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April 04th, 2011

Moving In The Shadows:

Ben Ottewell interview
 
Written by Krissi Weiss
 
Written over the past six years, Ben Ottewell has released his first solo album, 'Shapes and Shadows' - a down-tempo project and one that is exactly what you might expect from the gravelly-voiced singer from Gomez. Recorded after Gomez did their most recent tour of the US, Ottewell explains that everything fell into place rather well for the recording. “I had a friend in LA [Will Golden] and I got the songs together,” Ottewell tells me.  “He was really the guy I wanted to work with and I’d just finished a tour over there. Then the drummer I really wanted to work with was free and the keyboard player was free it all just fell into place really nicely. He [Golden] was in a band that was supporting Gomez on the road and so was the drummer so we were able to talk about things on the road. The pre-production was the first couple of days and then we just recorded it. It was really easy.”
 
I have to ask why Ottewell decided that these songs weren’t suitable for Gomez and why he felt the need to go out on his own. "I think I just didn’t feel that they were right for Gomez or the Gomez record that we were doing at the time,” he explains. “They also felt like they had a strong identity within them. They felt like they kind of fitted together. It just needed to be done.”
 
Even though Gomez is spread across the globe, Ottewell assures me there is a new album coming out in June. This solo album does not signal the end for Gomez.
 
Despite having a little contribution from some other musicians on the album, Ottewell will be touring with just his guitar and he finds that a very different experience to what he is used to - Gomez have been making music together for over 14 years and that is a long time to be used to touring with your mates. “I’ve pretty much gotta do it solo just to be able to do it otherwise I’d literally have to take out a loan to do the shows,” he says. “I just did some solo shows in the UK, just me and my guitar. I had an electric keyboard player with me but it’s generally just me and it works.
 
“It’s very different, particularly the touring part, without a band. It feels like you’ve got all of your mates around you when you tour with a band. You get to decided where you want to eat and things like that; there are advantages to it too. It doesn’t necessarily feel like starting again but it just a different style now.”
 
While Ottewell’s contributions to Gomez were often the more mellow songs I ask whether this album’s energy is an indication of the shaky hand of age. “Possibly,” he says. “Although I’ve always liked John Martyn and Nick Drake and Neil Young since I was fifteen years old. I think I’ve always wanted to do this kind of album.”
 
This article was originally published in Rave Magazine: http://www.ravemagazine.com.au


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