First off Ben wanted to thank you for taking the time to chat, how are you doing?
BS – I’m great. Busy, but great.
2016 was a busy year for you outside of music with a new job and a child. How is all that going in your life?
BS – Initially the changes were hectic as we had to reorganize our lives a bit, but things have settled down considerably and the new life is exciting with possibilities. I can’t believe how much things have changed for me in the past year, and also how much I enjoy the changes.
Have you had the chance to record any new music to be released? Can fans hopefully expect a new release in 2017?
BS – I have some ideas floating around, but nothing close to a record’s worth. 2017 might be pushing it a little. It all depends. I’m very streaky with my writing, so I could get into a groove tomorrow and have something ready by summer. I’ve stopped trying to predict it.
Do you miss playing live at all?
BS – Touring was an incredible experience. It would be hard to summarize the impact it had on me and the way it changed my outlook on life. I’m ok leaving the past where it is though, and being able to do something like that again seems a long way off. I don’t know if that means I miss it, but I’m glad I was able to do it at all.
Any plans on any amount of live shows in 2017?
BS – Nuh uh
Going from doing everything yourself to playing with other musicians, do you feel like that changed your entire approach to Cloudkicker?
BS – I wouldn’t say it changed the entire approach, but I learned a lot about the way a really good band functions and interacts, which has influenced the way I write, by kind of learning to emphasize the whole structure, rather than have everything supporting the guitars.
How was your experience playing live and touring? Did it give you a new insight into the life of a musician on the road? Do you think for musicians to truly make a living playing music that you have to tour almost constantly as well?
BS – I think I answered this a little in question 4. Yes to the second part, I have a lot more respect and appreciation for touring musicians now. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer the third part, that seems like a personal decision.
You were releasing music for free and it created a buzz around you that helped push the demand for a tour. Would you recommend that approach to other bands or is it a double edged sword when releasing your music for free?
BS – I don’t think I could have planned what happened to me if I was a genius with unlimited resources. So no, I wouldn’t recommend it simply because I don’t know what to recommend. Also, while I dig the fact that music gives me disposable income that I try to use for mostly frivolous, excessive, or extraordinary things outside of my normal expenses, I generally don’t care about money when it comes to music. In fact, it has the potential to be burdensome. But that’s coming from someone who would have a decent income with or without music.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into music and being in a band in even the smallest form?
BS – If you’re not having fun, you’re missing the point.
Where did the idea of Cloudkicker being solely you come from? Was it a original lack of wanting others in a project or just the joy of being able to say that it was something you completely did by yourself?
BS – In the beginning it was just easier. “Reliable musician” is somewhat of an oxymoron, so I feel like I’m much more efficient on my own. But yes, I do get pleasure and validation from the fact that everything I do as Cloudkicker reflects directly on me and no one else, for better or worse. It’s very rewarding.
Anything you’d like to say to the fans before we call this quits?
BS – Be friendly to strangers
Just like to thank you again for taking the time to talk and I wish you the best this year.
BS – Thanks Alex.