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Ben Pryer


IT only takes a glance of Ben Pryer to know he is not someone…

PHOTO CREDITJas Poole Photography

who follows the crowd. The music industry has a fluidity and diversity that encourages variation and progression. Ben Pryer, in many ways, alludes to a golden age and style of music one does not encounter too much in 2017. Call it Rockabilly or Rock ‘n’ Roll: it is a fun, toe-provoking and captivating breath of air in an industry that suffers commercial blandness and overly-precise songs. I talk to the West Sussex-raised artist about the music of the 1950s and its influence on him.

He talks about his eponymous debut album and what we can expect from it; the relevance of artists like Elvis Presley and how, with thousands of fans behind him, it feels to be a unique and eye-catching artist – someone who not only captures the heart but plays music to get the body shaking!


Hi, Ben. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! I’m great!

My week has been so busy: but that’s a good sign, I think; seeing as I’m releasing my debut album!

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

Of course!

My name Is Ben Pryer. I’m a twenty-one-year-old Rock & Roll singer/songwriter from West Sussex, England - with a huge passion for all things music!

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Your eponymous album is out. What has the writing and recording experience been like? Have you learnt a lot from it?


Well, the writing of the album was probably the longest part, as I really wanted to focus on creating something I knew I would be really proud of. I think the writing taught me quite a lot about myself; not only as a songwriter but also as a person. I found the purest form of expression and wielded it like a tool - to create an exact musical representation of my mind at that time.

As for the recording; that’s always fun. It’s, quite literally, the icing on the cake: the coming together of your vision.

One track that stands out to me is Heartbreak Town. Can you tell me the story behind that one?

For sure.

Heartbreak Town is, probably, the most personal song on the record. It’s how I perceive my love life, all in under four minutes - which is (also) how long most relationships seem for me. Haha.

But, it’s also how I thought a lot of other people might experience love and lust - which is where the metaphor of this literal ‘Town’ came in: a place where all the lost and lonely would be between relationships - almost like a stopover.

I really liked that idea of creating a real place for a state of mind.

How much of the music is taken from personal experience; how much is fictionalised would you say?

I think most of it is taken from personal experience, with Young J.C. being the exception - which is a fictional story I made up about what I believe it would have been like for a young man to go away to war in the 1940s.

I’ve always liked war stories so I wanted to express my interest for that, also.

Looking at you, as a twenty-one-year-old, you seem to be a man from another time. It is rare to see a Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rockabilly artist in this age. Is that the sort of music you spend your childhood listening to?


I understand it’s not the norm. for a twenty-one-year old to be playing this sort of music, but I think we all need a little change right now. I did spend a large amount of my childhood listening to early 1950s-to-late-'60s music.

Thanks to my grandad, who introduced me to many of the artists who inspire me today - and did back then. He used to play me old records of his and we’d sit there and be in total awe.

What is it about Rockabilly that speaks to you? To me, it lacks critical pressures and seems freeing and expressive. What do you get from it?

I love Rockabilly/Rock & Roll because it’s fun.

It makes you go a little bit crazy and want to get up and dance -that’s what’s always stood out to me. Nothing else really did that for me.

Elvis Presley died, more-or-less forty years ago, now. Is he someone you idolise and emulate, in a sense?

I think, most artists of the last forty years have all been inspired by Elvis, in some form - whether they know it or not! He changed music forever. There’s nothing more inspiring than that.

I’ve always idolised Presley: he was a true hero for many. In a way, Rock ‘n’ Roll has this reputation as being legendry – but best left in the past.

Are you trying to bring it back and give it a cool, contemporary edge?

I don’t think I’m consciously trying to bring anything back.

Don’t get me wrong; it’d be amazing if I were able to do that. I’m just playing my own songs in the style that I love - and hoping that people also like it as much as I do.

But, wouldn’t it be cool to see everyone dancing in polka-dot dresses and Teddy Boy suits? Haha.

What is your view on modern music and the charts? Is being a mainstream artist something you aspire to or do you think you’d have to compromise your sound too much?

I think there’s lots of great music out there: I listen to a lot of new bands, also. I’m a big fan of Mumford and Sons. I love what they’re doing.

What sort of gigs do you have coming up? Where can we see you come and play?

I’m headlining the Radweb stage at Victorious Festival in Southsea with my live band, which should be really fun. We love it over there.

We also have some exciting shows in the pipeline for my fans to get ready for!

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How does your music go down in the live setting? What kind of response have you been getting?

I think people are really taking to it!

I think they find it quite refreshing and different. I mean, everyone’s different, but even the grumpiest of guys can’t help but tap his foot!

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I heard this guy on the radio the other day, Louis Berry.

He seems like a really cool guy and his songs are wicked.

IN THIS PHOTO: Louis Berry

If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?

I’d have to start with The Sun Sessions from Jerry Lee Lewis

I think that compilation album is really what started me off on Rock & Roll – so, I owe a lot to it.

Secondly, ElvisGolden Records

It was another that really inspired me to play the guitar. I loved how diverse it was as an album.

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Lastly, John Mayer’s Born and Raised

I think it’s truly one of the most beautiful albums of the last ten years.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Never stop practising - and never give up!

If you truly believe you have something different, you should never let that go.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Could you play Don’t Be Cruel (by Elvis), please?


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