He plays the Brunswick, Brighton on April 6 and releases his new album Get Found on April 7.
An intense year-long illness stopped Ben in his tracks and even though 2014-2015 was a surprisingly-productive year of writing new songs, life continued to intervene, forcing him to spend a year “embracing horizontal living”: “I got ill in the summer of 2014 just as we finished doing the second album. It started as a cold and got worse and worse and my balance went and my walking went. I spent a few months laid up.”
He was doing an office job, doing his music in the evenings and then afterwards, allowing for the time difference, late at night catching up with his long-distance girlfriend in Florida.
“I think I just had some sort of exhaustion and then labyrinthitis and then it was post-viral fatigue. I just had to take it easy, but it tends to get better after a couple of years. And now I am going out on the road for just a short tour, which is a milestone… and just getting the album together has been a significant personal milestone as well.”
At the low point he was thinking he might never return to music: “It is very difficult to admit you might not be able to do something any more. I was thinking that to recuperate I had to put myself first. In December 2014, I was thinking I had to take an indefinite hiatus, but by April 2015, I was starting to upgrade my studio.”
Ben admits he is terrible at looking after himself: “I am a very light sleeper and you lie there and you think sleep is a waste of time. But I learnt valuable things, and I have got to remember what happened.
“The album is out on April 7, and it is about time too. I finished my parts in July, and it has been like another nine months since then. A lot of people are asking me if I think of this as a fresh start, and it is certainly another opportunity. Certainly in my life, things are now pre- and post-, with all the changes along the way. I have definitely got a different attitude to music now. I put everything I had into my second album, and at the end of that cycle, there was a point where I just let myself think ‘Why do I do this?’ I think I was asking the wrong questions. What has happened in between has changed my attitude. By the end of the second album, it was getting to be like a job. I have now gone back to making it fun. It is all about remembering to have fun. That’s not the kind of thing you should have to write down to remember.”
In between albums one and two, streaming really took off, which made it harder to make money from recordings, which makes it more important to make money from gigs, which all added to the pressure: “And I lost sight of the fact that I wasn’t doing it for money. I have got a day job. I do the day job for money… but at the same time, you are thinking ‘If I don’t make money from music, then I will be doing the day job forever.’ But really now, it is about remembering to have fun”.
Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.