“I’m psyched to go back and play” - Benjamin Francis Leftwich on his career and Norwich show

Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Photo: Courtesy of Chuff Media

Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Photo: Courtesy of Chuff Media - Credit: Courtesy of Chuff Media

Benjamin Francis Leftwich chats ahead of his show at OPEN in Norwich.

Following the release of his single Gratitude last year, Benjamin Francis Leftwich promptly announced a Spring 2019 tour that will arrive at OPEN in Norwich on April 3.

This single was the first track taken from his latest album of the same name which was released on March 15.

'I've been really touched by the reaction. For me, it's one of the realest albums that I've made so far,' explains Leftwich.

'The title Gratitude kind of summarises where my heads at with thinking about my career so far, I'm pleased that people seem to really love it.'

'Some of the songs off the I Am With You EP and some of the early songs we've released off Gratitude - I have had some really beautiful words spoken to me about them.'

'I think for us artists that's why we do it, to really get into people's hearts and have them be fully invested in what we're doing, and to gain something from it.'

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Leftwich mentioned on a few occasions that he had always wanted to release three albums before he reached thirty - something that he has now achieved with the release of Gratitude.

'I just felt like the three albums, one at 21, one at 26, and one at 29, were a good spread of three different perspectives on the same thing which was my experience of life, love, ups and downs and waviness.'

'I feel like that's what I was able to do with the albums, and having a good chunk of time between each one, in general, allowed me to summarise my experiences preceding the album.'

'Every time after I finish recording an album I text all my friends and my loved ones and I'm like 'This is probably gonna be my last album', and everyone thinks I'm mad but it's because I sometimes feel like I've said what I need to say now. I don't do music to tour or to get this, or gain this, or success.'

When asked whether he felt like the three albums were almost a kind of trilogy, Leftwich said that as he wanted to produce all three albums in his twenties and 'to that extent it does make me think of it as a trilogy.'

'Using that word makes me think we'll re-release it and call it a trilogy and release it as a three part Christmas special (laughs) which I don't think will happen.'

'It does leave me thinking, what do I want to say next? And what has emotional weight?'

'A lot of us can sit and write hooks all day, and we can write songs, write words and recording them in a nice studio, but to release something that I'm super emotionally invested in and passionate about is what I'm after, and I think what a lot of artists are after.'

'I think to do that just requires honesty and sometimes to think honestly it might mean someone coming to the conclusion that the honest things to do is not release anything for 2 or 3 years, and maybe get to 2 or 3 years and go 'I still don't think there's enough depth to it, let's wait another 10 years.''

His latest releases encompass more electronic elements including darker, more intricately layered production whilst still maintaining the raw emotion that has resonated throughout his work to date.

'I think it was just what's best for the songs, what reflects where my spirit is at with the kind of music that I'm really loving right now.'

'My thing is, I just do what's right for the songs and sometimes we do a big production and spend many days on it, even a week, and it's just not right at the end so I just need to go back and drop an acoustic guitar.'

'What I really love about that music is unfiltered energy, especially the modern stuff; a total disregard of classic form and song writing structure, and authority for that matter, which I really love.'

With the tour looming, Leftwich is excited to be returning to Norwich very soon.

'Norwich will be cool, I've played the Arts Centre there a few times and always love that venue. I've had some good shows there over time and I'm psyched to go back and play.'

'We filmed a lot of the Shine video in Norwich on a morning off. It's going back some time but on my first ever tour, I remember playing a metal venue in Norwich, which was a bit weird.'

• Tickets to see Benjamin Francis Leftwich on April 3 are available for £15 advance from OPEN's website• For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Twitter and Instagram