London singer-songwriter Ben Shaw has just dropped his debut EP Alive, and it’s a strong statement from a brand new indie artist. Taking in acoustic balladry, dramatic dark pop and emotive melodies, the new songs showcase his unique voice and some great production work from Florence & The Machine/Foals main man Brett Shaw.
Check it out on Spotify here now – and read on for an exclusive GigSoup chat about each track on the EP.
This was the last song I wrote for the EP, replacing a song just a day before the last sessions! It’s about a past partner whom I owe a lot to, someone who really helped me out of a rut but who I never expressed my true feelings too. The lyrics take you through the motions of regret. Holding back feelings to your own detriment. Experiencing anxieties about how they feel and going through the eventual downfall of the relationship. I wanted this one to feel a little more personable and direct. Less to think about and more to visualise thus the strong imagery in the lyrics “Fading light, I watch you go. From the bedsheets to the window”. The idea was to capture those true moments of feeling with simple wording that can resonate with most. it became the title track on the EP because the whole idea behind these songs is to explore the feelings and emotions that make us feel alive. Something I think love and heartbreak do better than any other.
Sisters is the oldest of the bunch. I wrote this when I was in my second year of University in Portsmouth, discovering the world for myself and really trying to figure out who I was and what the hell I was doing. It’s all about the differences in men and women, how we deal with emotions and who we turn to. It was actually the most straight forward recording session as I’d had it planned out for quite a while. We experimented less but it felt like everything just fell into place. A little secret is that I wrote the bridge lyrics whilst in the studio last minute! I didn’t have any and Brett (the producer) said we needed something to fill it so I had to write on the spot.
Not The One
Not The One was the first track we recorded and was actually supposed to be a standalone single. But once I got into the studio a full EP became the obvious choice quickly. The whole idea of this song was to capture the sense of loss and near desperation when someone just doesn’t feel the same for you. Wanting to be drowned in love, needing their affection but knowing you’re not the one. It’s more about coming to terms than it is falling apart, I hope that strength comes through: “To be undone, I’ll overcome. I’m not the one”.
Definitely the most progressive for me, I’m happy that this final track makes me feel a little in the deep end. I really believe it’s important to push yourself musically. I take great note of David Bowies famous quote “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area.”. Get Away required me to push myself in terms of my writing. I used tempo differently here and drew inspiration on the song from a more reflective stance. I wanted to explore the world around us and how little we know. Taking a dark look at how humans act and why it portrays us as selfish and God fearing. The conclusion is the need to escape it all, which is really the pinnacle conclusion to the whole EP. How being alive today can make you feel.