BROOKE BENTHAM is currently touring the UK in support of her new single ‘Losing, Baby’, and upcoming EP ‘This Rapture’, which is out this November 17th.
Aged just twenty-one, Brooke was born and raised – in large, part, fending for herself with three older brothers – in South Shields, before relocating to New Cross to study at Goldsmith’s.
Here she at last felt part of a wider arts community, forming her live band and finding a mutual sense of camaraderie among a new generation of South London creatives. Brooke graduated only this summer, with debut EP ‘The Room Swayed’, an at-times brutally honest dissection of those static, unfulfilling relationships – forming the backdrop to her final year.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Brooke about her new releases and tour.
What lead you to decide you wanted to become a musician?
I joined a theatre school when I was 9 years old, music was always my favourite part of it. I took up guitar lessons when I was 11/12 and hated them, they were really tedious. I remember clearly my friend Emily showing me websites where you can find chords for songs, and we’d sit for hours playing 4 chord songs terribly, but I loved it. So, I then took up singing lessons when I was 15 and everything just developed naturally.
Who are your music influences?
They’re always changing, I find this question quite hard in all honesty. I think I always answer with artists that I have loved for years and are ingrained into me, despite my music sounding nothing like them. Bon Iver is one of my favourite artists in the world, Sharon Van Etten, Joanna Newsom etc. I think it’s more obvious when you hear the songs first written, with just guitar and vocals before anything else is added. Folk has had a big influence on me.
Can you tell us about your new EP ’This Rapture’?
It’s a pretty gritty EP with some very ‘honest’ moments to it. It’s a bunch of songs that very much just fell out of my mouth, without me changing much thereafter. The production is bigger and sort of either pushes the lyrics forward or swirls them around.
If there’s a track that best defines you as an artist what is it and why?
A track of my own, from the EP? or someone else? I’ll say one of my own. I think the thing about this EP is that it tries to define me as an artist. There isn’t just one song that I can choose. I almost said ‘Solo’ (the last track from the EP) as it’s raw, a bit messy and self-deprecating – but then I thought about ‘Losing, Baby’ and how that is an almost ethereal euphoric song that explores the idea of depression and anxiety without giving away anything. I wouldn’t want to give someone just that one song, you know? As I say, my influences are always changing and so I end up having a pretty strange variety of sounds.
What can people expect from your forthcoming show at Gwdihw?
A ripping piano solo from my keys player Tim
What are you listening to presently?
A lot of Pinegrove, Lomelda & SZA.
Vinyl or digital?
If I really had to choose it would be digital, out of ease. Putting on a record is a really nice thing to do for an occasion. It’s like an activity. I listen to a lot of music though, and I’d waste a lot of hours changing those records round.
- Catch Brooke Bentham at Gwdihw, Cardiff on November 12 and Louisiana, Bristol on November 13. Visit brookebentham.co.uk for further details