Interview: Benjamin Francis Leftwich

November 5th, 2016 @ The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee

-How has touring been for you in the last couple months for “After The Rain”?

It’s been good man; it’s been pretty non-stop. I’ve been on tour since March in the UK, and we’ve been out here in Canada and Europe. It’s been beautiful. I’m really proud of these songs and I love playing them and sharing them with people and seeing new parts of the world that I haven’t seen in a while. I feel very at peace with music and I feel good about it.

-Are you excited to kickoff of your North American tour?

Yeah, it’s cool. I’m very excited and I’ve always loved touring here. You know, everyone we’re out here with is really nice. I’m very pleased to be here.

-After your first album, what made you return to writing music and creating a new album?

Well I put out “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm” in 2011 and toured that for three years and then I needed some time away from touring and from the music game, but I was creating all through that whole time even though I didn’t feel like sharing it with anyone. I really wanted to make a body of work I was proud of and I always use songwriting as an audio-will, you know? I got to the point with “After The Rain” when we had a body of work I was proud of that I felt represented me musically and personally. I don’t see any distinction between musical life and personal life.

It’s a record that I had to make. I went through a lot of stuff during that time away. I lost my father and things were kind of crazy for a little while, so the record sums up that time for me.

-Would you say the album is a new beginning?

Kind of, yeah. I called it “After The Rain” because everyone knows that feeling of walking out of your house after the rain and everything is fresh and it feels like a new perspective. The title is referential to the time before releasing the album. 

-How do you think “After The Rain” is different from your previous album?

I think whether you’re a musician or not you grow up a lot in four years between the ages of 22 and 26. I think it’s a lot more colorful from a production perspective and a song writing perspective. I think the lyrics are less ambiguous than they were before. The message is a lot clearer.

-What’s your favorite song off the album?

That always changes. At the moment my two favorites are probably “Tilikum” and “Kicking Roses.”

-Who are some of your primary musical influences?

So many. I grew up listening to the Beatles and Nina Simone when my dad was playing it around the house. Growing up through school I was into pop-punk when I was a teen and then fell in love with the big singer-songwriters of my generation. Ryan Adams, Pj Harvey, Elliott Smith, Neil Young. Now all I listen to is hip-hop and rap. My taste changes by what I relate to with amazing energy in songwriting.