Ever since we first laid ears on Newcastle singer-songwriter James Bennett’s new single Weird World last week, we’ve been spinning it on repeat.
So, fresh off the track’s release, we caught up with the artist himself to chat all about it, his writing processes, and what the future holds.
With a brilliant new single fresh under his belt, we caught up with Newcastle-based singer-songwriter James Bennett for a chat.
HAPPY: Hey. how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
JAMES: Hey guys, never been better! I’m currently in Tweed Heads and getting ready for a bunch of NSW shows this weekend in Murwillumbah, Newcastle and Gladstone promoting the new single and just doin what I do!
HAPPY: We’re loving Weird World! How does it feel having the track out there in the world?
JAMES: Thanks! I’m stoked you like it! It’s just such a great feeling to have the first single out for this album. I haven’t released any new music since 2017 which is the longest gap since I’ve been in the game. This whole release is super special to me I’ve worked so hard to get things how I want them, and it’s taken years to get to this point. All the feedback so far has been amazing, I couldn’t be happier!
HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the track?
JAMES: Sure! Weird World is a song I wrote a while back but one I wanted to save for the right time I knew I didn’t have the right words in my head to explain how I wanted the song to sound so I kinda left it for a while. The lyrics changed a lot over time and I knew it would have to be perfect before I recorded it otherwise I would have regretted not waiting until it was perfected! To be honest, it’s just a bit of poetry combined with the idea that none of us have any idea what the hell we’re doing here, and I’ll leave it at that haha.
HAPPY: You’ve got a few releases under your belt now… did you approach the writing/recording of this new track differently at all?
JAMES: Hopefully, I’ll keep putting out albums until I leave this place! I have a long way to go to meet the records of my idols but you’re right, two EP’s and now working towards my third album… there is a few.
I have this convo a lot and I don’t think my writing style will ever change—I write to satisfy a certain feeling or craving. I struggle to write with other people and I almost always write songs when I’m alone without any distraction. I feel like if I was to write a bunch of songs specifically to go to one album then I wouldn’t be giving each song what it deserved. Instead, I like to put all my attention on the song I’m working on at the time and then when it comes to recording, I choose my favourites.
In terms of recording for this track (and the rest of the album), I did a few things I’ve never done like recording live with just drums. I’ve recorded live with a band but not just me and the drummer alone. This was crucial to getting the feel of the song ‘right and tight’. I also did bits of the recording in other places and then pieced it together which I had never done before.
HAPPY: You’ve played some pretty huge shows in your career so far. Have there been any particular ‘woah’ moments for you?
JAMES: Yeah I’ve been pretty lucky for a ‘kid from the bush’ haha. I’ve had too many ‘Woah’ moments to count! The most memorable was being one of a few acts to warm up the stage for one of my favourite artists and inspirations John Butler. That was incredible and in my home town of Port Macquarie, which was even cooler! Another was supporting for Newton Faulkner in Newcastle. Hanging with him was definitely a career highlight!
Another epic show was just recently in Sandy Point VIC. There’s a great little music community down there and my second time playing ‘Sandy Point Music Club’ it sold out, and was one of those ‘pin drop’ audiences, so quiet and respectful I have to say that gig was definitely a ‘woah’ moment. I got to share it with my good mate Nick Saxon supporting me which made it even better! I have so many moments in my memory, I’m glad you asked the question! I’m very grateful to be able to do what I do and I don’t ever take it for granted. I’m a pretty fridge lucky dude!
HAPPY: Are there any particular artists you’re really loving at the moment?
JAMES: Yep! Here are a few… Nick Saxon, Kurt Vile, Pat Tierney, Emily Rigz, and Vena Klymo, to name a few. Apart from Kurt Vile, they’re all Aussies and friends of mine as well haha.
HAPPY: What’s next for James Bennett? Any other exciting plans in the works?
JAMES: Always exciting plans and never anything less! After the album is released in June, I intend to do a national release tour in all the capital cities and a few rural towns. I hope to also release a live album too (I’ve been asked enough). I generally play solo at my live gigs so its kind of a different experience and I’ve wanted to do a live album for a while so its due for sure!
Then after all that, I hope to do a HUGE rural tour and beat my record of 75 gigs in three months across 4 states and 1 territory. Maybe I’ll get to 100 in 4 months or something crazy haha.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
JAMES: Cheers yourself!
Weird World is available now. Listen above.