This Is Hastings caught up with singer, producer, DJ, and resident of the West Hill, Benbo (aka Tris Taylor) over a spot of tea.
Having his tonally honed ear firmly to the ground, he reels off name after name of under the radar, local musical talent we should be investigating – Illicit (a 17-year-old rapper who writes ‘outstanding lyrics’), Adeola (an ‘incredible soul singer’), and Leofwin (‘Hastings’s answer to Aphex Twin‘) are the first three off what seems like it could be a very long list.
Benbo himself, signed to Cooking Vinyl’s songwriting division in 2009, finished his début album last year – 12 tracks of indie pop shot through with English influences from the Beatles to the Beloved, and bits that sound like Bowie. Was the space theme deliberate?
‘Yeah – not really! But it seems like there was a lot of stuff in my head that came out in space-related metaphors – gravity, black holes, satellite dishes – but on the other hand there’s stuff about being stuck in Cologne, freezing, bored out of my brain and with no more money for food. So there’s plenty for anyone anti-space as well…’
You can name your price and download the album from Bandcamp
Benbo also doodles, and this year he’s posting one drawing every day on his site World of Benbo. Meaning his 2012 archive already runs to 116 drawings, with titles as bizarre as ‘INSIDE SHARP TEETH with Trevor McDonald’ and ‘BEHOLD a new type of dinosaur’.
Some of his more family-friendly efforts can be seen below.