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Ben Caplan Interview


Hi Ben where are we talking to you today?

You find me in Toronto and it  absolutely is very cold today...I just came in from the East coast of Halifax where it is 2 or 3c and I arrived here and it is like -15 I think.

Halifax Nova Scotia is a beautiful part of the world and the site where many survivors from the Titanic are buried but when I was there I got the feeling not much went on there – How does someone from Halifax get invited to play at The Byron Bay Bluesfest?

I think a lot of it probably comes from me touring a lot in Europe in the last year, building up a sizable following over there where I have been playing some great shows and I think it is five tours I have done over there with things just flowing and I think it is some of that buzz that has carried over to Australia.

‘In The Time of Great Remembering” is your debut solo album? Yes that’s right it came out two years ago now.

Does that mean there is a new album on the way?

Absolutely I have a couple of new tunes that I have been playing out on the road and I am staring on the pre-production for the next album and I should be finished that by May. I’ll continue to work on the tracks on the road and as soon as I finish this next run that will take me to the end of April I will finish the record

I have heard you described as Tom waits sounding or a Nick cave sound however I found you have a really great and original sound and that those comparisons don’t really do you justice – How you would describe your sound.

It’s always a tough question for me. I have been calling it folk rock music with a gypsy soul I don’t know how good of a description that is but you know...I say to people just come and check it out.
What can the audience at Bluesfest expect, will it just be you or will you have a band?

It will just be me solo, I have been doing a lot of solo touring in the past year just because it is more economical in that context, but yeah the solo show is a different thing but it’s also a lot of fun I enjoy it and I’ve been getting a great response.

You are going to finish you album in 2013; I was just wondering what else does 2013 have in store for you?

There’s a lot more festivals going on some cool stuff happening in the UK and in Europe and I'll be releasing my next record and probably a couple of different videos and hopefully I’ll be releasing a couple of collaborations as well.

You mention collaborating...Bluesfest is a great festival for getting onstage with other musicians and getting to meet other muso's who would you like to see play at Bluesfest this year and maybe have a chat with backstage?

Man it would be great to bump into Wilco backstage I have always been a big fan of that band and when I was just starting to play it was a band that was really inspiring to me, I would also like to meet Iggy Pop – In terms of who I would like to see play it’s hard because there are just such a smorgasbord...I will have a really hard time because there is just so much to choose from.

If you record with anyone who would it be?

Oh man! Difficult question. The last little while I have been listening to this crazy western European takes on Balkan music. You know heavy jazz players playing Balkan horn music. There are a couple of different bands that I just think it would be an insane time to get together with them and record with them...that would be an insane time.

Best thing about being a muso?

Getting to play music every day

Worst thing about being a muso?

It’s funny you know I think it’s being on the road. You know it’s also the good part it’s the flipside of the same coin because it can also be the worst. It’s awesome for the first 18months or so being away from home but it’s nice to actually get  to see your home every once in a while.

What’s the funniest story from the road you can tell us?

I had landed in Amsterdam in the morning at 7am on the day I was meant to be playing a festival in Hamburg at 3pm. So we just had time to make it there if there was no traffic and nothing went wrong and of course all kinds of things went wrong and then we had deadlock traffic on the German autobahn. On the autobahn we should be able to go 180MPH and be able to make good time and be there in plenty of time to make the show and we started getting really stressed out about it.

Here we are sitting in the car watching the traffic slowly go by and then eventually we said “Fuck It, we’ve got to make this gig” so we pulled onto the shoulder and we started giving it, down the shoulder of the highway and we must’ve been doing this for a minute and a half and of course we heard sirens. German police really don’t have a good sense of humour so they gave us a hell of a time then a couple of minutes later the traffic starts flowing things start picking up and we’re waiting for the cops to decide what to do to us and eventually they decided to put us back on the highway and so were back on the road and it’s a really dire we don’t know if were gonna make it or not but we’ve still got this false hope. We just have one problem and that is that I have to pee desperately but there is no chance we can stop otherwise we cannot make it…I shouldn’t even be telling you this story, I have never told a journalist this before but you got me in the right mood.

I had to do something about it so I relieved myself into a coffee cup so we had this awful coffee cup in the car with us so I rolled down the window like any reasonable person would do and emptied the cup out the window, then a minute and a half later this red convertible pulls up next to us and in it is a very very irate person and he starts gesticulating to his face and then pointing at me and then at his face and we realised we had hit him directly but we just kept speeding on and nothing came of it but I am sure to this day that person is not sure if I hit him in the face with water or something else?


Ben Caplan will be playing at The Byron Bay Bluesfest this year and you can find out more about him online at www.bencaplan.ca/