which I have written. What is unique about it is that I performed the vocals, guitars, bass and backing vocals for the entire EP.

LM: What where the main musical influences for the new EP?
BH: Well, as I said before I have been listening to a lot of Brandon Boyd and I think this really comes across when you hear the tracks.

LM: Is your new EP available for purchase yet?
BH: Yes, you can get it via my Bandcamp channel and I have taken the decision to have a ‘name your own price’ policy for the digital download which I hope will encourage people to buy it.

LM: So what are your plans for the rest of the year?
BH: Well I will just continue to do what I enjoy doing the most, which is gigging and songwriting.

LM: One final question Benn – tea or coffee?
BH: Oh coffee, I don’t really drink tea.

LM: Thank you for your time today Benn.
BH: It was a pleasure.

Why not take a listen to Benn’s latest EP and buy a copy via his Bandcamp Channel.
Benn also helps to organise an open mic night at the Union pub in Aylestone which you can find out more about via the Facebook Page