So, Ben Maggs, who are you?
I’d say I’m a sort of contemporary folk pop artist – I’m never quite sure how to describe my style – hailing from Cirencester. I’ve lived in Gloucestershire pretty much all my life, apart from a few years away at university.
I’ve been performing solo for just over a year now, and playing live, I’m often accompanied by Nigel Gardner, who is a very talented guitarist and percussionist. I’ve known Nigel for years, but asked him to play some lead guitar with my songs in late 2010, and we’ve been playing together ever since.
You’re still in the early stages of your musical career then – how far have you come?
I’ve just recorded my debut EP Let in the Light, which is available to buy now through iTunes, and as I am unsigned thus far, it was completely self-written and recorded.
I wanted to create something raw and true to me at this moment in my life, and I really believe this is what I’ve achieved.
Who would you say inspires you musically, and who do you get compared to?
I’ve been influenced by many artists throughout my time because I am sure that all the music I have heard in my life somehow sticks with me in one way or another.
Bruce Springsteen is the musician I loved the most when I was younger, and his music has been with me all my life. He writes great songs and his music really speaks to me – I especially love his early albums.
Nowadays I love Chris Martin, Damien Rice, Dylan, Foy Vance, Ben Howard, and Ray Lamontagne… I could go on!
I’m not often compared to anyone really, but I have had people mention Coldplay and Damien Rice, though I’m not sure I hear it myself.
What types of people go to your gigs?
Teenagers all the way up to those aged 90 and above have bought my CD and watched me perform. One thing I have been really over the moon about is that such a wide variety of people have been watching, listening and enjoying my music.
What’s your favourite venue to play in Gloucestershire?
And where would you most like to play in the county?
It’d be immensely cool to have a gig at Cheltenham Town Hall.
What’s the best local gig you’ve ever been to and who do you rate?
Chris Woods played recently at Under The Edge Arts – he was superb. I don’t know a huge amount of local acts to be honest, but George Montague is very cool – kind of a mix between rock, jazz and funk.
I’ve recently discovered contemporary folk duo The Black Feathers and also been really impressed with indie band The Flex.
So who would you most like to support?
Well, at the risk of sounding like an obsessed stalker I would have to say Bruce Springsteen. As I mentioned before, his music has accompanied me through my whole life. I don’t think I could put into words how incredible it would be to support Bruce.
And what do you do when you’re not making music?
I love spending time with friends and being outdoors, especially around Gloucestershire. I spend a lot of time inside playing music so it’s really awesome to get out and breathe in fresh air and run around in loads and loads of space.
I support Swindon Town Football Club, so I’ll often head to a match. Whilst it’s not always relaxing, it is a complete departure from music for a little while, which is definitely healthy. I also love reading and films – I’m an art junkie at heart, I reckon.
Have you ever thrown a TV out of a hotel window?
No, I haven’t. I would like to though, as long as there was a donkey underneath that could catch it and transport it to the coast for shipping to somewhere exotic like Asia. No reason really, that’s just what came into my head…
Ever had a groupie stalk you?
Yes, but the less said about that the better, I think!
Moving on, have you ever done something you really regret in the morning?
Ha ha yes, possibly too many things to mention! Although I could tell you about a party I played at once where I drank a little too much and ended up spending the night sleeping in stinging nettles. For many reasons I regretted that the next day…
Can you recommend one album to our readers you don’t think they will have heard of?
Hope by Foy Vance. It is truly wonderful.
What’s your number one ambition?
To tour the world playing my music, of course. Although after this interview, exporting TVs on a donkey is now a close run second ambition!
Any claims to fame?
I once scratched Phil Collins’ back with a eucalyptus tree! No, not really – I don’t have any claims to fame I can think of.
Does it count that Dennis Waterman nearly got hit by a golf ball when I was getting his autograph; he looked at the bloke who hit the shot, shook his head and said something I simply couldn’t repeat?
What advice would you give to locals artists trying to make it in the industry?
Always believe in yourself and never give up.
And what can fans see you perform in the not too distant future?
I’ll be playing at the Burning Pig Festival at The Greyhound and at Under The Edge Arts on Saturday 23 June 2012, The Cotswold Show on Monday 2 July 2012, and Treefest at Westonbirt Arboretum on Saturday 25 August 2012. It’s turning out to be a big summer for me!
And finally, where can SoGlos.com readers expect to see you in a year’s time?
I would love to be on a really cool support tour. It’s definitely possible!
By Shelly Elcock
Thursday 14 June 2012