Jack Bennett is the talented multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, formerly of PaperPlane, but now the genius behind the fantastic Gumble Bee. With his influences being cited as being the likes of Brand New, Biffy Clyro, Thrice and Pierce the Veil, it’s no wonder that the end result is something spectacular. We chat to him about his new project, being vulnerable with the songs he writes and what it’s like being copared to Biffy Clyro et al.
You were with PaperPlane before Grumble Bee, has making the shift to going solo added extra pressure, or given you more freedom?
I think it’s definitely given me more freedom! Not that I was restricted in many ways with PaperPlane, but I’ve just been able to try out more “pop” style avenues without the worry of it not translating live really.
You’re a multi-instrumentalist, just how many instruments do you know how to play and what are they?
I’ve had lessons in some things & others self-taught – but I’d pretty much just consider myself a singer or songwriter & then I just happen to love playing other instruments secondly! In order of when I started out on things (some things I don’t play as much of anymore); Singing/Voice, Piano, Violin, Drums, Guitar, Saxophone, Bass. I’ll give anything a go though, it’s not rocket science, just lots of practice & sticking with it I guess.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Biffy Clyro and Lonely The Brave. Are those helpful comparisons and do you mind people making them?
I don’t think I sound anything like those bands, but I do love both of them separately. I’ve followed Biffy Clyro for quite a while now & so I’m happy there’s some connections people are drawing between some of my influences and my own music. I don’t mind it at all, that’s a great part of promoting my music to everyone – seeing how they can relate to it.
The EP is due for release on 26th February, do you have time to enjoy it’s completion, or is it very much planning for the next project, either tour, album etc?
It’s been ready for quite a while, so I’m happy it’s finally coming out & I’m able to tour it live properly. I’ve finished a short 2nd record as well – out this year, with plans for my first full length album next year.
‘H.C.A.D.C’ you’ve said in the past is a very personal song, do you have to have a conversation with yourself about whether some things are too personal to “share” like that, or is it a recognition that there will probably be people in the audience who can relate? If it’s the latter does that bring some sort of sense of relief?
I try not to be too precious about my lyrical content any more, as it used to just be metaphors & random thoughts. So now, I’m more than happy to be more exposed and vulnerable with everything, as that’s the most honesty I can relate to anyone. I love it when people interpret the music however they want & take whatever they want/need from it.
The lyric video to “H.C.A.D.C” looks brilliant (done by John Howe), how much of an input did you have in that, and when it was completed, how did you feel when you saw it for the first time.
Yeah! Totally agree. I loved it, the first time I saw it. Animation, monsters & animals are right up my street. The reason I approached John in the first place, was because of his creative input in other artists/bands videos, so I really wanted to get his personal interpretation of the song and run with that. We had a chat about a kind of direction for the video, but for the most part I didn’t want any real restriction of his vision of how the song could be represented.
Sky Writer is just a superb track, where did you get your inspiration for that track and how did you go about writing the track? I think you said at some point that it was your least favourite song, have your feelings changed on that over time?
I have definitely grown to like Sky Writer more. The lyrical inspiration was basically about the transition from PaperPlane to my solo stuff now & everything surrounding that. Musically it’s made up of 2 B-sides, which I didn’t intend on using for the EP at all; one was a really overly-heavy song & the other was just a string section with lots of melody.
When you get airplay on Radio 1, and then a subsequent tonne of notifications on social media, does it take you by surprise, and how do you stay on top of it all? I also notice that you really do try and answer every single comment and question, are you worried that there may come a point where it might not be possible to continue doing that?
Yeah it definitely took me by surprise. I can’t believe they were willing to play it, especially from DJ’s I actually grew up listening to (Annie Mac, dance mixes ages ago!). I just spend a long time replying to people & hopefully interacting with as many friends/fans as possible. I remember having a conversation with Anna (Who does my press) about this, and trying to convince her I’d still be able to reply to everyone, if this project does hopefully scale bigger – but she was having none of it! I will definitely try to keep on top of everything, as I think it’s so important to have that connection!
You’ve just announced you’re going on tour with The Dear Hunter, how did that come about and how are preparations going for it?
Yeah, massively looking forward to that. Everything is going well! It’s always hard to fix up practices with my 2 live members, Zach & Callum – as they’re Birmingham & London based currently, while I’m up in the countryside between Leeds & Manchester. But we try to make it work!
I’ve decided to finally re-structure my pedal board, instead of “making do” for ages now, it actually proves massively beneficial to have everything sorted & the best it can be – so there’s much less to worry about live.
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