In January 2022, Antix Music Network were approached by a student of Jamie Witt's, in regards to producing an album for a young talented local artist.
Ben Reidy, a 16 year old singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist from Sherborne, Dorset, came to his first session with a total of 11 songs, ready to record and produce.
Over the following 6 months, Ben and Frazer have produced the album in various recording studios, including ITSA Studio in Weymouth, Blueroom Studio in Bournemouth, and recorded various instrument parts in each other's houses.
The album 'So Long Goodbye' is set for release on 22nd July 2022, and will be available across all streaming and online platforms.
Our representative Paul spoke to Ben before the release date about his album.
Paul Harmer: Hi Ben, thanks for taking the time to speak to us! Your brand new debut album “be safe, goodbye” has been a while in the making, as this is your first release you must be nervous and excited in equal measure. What did you enjoy most about this part of your journey?
Ben Reidy: I enjoyed every second, what an experience! One of my favourite parts of the journey was working in the studio on vocals with Frazer. The chance to explore recording all sorts of harmonies and backing vocals was so much fun. Another thing I loved was watching the songs develop more and more. Before I went to recording the album, all the songs were stripped back to acoustic guitar and vocals. It was very enjoyable to watch the songs develop with strings, drums, bass, and even electric guitar in places!
Paul: Every artist has a favourite track when producing an album, are you planning on releasing a lead single, would it be your favourite track and why would you choose that particular one?
Ben: I released “these streets” as my debut single, and it is one of my favourites. I chose to release “these streets” because I am proud of the guitar-work, and it is very catchy. However, my personal favourite would be “i hate you too”. It is emotionally devastating, and it is very personal to me. Even playing it live for the first time was difficult because it is so emotional.
Paul: I don’t know the journey you went on with Frazer but I am fully aware of what he is like!..Did you like working with him?
Ben: Definitely! Working with someone like Frazer definitely made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. He has a real passion for supporting new acts, and he cares much more about the wellbeing of the artist than anything else. He was willing to travel to mine to record all the guitars, and I liked how he always had an input with how to improve the songs, which is something not all producers will do. Without him, the album wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is, in terms of songwriting advice and production.
Paul: I’ve been out and have seen you play, and for someone still relatively young and starting out, you bond with the crowds like a fish to water. Do you prefer to busk, produce or be part of an advertised night where you are a booked act?
Ben: I think I have the most fun being a part of an advertised night where I am a booked act. I have done a little bit of busking, and it is definitely a nice experience. But being able to perform on a stage, getting to meet new people, and even getting to see other acts perform before or after me is one of my favourite parts of being a musician.
Paul: It’s a bit of a cliche question but it helps our audience understand what you base your sound on and occasionally will alert people to artists they had never heard before. What and who are your influences?
Ben: I have a very wide range of influences. Along with being a musician, I am extremely passionate about listening to music, and I listen to practically everything from Dance Pop to Death Metal. My main influence is Taylor Swift. Her way of storytelling through her songwriting and expressing emotions influenced me massively throughout the album, and if you are a Taylor Swift fan, you will hear her influence throughout. Additionally, Lorde is another singer who influenced me. I love her ability to portray happiness and sadness in her own way. Quite a few songs on the album were originally influenced by Lorde. John Frusciante (the guitarist of Red Hot Chili Peppers) is a huge influence on my guitar playing, which is mainly showed in “these streets”. I would say Ed Sheeran has definitely had an influence on my singing tone/style, and the acoustic guitar-dominated sound on the album was influenced by him as a heavily-acoustic artist. Lastly, I could not talk about my influences without mentioning Pink Floyd. They are my favourite band and have had a massive influence on me as a musician.
Paul: You have previously worked or played alongside other local artists. Is there anyone else locally that you haven't had the chance to work with that you would like to if the opportunity ever arose?
Ben: Definitely! I am currently working with a local singer from Yeovil, and we are working on some really nice covers together. I’ve been in a couple bands in the past as well, so I love to have the opportunity to work with other determined musicians.
Paul: Who is your Ultimate Music Hero?
Ben: Taylor Swift. I would say that her album “folklore” inspired me more than anything else, and along with that, “evermore”. Even the album artwork resembles influence from “folklore”. Her way of writing songs like a story and writing to portray characters that she sees in her mind influenced the album. For example, my song “bitter june” is written from the third person, about two characters totally unrelated to my life, just like some of the songs from “folklore”, for example, the love triangle of cardigan, august, and betty. Her other albums, mainly including “Red” and “Speak Now” definitely had a subtle influence on my acoustic side.
Paul: What would you have in your Rider?
Ben: Before a major gig, the main thing I try to do is just relax and make sure that I am ready. Therefore, I would have my lyric sheets, to make sure I know every word. I would have my airpods so I can listen to the songs I will perform. And I will make sure to have plenty of water on me so I can make sure my voice is being looked after and is at its best.
Paul: Finally, where can people get hold of the album and what are you planning to do next?
Ben: People can get hold of my album on all streaming services. I am not doing physical copies yet, so everything will be streaming. It will be easy to find my songs under my name, Ben Reidy. As for what I am going to do next, I am not 100% sure. I will get back into writing songs probably. I would like to release singles occasionally, as much as possible. I would also love to do some collaborative singles and explore new styles. However, for now, it is all about promoting the album and celebrating the release. Thank you for having me!
#GetInvolved and stream So Long Goodbye on Spotify and Apple Music.
Frazer Mitchell - Producer, DJ, and Events Coordinator at Antix Music Network