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Brooke Bentham on juggling between two jobs, ghosting and 90s alt-rockers

Brooke Bentham

English singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham (Photo Credit: Lauren Maccabee)

Influenced by the likes of Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, English singer-songwriter Brooke Bentham and her human songwriting soon got put under the spotlight. With a bold and malleable voice, Bentham creates a riot of emotions with her truthful lyrics and heart-tugging folk notes. From the nitty-gritty of her personal life to her juggling between two jobs, Everyday Nothing is a swelling debut that depicts Bentham’s life as an artist post-graduation.

Bentham describes the first few months after graduation, “I read a lot of books and I wrote a lot of notes, but I didn’t come up with a single song. I didn’t have a job. Nothing was going on. I had fuck all to write about.” Written entirely by herself, the album is Bentham’s way of speaking about her emotional turmoil – it was a kick up the arse for her to snap out of her self-loathing days. From being direction-less to mustering up the courage to confront her biggest fear, Bentham successfully transferred her emotions down onto paper. Whether it’s being in a haze of confusion or in despair, it beautifully acknowledges reality in the moment of existential threat for many young people today.

We chatted with Brooke Bentham prior to the release of the album about the ups and downs of her everyday life, the epidemic of ghosting in the dating world and putting emotions into a creative outlet. Everyday Nothing is set to be released on 28 February.

Brooke Bentham
Photo Credit: Lauren Maccabee

An interview with Brooke Bentham

Your debut album Everyday Nothing touches upon anxiety and the frustration in being young. How do you feel about putting these insecure parts of yourself out into the world?

I don’t really feel anything for it to be honest. I don’t think I’m saying anything that no one else is thinking. I guess the insecurities, sure, but once a song becomes a song I kind of feel a distance to the lyrics. It’s like I had to write it down, to get it out and now I can relax a little. The words that I end up with aren’t entirely personal to me. Other people feel it too, so I kind of take some solace in that.

Where was your head at while making them?

It took me a while to write the album. It was written over maybe a year and a half and throughout that time I went through a lot of changes. I graduated university, I lived off music for a bit which ended up with me being quite miserable. I started working two jobs. My head was kind of all over. Throughout it all I think I got a little bit bitter about making music because I had been doing so little. I started to really hate it but once I started working with Bill, things picked up and I realised why I write music.

Your latest single ‘Control’ is about ghosting in the modern dating world. What do you think about this epidemic? 

I feel like the term ghosting has a relationship with romance. The song isn’t romantic. It’s just about someone random in my life who blocked me out, which I think was probably even more confusing than if it had been romantic. Ghosting is weird. I get why some people do it honestly, but I don’t agree with it. I think it fucks with people’s feelings for longer than it needs to be. For something that can be solved so easily, it’s very cruel.

Which song on the album you hold dearest to your heart and what’s the story behind? (Blue Light is my personal favourite)

It changes all the time honestly. I think the one dearest to my heart is probably ‘Without’. It’s an ode to someone in my life who has been there for me throughout some of the shittest times I’ve had. No matter what happens, that song kind of always makes sense to me and where I am in life. It’s a straight up love song.

Some people said, “the sadder you are, the more creative you become”. What do you think about this statement regarding your creative process? 

I’d tend to agree but I think it’s a horrible outlook to have. I always think I’d write a brilliant album if something awful happened to me. But what kind of way to live is that? If I want to be a successful musician, I have to make myself miserable. I don’t think it’s healthy. However, I think I socialise more when I’m happy, hence spending less time indoors writing songs so it probably does make me less creative.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

The people we kept going back to for the record were Eric’s Trip, Mazzy Star, Pavement, Sparklehorse and all those alt-90s rockers. A lot of that came from Bill who produced my record. I have loved Angel Olsen forever. I think her songwriting is unbelievable, and I just love her attitude. I also love Joanna Newsom, Alex G and Bon Iver.

You will soon be touring in the UK and Europe. What do you most look forward to doing?

I’m really looking forward to playing in Dublin actually. My Dad and I would go to Ireland on holiday when I was younger, and I loved it. I grew up on the Dubliners. I always love going to Ireland. I’m looking forward to our London show at Omeara too. To be honest I’m just excited to be playing the album to real life people.

Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.

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