Benny Walker

by the partae
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like?
 I’m based in Echuca/Moama on the border of NSW and Victoria. There’s not much of a scene at the moment! Normally we have two great, yet very different festivals in our towns. In July we normally have the Echuca Winter Blues Festival and in February we have Riverboats Music Festival. I’ve been fortunate enough to perform at both several times.
How did you first start playing music?
Both of my grandfathers played as well as my Dad, my siblings, cousins and other family members. Music has just always been there. I took my first formal lessons (piano) at the age of 8 and then started playing guitar at 10. I didn’t start singing until late high school.
What’s been happening recently?
I’ve done a few live stream shows which has been fun. The new album is out now, so I was just doing a few things in preparation for that. Like a lot of people at the moment, I’m pretty restricted as to what I can do.
Your new album ‘Chosen Line’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
I always write from a lot of different places when it comes to inspiration. I guess that’s why my albums never really settle on a genre. I take inspiration out of everyday life and don’t usually write about something until I’m reflecting on it or have had an opportunity to digest that experience and get some perspective on it.
How did you go about writing the music?
Generally speaking, I write at home in my “music room”. All of my instruments are there and it has a nice feel. I can knock out demos really quickly too if I get the urge. There are a few co-writes on the album as well that were worked up in a studio. I also wrote “Break Me Into Pieces” in the studio during the recording of the album.
Where and when did you record and who with?
I recorded “Chosen Line” with Jan Skubiszewski at his “Red Moon Studios” about an hour outside of Melbourne.
How did you approach the recording process?
I’d sent Jan and the band most of the demos in advance and we pretty much knew what songs would make the album. We set aside the whole month of June 2019 to record. Danny McKenna (Drums) and Anthony Liddell (Bass) would come in on each monday and lay down 4 songs with me live. After that Jan and I would spend the rest of the week adding any overdubs or additional parts to the songs. Late in the process we had Xani Kolac come in and play some beautiful violin on a few songs and add some backing vocals.
Please tell us about the amazing cover art for the album:
Yorta Yorta visual artist, John Patten, created the album artwork taking into account my songline and the Yorta Yorta totem the long-neck turtle as well as the river that also represents the fretboard of a guitar. I come from a long line of storytellers and musicians, and they’ve all had a significant impact on the person I’ve become and the musician that I am. I’m a Yorta Yorta man and in our culture, we would call that my Songline. 
Who are you listening to at the moment?
We have Double J on in the house most of the day. If I’m driving somewhere, I’ve been listening to Jason Isbell’s latest album. He is a phenomenal songwriter.
What do you like to do away from music?
Be outdoors! I spent a lot of my childhood playing outside and exploring the bush. I love the feeling of being amongst the big gumtrees and near the Murray River. I really love doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well. It’s really technical and takes a lot of discipline, so I get to exercise my brain and my body.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020?
Hopefully I can get out and play some live shows sooner rather than later! I think I’ll start with some really intimate solo shows until restrictions ease and then work my way up to bigger venues with the full band.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I’m torn between Thai and Mexican food! I’m happy to hang out wherever the good company is.

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