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Interview: Ben Gregory from Blaenavon

By | Published January 8, 2018

John Rogers caught up with Blaenavon frontman Ben Gregory ahead of their gig at Mama Roux’s venue on the 30th November 2017.

This is your 9th stage in 10 days, how is the tour going?
“It’s been amazing, we’re all pretty shattered but when we get on stage and see the screaming fans everything’s fine”.

Has there been a particular highlight of the tour so far?
“Probably London, they’ve all been really sound, but with the added pressure of loads of family, friends and all the people who work for the band, when it comes off it’s pretty great, so yeah that was a good moment. And it was Shepherd’s Bush Empire so that was pretty sick”.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had thrown at you on this tour?
“I accidentally stole my girlfriend’s keys when I went to Newcastle and we don’t have another set, and they’re really tiny and she hasn’t got any keyrings, so I asked someone from [the] Newcastle [crowd] to bring me a keyring so I didn’t lose them there. So I got this little bear keyring that says ‘Jordy Bear’ on it thrown at me, which is now on my keys. Very useful. Great fans we have.”

Bristol tomorrow for you, is that the last of this little run?
“Yeah it’s the last in the UK, and then we’ve got a day off when we’re driving to Cologne to start our tour with Sundara Karma in Europe. So yeah that’ll be great.”

So it’s Europe in December then the US in January too?
“We’ve got like 2 weeks for Christmas after Europe and then the whole month of January with the Wombats which will be the biggest single stint we’ve ever done in America, so it’s pretty exciting. It’s going to be very cold but very cool too.”

So you have been to the US before?
“Yeah a few times but never in such a condensed period so this time will be quite hectic.”

And Europe?
“We’ve been around Europe with Two Door Cinema Club, and done some individual shows and festivals there, so lots of friends and places to go back to”.

Blaenavon have brought out your first album this year (That’s Your Lot), I wanted to ask about the creative process behind it, how do you write your music?
“It’s like 5 years of writing music casually as friends, I’d made demos on my computer, then we’d kind of build them up as a group. We then sat down with our label for ages and thought ‘which tracks are the best ones?’ and picked our 12 favourite songs from about 110 in this file. We then went in with Jim Abiss for 5 weeks overall and he worked us pretty hard and we smashed it out, it was really wicked. It was non-stop hard work but very very fun –  you’ve got to keep a heavy process going because if you sit back and relax too much you drop the ball a bit.”

I heard a story of you and the guys hiring a canal boat for a week at one point to try and sort the album is that true?
“That’s a long and complicated story! We were staying on a friend’s houseboat for a while where we made loads of demos a few years before the album, so yeah that is true!”.

The obligatory hypothetical to finish: If you could tour with any band past or present who would it be?
“I’d really like to tour with Paramore, think it’d be sick, we’d have a really nice time just rolling around”.