INTERVIEW: Benjamin Amos | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image by David Cavan

Music was everywhere in my upbringing, I think I played music before I liked it. I was raised playing pianos and violins, learning my scales and progressions, I had all that embedded before I learnt to like it.”

This was the life of Irish songwriter Benjamin Amos. With an innate musical knowledge, the artist was busking on the streets of Belfast from an early age, eventually fronting indie rockers The Good Fight, winning awards and enjoying the ride. His next project, Sullivan & Gold, was met with similar praise, and saw Amos tour the UK, sign to an independent label and support Ghostpoet and Two Door Cinema Club. Only taking the experience semi-seriously, Amos recalls feeling underdeveloped and unprepared, ultimately relocating to the North East and becoming a school teacher. 

Over the years, Amos has kept his creative spark ticking, dabbling in projects scattered across the local music scene, such as his recent series of singles with Durham rapper Faithful Johannes, yet it is only now that Amos returns for a full-scale, and particularly personal, debut album. Letters was conceived after the purchase of Rod Judkins’ novel The Art of Creative Thinking, and Amos’ vision began to snowball as he conceived the story of Letters. 

It’s full of uncool little things, but you realise that they’re exactly the things that make us

This album is a journey realistically. If you’ve got a huge pile of letters, there’s the ones we’ve sent, there’s the ones we’re writing, there’s the ones that will never get sent and then there’s the ones that are still to be written. I think we’ve all got those letters, those stories, whatever they are. For me, these stories have been written over 10 years, there’s moments from the indie band days, then there’s moments of a quiet walk in a Durham forest. You can hear the age across the album, as well as the honesty.”

Through the record’s runtime, the intimacy and honesty of the recording is as charming as they come. With snaps and crackles picked up across his bedroom studio, it is these imperfections that add an earnest flavour to Letters that pairs beautifully with the stories they soundtrack.  

I’ve always struggled finding that spark. I’ve been able to churn out love songs, but they’re so easy to see through. One of the things I saw as an open door, in honest lyrics, was singing about stuff I might have found silly. The album is full of ‘boring’ little details, like cleaning out the kids’ room, finding a new alcove to wander across, Autumn leaves or even accidentally discovering our baby’s gender. I got into a flow with this album and I couldn’t stop. It’s full of uncool little things, but you realise that they’re exactly the things that make us.”

Surrendering to the organic nature of the process, Amos stepped away from scrutinising over guitar tones, flawless production or anything that felt inauthentic. The result is a genuine, folksy world of humanity and people, drawing from the harmonies and textures of Fleet Foxes or Sufjan Stevens. 

This beautiful and natural experience  expands further as Amos takes the album on tour, stopping off at a couple of local venues in December. Relishing the improvised, less regimented sounds of the band, this is Amos at his happiest, pure and unflinching. 

Benjamin Amos releases Letters on 2nd December. He performs at Claypath Deli, Durham on Saturday 10th and Bobik’s in Newcastle on Sunday 11th December.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout