theaussieword.com catches up with Ben Ransom.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I had always been interested in music from as early as I can remember… I used to jump around the loungeroom with a tennis racquet pretending it was a guitar with KISS playing in the background…but it was when I was about 15 that I decided that was what I wanted to do… One Christmas, my older cousin came around and we had a beat-up old guitar that Dad had found at a garage sale…the type with three strings and holes in it. In fact, we used to play drums on it! But my cousin tuned it up as best as he could and started playing a twelve bar blues tune… That was the moment I decided I wanted to play music. From then, I started learning guitar, writing songs, playing in bands and trying to get in to the industry…and haven’t stopped since!
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? The influences are broad and diverse… sooooooo many it’s hard to pin point anything precise. But it boils down to a feeling… so I’d say it’s pretty much the feel or the vibe you get from anything you hear, see or experience. Motivation is an easy one… It’s the passion you feel. Of course there are peaks and troughs and of course mental hurdles, but for the most part it is the drive and ambition I feel and that compelling urge to get something out or say something!
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? I want people to hear and enjoy my music. Experience the power of the live performance and go away with feelings and memories that will stick with them. And sell a million records!
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? With the crazy times we are experiencing at the moment, it’s difficult to say exactly when we’ll be hitting the road again…but…with the new album complete, I have at least four singles lined up ready to go which will take me through to the end of the year. I have the album due to be released in its entirety around December which I think I can safely say we ‘should’ be touring by then. This means I’ll be perfectly placed to set that up as the album tour. All my shows til at least August have been cancelled, however, I still have two festivals booked in October (VDM Fest, Biloela Qld) and November (Airlie Beach Festival Of Music, Qld), so I’m hoping at this stage we’re still good to go for those.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? I grew up listening to a whole stack of different styles of music, from celtic folk and country, through to hard rock. Having been around listening to songs from the golden age of Australia’s pub scene, my music seems to have a pub rock/country kind of feel. But that said, I took myself off to live in Europe and experience the world, so I picked up a lot of international influences while travelling and performing overseas. Now I find my music is somewhat diverse and it’s the individual song that carries it’s own feel and style…..
much like this new release ‘NIGHT AFTER NIGHT’. Inspired by a true story of passion and holiday romance in some exotic location, this track has a distinct latino feel with beautiful Spanish guitar and percussion. It was a bit of a left field call from the management to go with this as the first single from the album, but with it’s point of difference, we ultimately felt like it was the perfect choice.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? I can’t exactly say what it is that triggers the need to get the music and lyrics out, but I do find several things that help… Life experiences… getting out and living life, getting your body moving (this stimulates your brain and gets the blood pumping), expanding your knowledge, reading and getting in touch with your inner self on an emotional level. Quite often something will just pop in to your head and you can mould it and shape it and bend things around either the music or lyrics…for me it’s almost always a work in progress even all the way up to laying it down in the studio. And I find anything that is forced or trying too hard to come up with a ‘hit’ invariably never works!
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? I do like to go a little bit deeper than some in terms of meaning behind songs, but with the type of live show I put on, I just really want people to go wild and have a great time. So there’s a bit of a balance between the creative singer songwriter and the entertainer.
Success, what is the secret to it? I let you know when I get there. Until then, I’ll keep on getting up early, working hard and never give up.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Definitely performing overseas and touring the world. Being up on the big stage and supporting Artists like Tim McGraw. Having worked and performing alongside some of my idols!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? It’s the ‘showmen’ of the business that I find inspiring. It’s the ones that deliver a performance and leave the crowd feeling entertained… It’s people like Robbie Williams, Freddy Mercury and the like that make you want to watch them. The other element is Artits that sing with fire and passion in their delivery. My all time favourite was Jimmy Barnes because he delivers that power and intensity.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? Concentrating on getting the new singles out and looking at getting the album tour together at the moment but I am thinking about new songs though and playing around with ideas for the next album.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? On the big festival stages and hopefully touring internationally. It’s a very big world and I’d really love to get the music out to as many fans as possible.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? I’ve met some of the best people and the worst people ever in this industry. I’m a naturally trusting person who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and I enjoy building solid relationships and friendships. My favourite part is performing and recording. My least favourite part is…Unfortunately there are plenty of undesirable people that display the worst traits that we as humans have and the dog eat dog mentality of screwing someone over for their own advancement is rife. It’s also frustrating as hell when you see lesser talented Artists (that wouldn’t know a hard days work if it fell on them), catapulted to dizzing heights of success, either because of who they know, who they’ve fucked or how much money they have.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. Sooooooo many! We have lots of amazing Artists from Australia… some off the top of my head are Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Rick Price, Joe Camilleri, Kate Ceberano,
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? The digital revolution has changed the music industry forever. Digital platforms like Spotify and Apple music seem to be a necessary evil for Artists. It’s great for the consumer, but financially crippling for the Artist. I don’t know anyone who has made back the money that they have invested in their music from these big players. But then again…they now have the potential of reaching a worldwide audience. Social media absolutely gives the opportunity for people to get their music out in to the world. Where as in the past, the big record labels acted like filters and quite often the best of the best would make it to the publics’ ears and eyes. Nowadays (with social media) ‘anyone’ can do it and I find as a result that music has become diluted and ‘vanilla’ with the focus shifting to ‘how many likes’ you can get or ‘how famous’ you can become. I use social media as a tool and one of many. There’s no substitute for live performance and how to deliver that performance.
How do you plan on cracking the international market? Short of a flash in the pan viral hit… it seems the only way is via a major label (unless you’re seriously cashed up). With the cost of releasing a track (properly) in the US setting you back around $50,000, it’s going to take quite a bit to do it independently. Ultimately the US market followed by the European markets is where I’d like to see myself. So, let’s see what else 2020 brings…
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I haven’t collaborated much in terms of songwriting with others, but I have had the pleasure of working alongside many people… most recently Sharon O’Neill (our duet ‘Young Years’) who had massive hits in the 80’s, Rob EG (Wizard Records) and hit producer Matt Fell. I’ve been following Phil Barton (Aussie ex-pat living in Nashville) and really dig what he’s producing. Ultimately I’d LOVE to work with Desmond Child…my all time favourite songwriter!
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Don’t! Haha! I learned the hard way and did most things the wrong way and as a result, it took a very long time to start to make any kind of headway. So… surround yourself with the people you want to be like, work your arse off, listen to the advice of those above you, don’t rush to get your product out, wait til the timing is right (how and when is that?…you’ll know!), invest in yourself and have EVERYTHING in the right place before you commence (this sets you up for the best possible chance of making it a success), don’t chase fame!!!… and don’t do anything half arsed!
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans? Thank you!
Any last words? Never… I’m going to keep making as much noise as long as I can!