"I had never seen this side of music - the way that people were openly coming up and talking to me about how songs had affected and helped them." - Ben Lumber.
Acres are preparing to release their brand new album 'Lonely World' this coming Friday - marking their first full-length album since Ben Lumber took over as frontman and vocalist.
We caught up with Ben to talk through the writing of 'Lonely World', sourcing inspiration from his infant son, taking over as frontman for Acres and so much more.
FOR YOU, HOW DOES ‘LONELY WORLD’ COMPARE TO THE SONGS THAT YOU WERE CREATING WHEN YOU PUT THE ‘IN SICKNESS & HEALTH’ EP TOGETHER?
Says Ben: “The EP was almost like an experiment for the band. I joined when everything had already been written and recorded musically, so it was just left for me to put my own stamp on it. I came in never having written this style of music before - though when I try and write, it is always completely honest and in a way that I want people to be able to connect with. I had that going for me straight away. Yet if you listen, every song on 'In Sickness & Health' is a little bit different. It's almost like a mismatch, but we wanted to see what people were responding to about me, and what direction the band was going. The album, I like to think, is a total step up from that. We had so much more time to demo and write, and I feel like it has taken the band to a whole other level.”
IT'S VERY RARE THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO USE YOUR RELEASES TO TEST THE WATERS IN SUCH A WAY.
"It was really nice, but it was really scary at the same time. Surprisingly some of the songs that I thought wouldn't go down well were the ones that people loved. It definitely helped being proved wrong and learning from it as we went through the whole writing process for the album. It gave us the chance to really think about it all, and make sure we were doing what we wanted to do."
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT STARTING THE PROCESS OF CREATING 'LONELY WORLD' THEN?
"I think when we started writing I had an awful lot going on - I had just had a baby as well. I had so much in my head. Aside from writing songs about him, I also really wanted to try and convey a whole message. The way I did that was I started writing about shit that was actually happening."
CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE?
"Well, the title track is about a friend of mine who met a girl and totally bailed on life - he moved out of his parents and so did she, and they lived in a car for three months in a Tesco car park. It was fucking crazy. They ended up going their separate ways and he was left with absolutely nothing. No family, nowhere to go, nothing - so I said he could come and stay with me for a bit. We were just having beers one night and he just said 'man, it's a lonely world' - it’s from there that I managed to write the track. That also helped form the message of the album: if you're dealing with problems, there are people out there dealing with the same stuff as you. You are not alone."
THE ONLY WAY TO REALLY CONVEY THOSE FEELINGS IS THROUGH WRITING ABOUT YOUR ACTUAL EXPERIENCES. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY TO SHOW TRUE EMOTION.
"As a vocalist I’m a big fan of the voices in bands, especially through the lyrics and the feelings that they are portraying. People come up to me now at shows and say that our music has helped them, and that's exactly what I want to do. It's like therapy for me being to write these things down. I'm not exactly a closed off person, but I’m also not the sort of person who will shout out what I have going on for everyone to hear. For me, songwriting and putting lyrics together is how I get those things off my chest."
WHAT EFFECT HAS HAVING ACRES IN YOUR LIFE HAD IN TERMS OF LETTING THESE EMOTIONS LOOSE COMPARED TO HOW YOU DID IT IN THE PAST?
"I'd never experienced anything like it until I joined the band. The first time we went to Europe was the first time I had never seen this side of music - the way that people were openly coming up and talking to me about how songs had affected and helped them. I had never had that before - the way that people were connecting was something totally new. It was really nice knowing that I could write songs in this way."
HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE FOR YOU IN TERMS OF BEING MORE THAN JUST A BAND TO PEOPLE? HOW HAVE YOU COME TO TERMS WITH BEING A FIGUREHEAD FOR FEELING THESE SORTS OF THINGS?
"It took some time to get used to - the first time I saw it was when we would play 'In Sickness', and this one time there were a couple of girls at the front who just broke down crying. That connection to the music is something I’d never seen. The only other time I had experienced it before was when I went to see HIM and watched people cry to those songs. You just have to take it all in. With Acres it feels like a family. When you play and you see that all the people in Acres T-shirts are stood together, it creates such a special atmosphere."
SO IN TERMS OF 'LONELY WORLD', HOW WAS IT FOR YOU BRINGING THESE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS TO THE REST OF THE BAND?
"They have always been super supportive. If I've written about something and really believe in it, the rest of the guys are totally cool with it and don't question it. The first song that I actually wrote for the album was 'You Are Not', which is about my son. I didn't know how it was going to go down in terms of a first demo for our record, but I think they knew how personal and special it was for me. They know that whatever I write about is always going to be as honest as possible."
SAYING THAT, HOW HAS BECOMING A FATHER AFFECTED YOUR OUTLOOK ON THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO SING ABOUT?
"It's a hard subject - I was talking to Tom [Weaver] from Casey about why his band was ending and he said 'I'm in a good place, and I've got nothing to write about anymore'. I guess it falls into that a bit. There were times on 'Lonely World' where I had to take myself back to the moments that I was writing about, and I tend to close myself off when I do that. Getting into that zone and mind-set means locking myself away in a room away from my family.
"When I first met my fiancé, I don't think she really understood what I had to put myself through - she would say 'your mood is all over the place'. You have to do it though because the last thing that I would ever want to do is write bullshit songs that don't actually mean anything."
WHAT DO YOU ULTIMATELY WANT 'LONELY WORLD' TO REPRESENT BOTH FOR THE BAND, BUT ALSO FOR YOU?
"I just want it to really speak to people - that was the main objective. I just really want people to connect with this record. If I listen to the old EP and demos and such, they pinpoint very different points in my life. When I'm older I'm excited to be able to look back at all of these tracks and see them as memories for life. That's what music is. That's how things were and this is how things are."
SO SAYING THAT, WHAT DOES THIS ALBUM REPRESENT ON A BIGGER SCALE FOR YOU AND THE BAND?
"I've always said that this band will continue until people stop caring and when it stops effectively connecting with people. That's what we love doing and will continue to love doing. These are four of my best friends and making music with them is an absolute dream. For us this isn't about trying to make it big or be famous. We love making music. We love hanging out. We loving being out on the road. As long as people are enjoying that with us then we will keep on doing it."
Acres are set to release their new album 'Lonely World' this coming Friday, August 09 through A Wolf At Your Door Records. Check out their latest single 'Lullaby' below: