Interview: Benjamin Folke Thomas

BFT
Image Courtesy of Benjamin Folke Thomas

Interview originally published on Stars in the Attic

Having been away from the music scene for a while due to travelling, it was really great to finally catch up with one of my favourite singer-songwriters and see what they have been up to. The first time I ever saw Benjamin Folke Thomas was at the Old St Pancrass Church in London. I was working on the doors, taking ticket money and selling beer. I could watch the performances from my table outside the door. When Ben started to sing I was in awe, there was this young blonde swedish guy with the throwback voice and lyrics of an old soul, much older than his years, he was captivating. That was about 3 or 4 years ago now, I have seen him live a few times since then, but nowhere near enough. There are some singers out there who you can listen to sporadically, but him, I could sit and listen to for hours.

So heres what he had to say when i got a chance to ask him a few questions.

Aiden L Quinn: How long have you been writing and playing your own songs?

Benjamin Folke Thomas: Think I was 15 when I started to try to write my own songs. Still trying to work out how to go about it the best way. Been doing that for eleven years. Fuck that’s a long time.

ALQ: Where are the best and worst gigs you have played?

BFT: We played Fairport Convention’s Cropredy festival in England this last summer. That was the most fun gig I’ve ever done I think. Felt like there was a million people there. And some of them even enjoyed it. That one is still pretty fresh in my memory. There probably other ones I’ve done that I’ve enjoyed in different ways. Another fun gig was when a mate and I put on a Warren Zevon night at the Betsey Trotwood pub in london. That was ace too. That’s a bit blurrier. Worst gig … there’s been a few when I’ve been the only person there. The sound guy has left half way through sorta thing. Someone slipped some kinda upper in my drink before I played at a small stage at No Direction Home festival. It was pissing down with rain and I think there was about two people huddled under an umbrella there and all of a sudden this upper kicked in and I thought life was great and I was telling jokes about rabbits and other animals. I enjoyed it but I doubt anyone else did.

ALQ: You recently appeared on BBC Introducing in Nashville, how was that?

BFT: That was cool. Nashville seems like a cool town. Just like one massive working museum. Everyone walks around in fancy shirts and expensive Stetson hats and they all love country music. I love country music so it was a thrill to hang out on Broadway and see all the places you’ve read about in these country music scrapbooks and biographies. And the city smells really good. There was three musicians on the BBC Introducing showcase. Al Lewis, Frankie Davies and myself. We had a great laugh with Bob Harris who introduced the show and with the BBC crew who were there with us. It was part of the AMAs (Americana Music Association). It was fun.

ALQ: The UK, London especially has a really strong live music scene, how does it compare to back home in Sweden?

BFT: It doesn’t compare really. There’s something like 12 million people living in London and there are about half a million in Gothenburg so it’s no way near as vibrant as London is. I’ve done about five gigs in Sweden and around 500 in London so I don’t know how to compare the two.

ALQ: What artists are your inspirations? Are there any musicians out there that you think we should be looking out for?

BFT: Quite a few. The classics. Some old blues and country music. Main influence these days is Warren Zevon. He’s my go to guy if I need anything. Therapy, advice on life, health or love. I’d ask him anything that I consider worth knowing at the moment. I listen to a great new band from London called the Fat White Family. They’re awesome. Something occult about them almost. They’re channeling all sort of weird shit. The good kind.
Wish I knew more new music too but I’m very bad at seeking it out. There is a great Swedish band called Kasban. They sing in Swedish, I like them a lot.

ALQ: Do you remember what the first album you ever bought was?

BFT: Can’t remember. I wanna say the Vaselines or some other cool band like Sparklehorse but it was probably Hanson or the Spice Girls.

ALQ: Is there anything you are working on just now or have just finished?

BFT: Yea we are doing a new album now in Gothenburg. It’s nearly finished… I hope.

ALQ: Where can people get hold of your music/merch?
BFT: Go to www.benfolkethomas.com. It’s on all the online sites too I think. Our label’s Bucketfull Of Brains and they’re distributed by Proper. No t-shirts yet. We need to work on our USP a bit more.

ALQ: And finally, do you have any gigs lined up for this year or the beginning of next year?

BFT: No more shows this year. Going on tour in April and we’ll be touring in Europe and the UK hopefully. As many as we can do. We’d love to come to Australia too.

1 Comment

  1. November 7, 2014 at 15:09

    […] “Nashville seems like a cool town. Just like one massive working museum. Everyone walks around in fancy shirts and expensive Stetson hats and they all love country music. I love country music so it was a thrill to hang out on Broadway and see all the places you’ve read about in these country music scrapbooks and biographies” – Benjamin Folke Thomas chats to Aiden Quinn. Interview here […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: