Touring extensively with acts such as Ash Grunwald, Tijuana Cartel and Seth Sentry, Ben Catley is showing no signs of slowing, recently releasing and touring his AA side release Strong Hands/OpenSkies to much acclaim. We took the chance to chat to Ben recently about this release and balancing writing with touring.
Your AA side release “Strong Hands/Open Skies” sees two strong but vastly different pieces of work sit back to back with each other, was the contrast intentional?
Hey there! Yeah, very. I’m from the chilly shores of northern England originally, so I think that’s where the gritty feels come from in ‘Strong Hands’. And since I’ve been living in Western Australia, my music has definitely been shaped by the amazing coastal lifestyle here, which I think comes through in ‘Open Skies’.
What was it like working with Matt Gio? (Birds of Tokyo, San Cisco, Illy)
Matt is fantastic. He works so hard and with such interesting ideas, which is why I wanted to work with him. I wanted a few different production elements so not to sound just straight acoustic roots. With ‘Strong Hands’ in particular he interpreted it exactly how I was hoping to. I think it’s the first time I’ve really felt I’ve captured my live energy in a studio track.
What inspires your songwriting?
Everything I write tends to be upbeat and positive (I think) and usually inspired by good feelings, working hard, adventures, being on tour, good mates and the outdoors. I’m not really a soppy love song writer.
How do you balance touring and writing at a time in the industry where touring is vital to the survival of many bands?
It’s a bloody tricky balance to meet. I’ve been on the road heaps over the past year, so while I never really stop writing, it has taken a bit of a back seat lately. I’ve got some new material in the pipeline and I plan on having a slightly more cruisey December to try and create a new body of work. There, I’ve said it now, so hopefully it’ll manifest!
What can we expect from your upcoming show with Kallidad?
A lot of fun! Those guys are an incredible live show, so I really have to bring some huge energy to warm the stage up for them. We’ve had some really good times on the road in WA, so I’m looking forward to a bit of adventure with them between Cairns and Byron. I think these shows are going to be pretty wild!
BEN CATLEY TOUR DATES
16 November – The Jack Hotel, Cairns
17 November – Tablelands, Atherton
18 November – Picnic Bay Hotel, Magnetic Island
24 November – Sol Bar, Maroochydore
25 November – NightQuarter, Gold Coast
26 November – Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads
(All shows supporting Kallidad)