My Inspiration: Brooke Bentham – Nowhere Near | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Brooke Bentham

Having released her debut album on 28th February, South Shields singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham (who was recently announced as a performer at This Is Tomorrow on 30th May Newcastle) releases her covers EP, Nowhere Near. The EP offers us an alternative view into Brookes world through her song cover choices, performed in her own distinct style and exposing themes of isolation, communication and above all, love and self.

Here, Brooke tells us about what inspired the EP’s sound and the songs she chose to cover.

I recorded the EP after we’d finished Everyday Nothing. It’s kind of inspired by my demos. I wanted to create something raw after I’d just made a whole full body of work. I was asked to record some covers and I saw a space to experiment in the way that I do when I first start to create something. It was quite an exciting concept because I’ve never really thought of myself as a producer before but this project allowed me to work on that quietly. 

I am always drawn to adding loads of vocal layers and making things really ethereal that way. My voice is the one instrument I can really control, and it’s the instrument that I know the best so it’s easiest for me to use that to build stuff up. I do this a lot in my demos, I think it started when I first heard Bon Iver. Justin Vernon does that a lot and I think it’s really powerful. With Nowhere Near, I knew it had to just be a bit of a statement, there didn’t need to be too much going on. That’s what drew me to the Yo La Tengo song in the first place. The lyrics are so simple but effective and the instrumentation mirrors it perfectly. It leaves a bit of room for you to kind of sit in and feel whatever you’re feeling. 

I chose People because I have always loved that song. I never understand why it’s not one of the big musical numbers that people talk about because it’s so relative. If you know me, the Bon Iver cover is a pretty obvious choice because they’re one of my favourite bands. I was asked to do a cover from 22, a million and 29 Stafford Apts is probably the most accessible song on there. The sound of these two songs was inspired by Angel Olsen’s Half Way Home and Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie and Lowell. I wanted to get a classical guitar so that it sounded softer for People, and there’s a lot of room in the recording so that it sounds a bit more live. I think it sounds more personal that way. To be honest, they’re both quite simple covers but that’s what kind of mood I was in after recording Everyday Nothing.

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