ben wells and the middle names
Tasmanian band Ben Wells and the Middle Names are on the move. The past two years have been massive for the six piece band south of the strait – winning Unearthed Falls Festival in 2010-2011, performance slots including Festival of the Sun and Taste fest, as well opening for the likes of Art Vs Science, San Cisco and Passenger – the charming band are currently following Kate Martin on her tour around Australia.
Ben Wells, frontman of Ben Wells and the Middle Names, is excited to be touring on the mainland again this May.
‘I’m really looking forward to it,’ he says. ‘It’s going to be a long tour, we’ve got a lot of driving, but I think the shows are going to be really good.’
Since their first appearance as Unearthed winners at Falls Festival Marion Bay at the beginning of 2011, they were invited to play at the same festival to bring in 2012, this time with fewer nerves, says Wells.
‘Much less stress,’ he laughs. ‘Especially after we had done Festival of the Sun (2011) as well you kind of get an idea of how it all works at the back of the festival, and you don’t worry about too much – it’s more of a cruisy thing, and you can enjoy it more.
‘I think also we had a bit more of a name for ourselves, just around home in Tassie, so we had quite a good crowd as well. All our mates [were] up the front, which is always nice.’
Where then, did their (almost absurdly long) name come from?
‘The project originally started as a solo project that I was doing, then I started playing with a drummer,’ Ben Wells says. ‘No one really knew what his first name was, they just called him by his middle name. So it was Ben Wells and the Middle Names. And then we added members and that drummer doesn’t actually play anymore, but the name kind of stuck.’
Ben Wells and the Middle Names are most definitely on the rise. Their charming, catchy indie pop music and live performances have been rapidly catching the attention of crowds across the country, but the band have other concerns than their increasing fame.
‘The six of us are all just really good friends, and we have so much fun playing live,’ Ben says. ‘We try not to worry too much about what people expect from us. I mean the main thing that we worry about, being from Tassie, [is] we want to be able to play shows on the mainland, whenever there’s an opportunity, whenever there’s an offer for us to go on a tour, we’d want to be able to take it. The main thing we worry about is financially or having the time to be able to do everything.’
With the extensive touring across the country, how do the band stay sane?
‘You should probably ask Hannah (their violinist) that question hey, being the only girl in the band?’ Wells laughs. ‘It’s not too bad… you’ve just got to have an iPod full of music and give each other space.’
With the recent release of their first EP called House Come Home, Wells is happy with the reaction from fans. ‘[It’s been] really good so far,’ he says. ‘It’s always nerve wracking I think. Especially because we recorded the EP this time last year and we’ve only just released [it].
In songs like Robin Hood, it obvious that the band are coming from a happy place. For Ben Wells, he insists that he writes songs only from personal experience. ‘I try and write things that I have experienced or can directly relate to, rather than try and write from someone else’s perspective,’ Ben says. ‘Being 19 and 20, when the EP was written, was basically songs just about that. It was a fun period – playing at festivals, [having] just turned 18 – that sort of thing.’
There is a noticeable difference in each song on the new EP, something that Wells acknowledges was a conscious decision. ‘Even with our lifestyle as well we try and we never want to pigeon hole ourselves into one genre of music,’ Wells muses. ‘We enjoy listening to different types of music, quiet folky stuff to rock essentially.
‘I think we wanted an EP that shows what we do live. Break down a live show. It’s awesome when you can play songs where everyone is getting into it, and it’s awesome to play songs that are intimate, where people are listening to what you have to say,’ he says. ‘I think we wanted to have a bit of both – to have the kind of song which people think is catchy and sing along to, but then we wanted to have songs on there that people can appreciate seriously as well.’
Although the recording process is still new to the band (‘I’ve only recently really started to appreciate recording,’ says Wells, it’s plain to see that the band loves touring. ‘I love playing live. I’d definitely love to do that all year round. I’m obviously pumped about it.’
Ben Wells and the Middle Names are currently on tour with Kate Martin. Find all the details here!