Indie rock four-piece Small Talk have just emerged with their debut single 'Headstart' and I had the chance to speak to frontman Ben Lewis about what they've been up to.
Hey thank you for taking the time to talk with me. How are you today?
Hey, thanks for having us on we really appreciate it! I'm doing very well thank you. We are keeping busy writing new songs, promoting our debut release, and studying for exams on the side as well (unfortunately).
As you guys are a relatively new band that many people may not have heard of can you tell me a little bit about yourselves and the music you make?
We are called Small Talk a fresh new indie rock band from the seaside town of Bournemouth. My name is Ben and I am on vocals and bass guitar, Harry is on drums, Ali is the lead guitarist and Jack is our rhythm guitarist. The music we make is modern indie pop/rock and you will be able to hear influences from bands such as Sea Girls, Oasis, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Wombats. It's catchy, melodic and energetic!
Where did the name "Small Talk" come from?
The name Small Talk was first suggested by one of our best mates who was helping us find new band members at the time. We were originally going to be called Plain Haven (which in hindsight was an awful name!) Quite a few names were thrown about at the time, but Small Talk just seemed to stick with us. It's funny because we really hate small talk, but it is one of those things everyone has to go through unfortunately.
How did the band come together?
I picked up the guitar at eighteen because I was inspired by the music that I was listening to at the time. My best mate at school, Ali, had been playing for a long time so we started writing songs in his bedroom together. The first songs we wrote were terrible, but they progressively got better and better. We knew Harry through a friend of a friend, and we realised he was a talented drummer, so we started practicing as a three piece. Jack then followed on rhythm guitar and that was when the full lineup for Small Talk formed.
Who would you say are the main musical inspirations for Small Talk?
We all share a passion for modern indie music. We love DMA's, The Wombats, Sam Fender, Arctic Monkeys and The Amazons. However, we also have our own seperate genres that influence our playing . Ali is a big fan of chilled out indie bands like Spacey Jane and Fur, I (Ben) am big into pop punk at the moment, Jack is a huge Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan and Harry adores Sam Fender. I think this melting pot of influences helps craft music that is a bit more unique.
You guys started during the pandemic. How has it been starting this project during that?
There were upsides and downsides to starting in the pandemic. The upside was that we had so much time on our hands that we could just focus on writing songs and getting better at our instruments. It was a good time to focus on crafting our own sound and deciding which avenue we wanted to take Small Talk down. However, the downside was that we couldn't meet up to practice or play any gigs which sucked!
Following on from the last question, how have you found being able to play gigs while the worlds been very different?
It has been interesting for sure. We have had some bad luck recently with a few of our gigs. Our first gig, Ali had to isolate two days before, so we had to perform as a three piece! It still went well but it wasn't ideal circumstances. For our second gig, the headline band had to pull out due to illness so unfortunately that got cancelled. We were gutted because we had all come back to university to perform. However, we put out a tweet asking if anyone had any gigs and it ended up doing very well and we were offered a gig at one of our dream venues in Southampton called The Joiners!
You guys are based in Bournemouth, what would you say the scene is like there for musicians?
Bournemouth is not particularly well known for music so that does make it difficult to break through. However, there are some really good indie bands coming through at the moment such as Wave Chase and Monster Logic (all of whom you should check out). Although there aren't many venues for live music in Bournemouth, the ones we have are very supportive towards local musicians!
'Headstart' is your debut single. I can see from social media that you have other original material. Why was this one chosen to make your debut?
Party the reason we chose Headstart was because of the title. It is a fitting name for our debut single as it has so far given us a head start into the music industry! The main reason however was because it was the first song that I wrote in which all of us agreed that it was good enough to be released. It just felt right!
Can you tell me a little bit more about the story behind 'Headstart'?
Headstart was written at a time when I just felt inferior to everyone. It was mid pandemic and I kind of had an identity crisis where I just didn't know who I was anymore and who I wanted to be in the future. I always wanted to be the guy that everyone liked, who had loads of friends and who was destined for success. However, I came to terms that I wasn't that guy, and I couldn't stop comparing myself to others on social media who lived that life. That was when I sat down, picked up the guitar and the words just poured out of my mouth and on to the page. It was kind of written around that dark truth that we are all going to end up six feet under eventually and therefore it doesn't matter how successful you become or how many followers you obtain on social media because we all fall in the end.
What was the recording process like for this single?
It was quite long! It was our first experience recording so we were completely new to the process, mistakes were made but I fully believe that's how you grow as an artist. Headstart was recorded at Brighton Electronic Studios which has housed some big bands like Royal Blood, The Cure and Tiger Club! Our producer, Sam Ruthen, helped convert our ideas into a piece of music that we are proud of.
I know it's been under a week since the release but how have you found the response so far?
It has been incredible! Our aim was to achieve 1000 streams by the end of the week, but we managed to do it in just four days which was amazing. We've beeen added to loads of top playlists and big radio stations. It's all thanks to curators like yourself who really push our music out to new listeners. We are so grateful!
Is there anything you can tell me about what's in store for you guys for the rest of the year?
We have got around three more singles that are planned to be released in the next six months which is really exciting! They are all sounding top notch and we cant wait to share them with the world. After that we are just going to keep the momentum going and maybe release an EP but who knows! We hope to do a load more gigs and maybe go on tour this summer. I am really excited to see where we will end up next year!
Do you have any personal favourite albums that you are listening to at the moment?
I am really enjoying 'Seventeen Going Under' by Sam Fender at the moment. It's an incredible album that is laced with beautiful melodies. The Night Cafe's album '0151' is well crafted and it is a record that I keep finding myself listening back to. Also, I am really anticipating Wet Leg's debut album and 'Homesick' by Sea Girls.
I've got a couple of this or that questions to ask before we finish up Would you rather travel back in time or to the future?
Back in time. I would love to watch Oasis at Knebworth in 1996!
Stay up all night or wake up early in the morning?
Early in the morning for me. No better feeling then getting work done before everyone is up although I am having trouble waking up to my alarm at the moment!
TV series or movies?
TV series. I struggle sitting down for two and a half hours I have always got to be doing something!
Thank you again for your time is there anything else you would like to say for people who are reading this?
Interview by Kayleigh McKenzie
Listen to debut single 'Headstart' HERE