After a pretty sexy debut EP and an awesome new single with ‘Bear in A Birdcage’, we caught up with Ben Wells and The Middle Names to talk records, touring and what 2013 holds for these Tasmanian indie rockers.
First up, who makes up Ben Wells and the Middle Names?
I (Ben) Play guitar and sing, Nick Probin plays guitar and sings Ali Probin Plays guitar and sings and Jordan Hooper plays the bass. At the moment we’re in between permanent drummers. I write the lyrics we all write the music!
How did you guys form? Did you ever think the band would get as big as it has?
It started out as Nicko and I doing a duet thing on acoustic guitars around local Hobart pubs and I don’t think we ever thought we’d end up touring the country together. We’re just stoked people actually want to listen to our music!
The ‘Ben Wells’ part of the name is obvious, but where did the idea for the middle names come from?
The middle names came from the first drummer the band had whose name was Robert but everybody called him Josh so it was “Ben Wells and the Middle Names”. We’d thought of changing it a few times but it seemed to stick!
Lately, you have pretty much been the support for every big band that comes to Tasmania including Ball Park Music, San Cisco and Jungle Giants. Do you have a favourite band you have supported? What are the best tips you have picked up?
We partied really hard with the guys from Little Red actually, cool blokes! I think the best advice is make the most of your opportunities both on the stage and off!
Say somebody stumbles across you guys playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?
I think they’d say we play dark indie pop we’ll that’s what I’d say anyway. I’d like to hope they think we don’t leave anything on the stage, we put our hearts into our live set and put as much energy as we can into it.
What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
My record collection is pretty broad everything from Van Morrison to La despute. I think Boxer by the National has been one of my most influential records, the way the songs can make you feel good or shit personally and you can connect to them yet they are still lyrically intriguing.
How do you compose your new songs? Do you rely on the same method, or do you mix it up?
It normally starts with me coming to the band with an idea and perhaps some lyrics then we jam it and slowly work out how we think it should sound. It’s always interesting because some of the songs are completely different to others and we all have such different influences and idea’s for the songs.
You have just released your new single ‘Bear in a Birdcage’, which has an ‘I would rather be surfing’ mentality. Given that everybody looks outside and wishes they were at the beach, did this song just write itself, or did you have the idea and really have to work hard to make it right?
Yeah it kind of did, I wrote while I was at work so the lyrics were exactly what I was feeling, haha.
Your touring for the rest of 2012, any shows you’re particularly keen for?
Yes!! I’m so excited to tour again. I’m pumped for all the shows but I’m quite looking forward to the Melbourne show with Buchannan, those guys are sick!
What does 2013 promise to have in store for Ben Wells and The Middle Names?
We’re going to start pre production as soon as the tour finishes and work on new songs until we head into the studio in March to work with the producer Magoo, which I’m really excited about because we’ve never worked with a producer before!!