Getting to know: Ben Stafford

In today’s getting to know, The M Word chats to Ben Stafford a rising folk star of the Northern music scene. Have a read below as we discuss his upcoming EP ‘The Goose Rock EP’ available for your listening on the 30th of October and much more!

Hey Ben! How are you? Excited for the release of your upcoming EP ‘The Goose Rock EP’?

Hey, I’m doing really well thank you! I’m so excited to finally share with everyone this little collection of songs that mean a lot to me, and just can’t wait for them to be out there!

For those who don’t know you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your music?

I'm a singer/songwriter from Lancashire, and I mainly play folk or alternative folk, which I guess you could also class as indie. I love dropped and alternate tunings on my guitar, so experimenting with different sounds and effects, is really my vibe! I'm big on poetry too, I always start out writing poems and then try and turn them into songs!

‘The Goose Rock EP’ comes out on October 30th. And The M Word can’t wait for the world to hear it! Could you tell us about the songwriting and recording process?

So, most of the songs on the EP were written over spring and summer, and the other I wrote back end of last year. I originally wasn’t planning on including it in the final cut, but thought it fit really well! The final version of that song is slightly different from the original I wrote last year. I started recording and producing the songs back end of summer, and it didn’t really take long for them to be finished.

Has the Goose Rock EP been a long time coming?

Well, I definitely planned on writing and releasing an EP after my two singles earlier this year, and the songs kind of fell into place once I had an idea of what I wanted the EP to be about. I’m always planning ahead with songs and writing and knowing when to keep certain songs aside for a different EP etc, which is what I spend most of my time doing! Deciding if this song fits the idea of the EP, or if should go on another!

What inspired the creativity behind the EP? Any musical or random moments?

I’d say lyrically, the songs are very personal, I’ve always been one to write down how I’m feeling, rather than say it, I find it easier somehow!

I’m always playing around with different melodies on the guitar, I don’t think I go a day without picking it up, so most of the songs just come from playing around and finding what sounds cool!

The final track on the EP, and the one I feel perfectly finishes the EP off, came from what I like to call, the ‘in-between songs noodle’. So, I’d be playing a song, and then once I finished, I’d do some little bits in between to kind of fill the gap, and the songs basically grew from there, if that makes sense!

It must be amazing to hold a sound that is compared to Ben Howard, do you ever think that you would experiment with an entirely different genre?

It is, and he’s such a massive influence on my music and writing! I'm not sure, I’d really love to delve more into the alternative-folk, and experiment with effects and more complex sounds and atmospheres, which is what I’ve kind of been doing in between writing songs. All of my musical heroes and inspirations went slightly more electric after starting out in folk, Bob Dylan, John Martyn, and of course Ben Howard! So, it’s definitely something I have in mind, but I’ll always come back to my folk music!

I absolutely adore all the songs on this four-track EP, but I have to say the standout ones for me are ‘Never Letting Go’ and ‘Summer Rain’. Did you think when creating the EP that any tracks would be more popular than others?

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed them! I think, like most creatives, you’ll always look at your own work in a negative light, and so because of that, I’ve never really thought which songs would do better! I was conscious that one of the songs is 7 minutes long, so it’ll be interesting to see the reception that one gets! But overall, I feel each song is suited to a different mood, or feeling, so its popularity could vary from day to day!

It’s always good to have a variety of songs for different moods, I completely agree!

Best artist of all time?

Wow, that really is a tricky one, and one I’m not sure I can answer!! Now, this may be surprising to some, but my guilty pleasure is Michael Jackson, and off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any other solo artists, who had, and still have today, such a huge influence on the world. If you’d ask me ‘best artist/band of all time’ then we could be here for hours!!

Ooh I have to say I didn’t expect that! I’ll ask the best band of all time in my next interview haha!

What’s your favourite tipple?

Id say blackcurrant cider or any mixed berry cider, is a favourite at the minute, although most beers are okay! If I were on a night out, it’d have to be the pretty bog-standard vodka and coke!

Oooh yeah, I’m a big fan of cider and voddy and coke is a good choice on a night out!

What does the future hold for Ben Stafford? Plenty more music I hope!

Yeah!! So once the EP is out, I can turn my attention to new material and ideas. I’ve already started writing songs for a second EP, and have loads of cool ideas floating around. It may be slightly moodier than the EP and singles, but still a folk core, with a bit more atmosphere! Still early days yet, but it's all exciting stuff, and I’m already looking forward to getting them out there!

Thanks so much for your time Ben it's been great talking to you!

So, set a reminder on your calendar for the release of 'Goose Rock EP' on the 30th of October.

But in the meantime while we wait, check out Ben's music here:

And as always, if you like my review and would like to buy me a coffee:

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