2000 Trees Festival starts next week, so it was just right to have a chat with the lovely Jack Bennett better known as Grumble Bee who will be opening up the festival this year! Find out more about his special set at the 2000 Trees campsite this year and all about his amazing acoustic headline show in London, later this month!
Hi Jack, How has 2017 been treating you so far?
Hey Mel! Yeah pretty hard work to be perfectly honest, after 2016 went so well for me personally, I had to work pretty hard to maintain momentum, whilst trying to learn how to record/mix/master new music in my self-produced/studio approach too – but I totally appreciate the huge learning curve – so I’m actually really enjoying the “full-on-ness” of that side of things! Balanced with regular gigging both full band and acoustic has been pretty amazing.
You played the NEU stage last year at 2000 Trees as well as a beautiful acoustic set on the Forest stage. This year, you will be opening the festival on Thursday at the Cave. How cool is that?
Yeah, absolutely unreal! I watched Black Peaks and Lonely The Brave on the Cave last year and the stage is flipping huge, so I’m absolutely dying to run the whole length of the stage whilst trying to maintain vocal pitch when I get back to the mic for the “singing bits” ;). It’s an absolute pleasure to be asked to open the festival and I really think this is one of the best music festivals going, so it really is an honour & I don’t want to let anyone down.
Are you gonna stick around for the remainder of 2000 Trees? And if so, which artist(s) is on your ‘Must See’ list?
Absolutely! I’m actually playing an unplugged acoustic set at “Camp Reuben” at 11.30pm Thursday night after the full band set at 2pm too. So I might actually be able to hang out with a bunch of people there too.
I’ll be running over straight away to see Bellevue days after my set, but looking to see The Hyena Kill, Jamie Lenman, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes there, Deaf Havana and some others. The beauty of this festival is the fact that the organisers are massively on it when it comes to upcoming bands and artists, so I’ll be wandering around between all the stages to see whoever’s on at the time.
What has been your best festivals experience? Any moment that stands out specifically?
Well funnily enough, 2000 Trees Festival last year was a big one, as I remember having to stick more regimentally to my lyrics and vocal melodies, as when I was looking up I saw a bunch of people singing along in The Neu tent, so I really didn’t want to disappoint their singing flow haha! That’s probably the first time, as Grumble Bee, that I’ve had to pretty strongly think about what I was doing and try to remember the exact vocal phrasing from the EP (as I don’t listen to my own stuff after it’s done). That show was hugely inspiring for all three of us I think, and gave us a chance to see so many people that we might not see again for another 6 months or so too.
Separately to that, Slam Dunk Festival has been a big inspiration to my Acoustic side of things, and the moment I played the 2nd (and 2nd ever acoustic) show at Slam Dunk last year, I realised I actually quite enjoyed that raw side of things too. And that was the moment I wanted to put a headline in a church together some point later down the line.
You just mentioned your very own and very much sold out acoustic headline show at the St. Pancras Church. How did you come up with the idea of doing a full acoustic headline concert?
Yeah, as I say, acoustic wasn’t something I was aiming for at the beginning at all. It just became something I grew to love, mainly because I can hear people singing songs back to me & that’s an incredible feeling. I wanted to put on this show as soon as I’d done a couple of the first ever acoustic stuff at Slam Dunk Festival. I wanted to do something a bit more “one-off” and intimate, so I booked this in and SJM told me it was the shortest time they’d ever had anything on sale for at (10 weeks) & it sold out in just over a week, which shocked me big time. I can’t wait for that show and seriously hoping nothing goes wrong with my voice, because there’s no hiding there! Haha!
It’s a tricky question, but if you could only play acoustic or full band for the rest of your life, what set up would you pick and why?
As much as I love acoustic now as a raw thing, full band is my true love in music and the energy I’m able to convey across the live set is something that always gives me something to look forward to. I absolutely buzz off the live set up with Callum & Zach going for it, it just feels really natural, and it’s so nice to the see the parts I’ve written in the studio, completely enhanced in the form of their live embellishments. Even the smallest, worst sounding monitor mixes can be overcome by the attitude of the live band set up, so I love that “thrown in at the deep end” sort of thing.
You have set up your own studio, the ‘Lapwing Studio‘ and have been feeding the fans with new tracks, is there a new Grumble Bee album on the cards?
There is definitely a debut album coming and I’m currently writing for that at the moment, but the goal for this year is a double-sided EP, in the form of a Vinyl release. One side will be full band and made up of the singles I’m releasing through the year and the other side is acoustic/piano renditions of some tracks from the 1st & 2nd EP. It’s much harder to work on your own releases than I could ever anticipate, but I’m striving to mix/master all the finished tracks specifically for Vinyl too, so the songs will actually sound different on that platform too. Since Vinyl is becoming so popular again, I really wanted to do the tracks justify on that media too, so there’s more dynamics & different EQ curves to suit playback through the analogue world too. Plus I get a super cool looking metal plate with the final pressing of the vinyl!!
If you were ever to do a collaboration, who would you love to record a single with?
I’d love to work with someone in the 90’s RNB type mind-set, like Craig David, or Jazz/HipHop vibe like, NAO or the pop world of Josh Gudwin (Justin Bieber’s producer) and Justin Timberlake. Purely for the inspiration that may bring to my songs. I’ve always been a fan of alt rock and heavy stuff, but when it comes to production I just love the melody and rhythmic weirdness, so it’d be nice to throw the rock world head first into some RNB and Pop… which I’m sort of trying to do anyway.
Thanks for your time Jack! Catch you live at 2000 Trees 🙂