Premiere – Ben O’Kane ‘Place I’ve Never Been’ Interview

by the partae
Where are you currently based?


My hometown, West Wyalong in central NSW. But looking to move away next year just not sure where to just yet!


What was it like growing up in country NSW?


It’s funny, if you asked me this question 10 years ago I would say I couldn’t get to the city / coast quick enough.  But as I’ve gotten older and seen more of the world it’s made me appreciate how good it was to grow up in the country. What I look back on now is the mateship that you build in the small country town and no matter how far I go or how long I am away for my mates and those friendships back home have never changed. My last release ‘Aint It Funny How’ explores all of this, give it a listen!


How did you first start playing music?


I was 12 years old when I first picked up the guitar. I had a couple of mates who were a bit older than me start a band and thought they were the best thing ever. And I guess I wanted to be like them so I started playing by myself and started writing songs pretty much straight away in a little notebook which, I have still have today. Some of the lyrics are hilarious. 


What’s been happening recently?


I’ve been busy, it’s been a massive year actually. Now footy has finished up I have been playing gigs most weekend in a few new places such as Albury/Wodonga. I’ve just started working on some new tracks so hopefully will be able to release new music sometime next year as well!


Your single ‘Place I’ve Never Been’ is out on November 4, what influenced the sound and songwriting?


This song is a combination of a lot of difference influences. I loved acoustic punk-rock songs as a teenager and the guitar / strings element in this track defiantly draw upon those sounds from Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World and Angels and Airways. But what I love about this song is the subtle electronic songs. These songs were all drawn from my more recent influences such as Allday. This is a sound /style I really want to explore further in the future. 


But the track completely changed from what I originally had in mind for it. The song started as just an acoustic guitar played lying on my lap as a percussion/guitar fusion, similar to how Ziggy Alberts made a lot of his earlier stuff. But the track kept evolving however, the originally chords were kept and we decided to add the electronic elements instead of the percussion elements to give the song a bit of extra punch. 


How did this single come about?


I never really intended this song to be on the EP actually. But when I showed my procedure my original idea, he loved the concept of it and immediately saw the potential direction we could take the track so the track evolved and came together really quickly. Lyrically, I had this idea in mind of exploring what it’s like to realize you are falling in love for the time and rather than fight it, letting yourself open up to it and becoming vulnerable with someone again. 


Where and when did you record/produce/master and who did you work with?


Nearly a year ago to the day I took the 12 hour drive to Byron to record the EP with producer Billy Otto who produced the whole track. Talents Bryon local, Phoebe Neumann also features on the track with the female backing vocals. The track was mixed by Caleb M. Harris who is based in Nashville Tennesse in the States. And the song was mastered by Trent Dobson who is based in the UK – so it was a bit of a global effort!


How was it working with (Producer) Billy Otto?


Working with Billy was incredible. I had zero experience recording music before and Billy made the whole process so easy and so much fun. Some of my best memories will forever be making the demos in the his little house on the hill. 


How did you approach the recording/production process?


As this was my first experience recording I didn’t know what to expect so I just went in with an open mind and didn’t want to get bogged down by what I thought they tracks should song like. I am so happy for this because the songs turned out even better than I had imagined. It did get a little tricky after I had to move back home after 3 weeks because of covid, but we made it work and it was just such an amazing experience overall. 


Who was responsible for the Artwork and Creative for this project and how did the concepts come about?


Ashley Cooper, who is a member of the Holy Moly Artist and Gum Records family designed the artwork and creative for this track. The track is all set in the early hours of the morning and the cover reflects what a dawn looks like in the country with Australian native fauna looking like shadows. 


Your debut EP is on the way, please tell us about the writing process and some idea of what we can expect:


It is my debut EP and it is called ‘Avem Haven’. I started the writing process by booking an isolated cabin in the hills of Kangaroo Valley in NSW. I literally just spent 4 days, from sunrise to sunset, by myself coming up with song concepts, playing with some sound ideas and writing lyrics. Looking back it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The cabin I stayed in was called ‘Avem Haven’ and I named the EP after it because without that trip there would have been no EP to release!


What are you listening to at the moment?


At the moment I am trying to really focus on what sort of sounding artist I want to be. A big thing for me is making my live performances sound like the recorded tracks using my loop station. So I am currently listening to Felipe Baldomir, I love how he structures his songs using a loop station and how he uses open guitar tunings. I am also listening to Ziggy Alberts who is a massive inspiration of mine. I love his lyrics and cannot wait for his new album ‘Dancing In The Dark’ to be released. And lastly I am also listening to the Melbourne band ‘Slowly Slowly’. Again I love there conceptual lyrical writing and their overall sound. I saw them live the other week of or the first time and they were honestly the best live act I’ve ever seen. 


What’s planned for the remainder of 2022 going into 2023?

This year, I have a few more shows planned in regional NSW. But next year I am planning my first every official tour to promote the release of my EP which I am super excited about. Expect shows to be down the south coast and in the major NSW cities such as Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Albury and Wollongong.


Favourite food and place to hangout?


I don’t know if I have one favourite food, anything cooked by mum never misses though. And being at home when all the family is home is always my favourite place to be!


You may also like

Leave a Comment