Sunday Spotlight: Ben Morgan-Brown

spotlight-ben-morgan

Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.

Hello! My name is Ben Morgan-Brown and I’m a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Exeter in Devon.

2. Tell us a bit about the music you make.

I would say I’m a folk musician with a small ‘f’ – I don’t play a lot of traditional music, but all of my material is really influenced by the guitar styles of the folk-revival players from the 60s and 70s, so lots of open tunings and nearly everything is fingerstyle guitar.

My music is quite intimate and, although I write about my own life experiences, I try to make the words a little vague so that other people can interpret the songs in their own manner.

3. When did you start and what made you want to start making music?

I started playing guitar when I was 16 and was initially inspired by bands like Nirvana and Oasis, then I moved onto Sonic Youth and Mogwai and played in a few bands that were very loud and very noisy.

Then I moved to London and started playing in a band that was heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Kinks etc and then, one evening, a bandmate put on the first Bert Jansch record and I was amazed that one person could play all these different parts on an acoustic, with separate bass lines and melodies on the top strings, and after that I was hooked – I started investigating the 60s/70s folk revival scene and got into artists like Nick Drake, John Martyn, Davey Graham etc etc and ever since then I’ve been pretty much an acoustic player (although I do dabble in electrics now and then!)

4. Stage or studio?

At the moment I’d say stage as I’m playing out a lot in support of my new E.P. and I really love those moments where you can feel the audience is with you and it lifts the whole performance to another level!

The studio can be a bit intense as everything’s under the spotlight so in many ways playing live is more enjoyable as it’s all about ‘now’ but I’m hoping to get back in the studio later in the year and will try to capture some of that ‘instant’ feel of a live gig by worrying more about the ‘performance’ than trying to get everything perfect – a great feeling take is always better than a perfect one!

5. What gear do you use to make your tunes?

My main acoustic is a Martin OM28v with an LR Baggs Anthem SL installed. I also have a Collings OM2h which also has the Anthem in it which I take along for those gigs when I need two guitars for different tunings.

I try to keep the rest of my setup pretty simple, with a DI from Orchid Electronics here in Exeter, and a Peterson Stroboclip Headstock tuner.

Sometimes I take a little pedalboard out that has a Boss TU3, a Strymon Blue Sky and a Strymon El Capistan on it for a few spacey effects, but a lot of the time it’s simply guitar straight into the PA.

For smaller gigs I have an Air Compact 60 which is brilliant – it’s light, it’s loud, it sounds great, and I can carry it over my shoulder in its gig bag and only make one trip from the car to the venue.

6. And what is your choice bit of gear and why?

If the house was burning down and I had to save something it would be my Martin – I love that guitar and I’ve written nearly every song I’ve ever written on it and played hundreds of gigs with it too, it’s like an extension of my body!

I play a lot in folk clubs or in small venues where I can sometimes play unplugged – in those situations all I really need is a guitar, a capo, and a thumbpick, so as long as I have those three things I’m okay.
7. Where can we check out your tunes?

My new E.P. is available from www.benmorganbrown.bandcamp.com and you can find me at www.benmorganbrown.co.uk and www.facebook.com/benmorganbrownmusic

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Linda

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