It has been two years since Ben Montague released his debut single Haunted and now he is back with his new track Love Like Stars which is from his first album Tales of Flying and Falling.
I caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about the new track, what we can expect from the album and where he has been for the last couple of years.
- Love Like Stars is your great new single so what can we expect from the track?
Well this is the first upbeat and happy love song that I have ever recorded really. The whole album is taken from a relationship that I went through last year and it was kind of like the ups and downs that everyone goes through in a relationship really.
Love Like Stars is the point where you look at the person and realise that you love them very much and that scary moment when you are going to say ’I love you’ for the first time.
- For people who are coming to your music for the first time with this record how would you describe the sound of the track?
Well I think it’s quite anthemic pop really. I put in emotionally quite a lot to the record and I think what I out in emotionally comes out commercially. It’s basically anthemic pop/rock I would say.
- How have you found the reaction to the track?
I have been overwhelmed with it really because you never know how people are going to gauge your music.
I have just toured with The Wanted and we played at the O2 Arena in London and I asked the audience very kindly if they would make the room look like a starry sky by holding their phones up in the air for the track.
I didn’t know how it would go down as I thought people wouldn’t be interested in doing it but to my surprise the whole of the O2 Arena lit up and looked like a starry sky and so I took that as that the track got good reception.
- It was two years ago when you released your debut single Haunted so where are you and what have you been up to?
Well it’s a weird one really because when I released Haunted I was quite lucky really in the sense that I didn’t have a record deal then so I was quite lucky that I got it on to the radio, it had been heard by a producer and it found its way onto Radio 2.
Since then I have got myself a record deal and a new manager and I have just been touring the UK and writing this record Tales of Flying and Falling.
- You struggled after the release of Haunted because you didn't have a label behind you and I was reading that you want back to a regular job so what was the turning point that made you jack that in and give music another go?
Making music and sustaining it is really difficult and I thought once I had got on the radio that was it I would get the record deal and we were going to be away and everything was going to be fine. But when that didn’t happen it was quite hard to take actually and I personally found it a bit difficult.
I thought about stopping music because I thought I couldn’t do it because it was too much like hard work - not too much like hard it’s just that you put so much emotion, love and passion into making an album that when it doesn’t happen it knocks you back a bit and knocks your confidence.
I was teaching singing and guitar and I was also teaching tennis lessons again, I was doing anything to get by basically. Then I was coming back from a job that I had done that day when I heard my song on the radio in a petrol station of all places - I was literally filling up my car with a bit of petrol and when I went in and heard it on a BT station and I was like ‘I recognise that’.
It kind of made me realise that I needed to give it another crack as I wasn’t finished yet and it made me think how much I wanted it again.
- It has been a long road to being able to record your debut album but now that the release is almost here what can we expect from Tales of Flying and Falling?
I think that people can really relate to it as it is a love story really about two people falling in love with each other and then the stresses and strains of life that effect that relationship.
Then it’s about them splitting up and then getting back together and I have tried to make it as happy and as uplifting an album so I hope people get a bunch of emotions; happy, sad and happy again.
- What does this album say about you as an artist?
I would say that it basically says that I am a little bit too much in touch with my emotions (laughs). I just love telling stories and I love writing music and I love performing live and I am very lucky with all the people that I have worked with.
I hope that people will hear all of the influences ranging fro Fleetwood Mac to Take That to The Kings of Lyon and Snow Patrol so I hope they can hear all of the influences that those bands have had on me and they will fall in love with it as much as I am in love with it.
- The album was produced by Dave Eringa so how did that collaboration come about?
That was a crazy one really after Haunted came out and it slowed down for me a bit I split up with my girlfriend, I left my manager and it was all a bit down really.
But then I got asked to a gig and I did it and that was where I met my new manager and my new manager really knows my influences and he knows that I like the Stereophonics and The Manic Street Preachers; I have a rockier influence on my music and he thought that it would be great to bring my pop element to a rockier producer.
So he got in Dave Eringa and we sat down and had a meeting and I didn’t think that Dave was going to like it because he has done The Manic Street Preacher’s album and I thought he would say ‘no, not for me’.
But as soon as he heard he was like ‘I love it’ and he completely understood all of the influences that I wanted to put on the record. It was an honour to work with him and it was a lot easier than I could have ever thought it would have been.
- He has worked with the likes of Manic Street Preachers so how did you find working with him and what did his experience bring to the album?
His experience was endless as he did things that I didn’t even know you could do in the studio, the only bit of recording that I had done in the past was me being in my mate’s bedroom with a duvet over my head and using a mattress as sound proofing, so to be doing it at Rockfield Studio where the likes of Coldplay have recorded their album that was unbelievable.
He always made me feel relaxed and even though we were under a time constraint we never felt under any real rush it was always about getting the best performance with everything that we did whether it was guitars or vocals or whatever.
It sounds a bit cheesy but there was a real feeling of love behind the record, even down to the bit where I would put lights around the vocal booth to make it as easy going and comfortable as possible; I think there are videos of me on Youtube putting pink fairy light around my vocal booth and turning the lights down and going ‘yeah, this is cool’.
I used the same band that I go on the road with and so there was a real family feeling there. His experience was endless even down to his guitar sounds, he would spend hours getting a certain guitar sound with me, it was epic.
- You have just hit the road with a new tour so how is it going and how great is it to get back on the road?
I literally love the road more than anything, when I finished the tour with The Wanted I think I just walked around in circles in my flat for two weeks because I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I love being on the road so it feels good to be back - we have done three shows now in Birmingham, Poole and London as well as two schools; one yesterday and I have just finished one now. Then we are off to Nottingham to do The Rescue Rooms tonight so it feels great.
- You have mentioned that you recently toured with The Wanted so how did that got?
That was so weird because I had finished the record on 21st December and then on 23rd of December I got a telephone call, I had literally strummed the last chord on the 21st, to say that I was supporting The Wanted.
In the industry you get told things and so I didn’t quite believe it so I thought I would just wait and see and sure enough over Christmas all I kept on doing is looking at my phone and looking at the dates and going ‘am I really going to play the O2 arena?’
It was wicked the boys are great and I made some good friends with Lawson and they are all very talented guys and it was a lot of fun - there wasn’t a dull moment on that tour.
- Finally what's coming up for you for the rest of the year?
I have got a bunch of festivals that I am playing like Guildfest and The Isle of Wight and of course I am on tour at the moment. Then my single Love Like Stars is released 8th July and the album is later out later this year.
So it’s going to be a busy year with lots of touring and I am really looking forward to it.
Ben Montague’s new single Love Like Stars is released 8th July.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw