Former Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Andy Bennett talks to the Cornfield Magazine as he hits the road with new solo material.

Album Launch - ‘Thinkin, Drinkin, Singin’

Local musician, Andy Bennett returns with the launch of his new album, Thinkin Drinkin, Singin, recently released through Swan Music on CD and vinyl. Andy is best known for his work with Ocean Colour Scene and features one of the tracks on his solo album called, ‘Old pair of jeans’, which he originally wrote for the ‘Saturday’ album. The new album, ‘Thinkin, Drinkin, Singin’, is full of refreshing and inspiring sounds and has everything you would expect from a talented musician like Andy. You can really gain a great feel for the creative process that has gone into producing this album that Andy has been working on over time. Not only are Andy Bennett’s musical and vocals skills excellent, but he is also an extremely talented songwriter and here at the cornfield we are sure that this album will be a great success.

This month we had the opportunity to catch up with Andy himself to find out more about his exciting new album, whilst gaining an insight into some of Andy’s personal influences within the world of music.

Who are your musical influences and why?
I have many influences from Bacharach, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Harry Nilsson, Neil Young, Motown artists, the list goes on and on, I love all genres of music, there are only 2 types of music as a educated man once said 'good and bad'!

As a local artist, where in the Midlands is the best place or venue to discover new, up and coming talent?
Well you could go to the venues where all the young bands play like the Flapper in Birmingham or you could just go to a local pub and be lucky enough to see some great live acts, alternatively people could come to the nights I put on at Shard end and Henley in Arden and see some great new up and coming talent!

What advice would you give to those looking for a career in the music industry?
I'm still trying to figure it out myself!

You are currently promoting your newest album, ‘Thinkin, Drinkin, Singin’. Tell me a bit more about the album itself, and what is the inspiration behind the album?
The album is about whatever the listener makes of it, there's pain, love and psychedelic moments throughout, the inspiration comes from my own experiences within!

Which artists are you currently listening to on your playlist?
I've actually got a lot of different styles and people / bands in my playlists, they include - Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nirvana, Aaron Neville, The Animals, The Beatles, The La's, Eric Burden and War, The Kinks, the list is far too long to continue!

What’s your earliest memory of starting out in music?
Sitting with my grandfather with a toy guitar and a record player strumming and singing along and eventually learning a few chords and writing my first tune!

How do you feel about the Internet and the music industry? Do you think it’s had a positive affect on the industry?
It has positive and negative sides to it and I think they'll get to a point where it works for everyone not just the big names.

Could you tell me a little bit about your track ‘Hole in the Road’ and what was the inspiration behind this song?
Hole in the road was the first single off the new album (thinkin' drinkin' singin') and is about whatever the listener can take from it. To me the song is about my ambitions in life and trying to fulfil them. As in many people's lives there are obstacles that you have to overcome to achieve the goals you set yourself, the song was followed up by a second single called 'Drift away' and my latest single 'A little love' all of which are on my new album.

Is your family musical?
Not really, my grandfather could sing really well and my whole family love music but that's as far as it goes!

What are your fondest musical memories?
I have many fond memories but I think completing this new album and listening to it on vinyl for the first time!

How often do you rehearse?
I don't really rehearse so much anymore, I used to rehearse all day everyday but these days I pick up an instrument and have a little knock about on it for a while most days and it's usually a guitar, I get the band together when gigs come up just to blow the cobwebs off or if I have to rehearse a new member.

Are there any other hobbies or interests you have other than music?
I like to watch movies and play records on my turntable but other than that not really.

What’s your songwriting process?
I get an idea come to me and pick up a guitar and play and sing all sorts of rubbish till something starts taking shape then I write the lyrics, or sometimes a lyric will come first and I'll keep singing that over and over until a good progression comes!

What is your most valued possession?
I'd probably have to say my guitars, I've bought and sold a lot of guitars and I wish I'd kept every one of them, it changes from time to time but at the moment I'd say my Hofner western acoustic guitar made in Germany in 1964, it's got great character and a lovely tone!

Have you ever had a ‘Crazy Fan’ experience?
Yes but again I can't really talk about it so I'll pass on this question!!!

What are your favorite lyrics of all time?
I like a lot of lyrics, ones that come to mind instantly are a Jackson Browne song called 'these days' and it says "Don't confront me with my failures I had not forgotten them" I mean wow, also I like "look out kid it's something you did , god knows when but you're doing it again" from Bob Dylan's 'subterranean homesick blues' there are so many and I spend my life reading and writing lyrics, I love finding my own meanings and I love it when I think I've written something great, not that I think I'm amazing but you gotta try right?

Who do you think will be big in 2017?
I have no idea , could be someone or some band we've never heard of yet or maybe the next X factor winner but if your question is really who would I like to be big in 2017 then I'd have to say me of course and some of my friends who are tremendous singers and player, if you want someone your readers may have heard of then I hope that 'the 1975' write something as good as their track 'chocolate' and continue to be successful.

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