Monday, August 11, 2014

David Bennett: Where Creativity and Resourcefulness Merge

David Bennett is a songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from Brighton, UK. He draws his musical inspirations from a wide variety of sources, and I could imagine no less from one who is versed in many instruments and musical styles. Back in March, he released a brand new video to accompany his song “Jenny,” which is inspired by the film Forrest Gump. Because Bennett has only recently begun sharing his music online within the last year, “Jenny” is his first full non-instrumental song and video release. However, he expects to be releasing more before the end of the year! I did a short interview with David, and here is what he had to say:

1) How long have you been a musician, and what roles did you have in the production of this track?

I've been a musician for 7 years now. I now work full time as a musician—teaching, performing and recording. Little to none of what I get paid to do is my songwriting though, so it remains a labour of love. On this track I've done everything aside from having some amazing female vocals added by Daisy Jean Russell (of Brighton-based band, Garden Heart). 

2) Are you and Daisy Jean the actors in the music video?

We're not in fact. The actors in the video are two of my friends. I used my friends to avoid acting (which is not my forte). However, I have acted before though; I used to perform in a comedy group with the male actor in this video!

3) Who inspires your musical style?

I'm never very sure how to answer this! I could list the artists who inspire me to make music (Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan), but this doesn't really reflect my style. I often compare my style to that of Noah & the Whale or, as you said yourself [for those who don't know them], Mumford. However, I feel this is a little misleading too. I'm also unsure whether finding it hard to describe my style is a good or a bad thing!

4) What made you choose ‘Forrest Gump’ as the theme for this song?

The story of the film just seemed like a worthwhile topic to explore in a song. I wrote this song about two years ago when I was going through an odd, film-based songwriting stage. I also wrote a song about ‘The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’

5) Do you have any advice for musicians who may want to make their own music videos?

Exploit all your resources! Think, ‘what do I have access to?’ and then try and base the video around that—for me it was a photographer girlfriend (who filmed and edited it all), a grandad, a smoke machine and a doctor’s surgery.

6) Random thoughts:

I'm currently reading a book called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It revolves around spontaneous, unlikely, long distance walking and it often reminds me of Forrest Gump and his cross-country running. I would recommend anyone to read it as it is very life-affirming. However, I'm perhaps three chapters from the end so it could all go horribly wrong.

My thoughts on the interview:

Wow, only 7 years! That seems like a long time, but in musical years, that is relatively new, especially considering that the first few years tend to be used to struggle past the beginner stages. Then, add recording and production on top of that, and that is quite an impressive timetable. It is by no means easy to do everything from conception through production all alone.

I thought the video was well done. Your friends did a great job acting. Aside from music, I think comedy would be the other best use for videos!

I've heard some of your more classical/piano-based works and some other tracks, and I would classify this particular song as English folk. Regardless of whether you have a hint of Mumford, a touch of Noah and the Whale, or a trace of anyone else in your style, I would say that you have a gift for melody. I’m terrible with lyrics, but your melodies have been stuck in my head all week.

Exploiting resources is surely a great way to advance ideas you once thought were impossible. I’ve never really had time to make any music (or other types of) videos myself, but I sure would love to some day. However, I can agree on the musical side as well. Without some great resources in my town, I wouldn’t be able to get out as many diverse tracks as I do for sure.

Thanks for your time David and good luck with your future in music! To hear more of Bennett’s music, visit his YouTube or SoundCloud pages.

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