Following hot on the heels of debut EP ‘If I Was A Dinosaur, I’d Bite Yer Head Off’ released earlier this year, Manchester based singer/songwriter/good egg Ben Forrester a.k.a. Peaks is ready for round two.
‘Hollowhead‘, a collection of luscious, looping bedroom jams, picks up where the debut left off and caps off a sterling year for Peaks. The brand new EP was put together with the help of former Cleft guitar wizard Dan Wild-Beesley (in both production and the odd bit of additional instrumentation) just up the road in Whalley Range, a brisk walk from Ben’s home in Chorlton
Ahead of its release this Friday, Hollowhead is currently streaming in full with our friends Musical Mathematics. To compliment its release, we reached out to Ben so we could pick his brains about the songs that make up the EP and what went into each. Take it away, Ben.
I’ve been opening up my live shows with this track, so it made sense for it to open up the EP. It has a subtle focus on looping and building up layers of melody which is the sonic focus of the record, so it works well as an introduction. Lyrically, it’s about making decisions outside your comfort zone and embracing uncertainty.
Dear George, Dear William
This song is an open letter to my Grandfathers. They were very much my inspiration for becoming a performer and a musician, and the chorus of this track is me letting them know that I’m still living by the lessons that they taught me. The general theme of this song is about keeping sight of what makes you happy. Musically, it’s got a twiddly, early 90’s emo sound to it which I very much wanted it to have. The last section transformed in the studio into having this big, ethereal sound with lots of reverb heavy harmonies going on, it actually reminded me of some of the early Bon Iver stuff which I was super chuffed with!
Rain City, What A Pity
I wrote this song the week I was due to go in to record, so it was a little undeveloped when we started to record it. I remember feeling rather anxious about how we were going to finish it at one point. Dan, who produced the record, chilled me out and helped flesh out the structure and it’s actually ended up becoming my favourite track. I love the subtle, percussive sounds that Dan put in, which I think strengthens the overall groove of the track and it builds really well. There’s a few underlying themes to this track lyrically. I guess it’s about isolation and being too lazy to do anything about it. It’s also to do with embracing change and trying to get out of a negative head space.
Don’t Mope (Part 2)
The lyrics and vocal melody for this track were originally the acapella intro of my last EP. I started jamming out the main guitar melody one night and those lyrics just came out, so I thought it would be cool to reuse them again as I really liked the motivational element of them. Musically, it’s quite post-rock like with lots of reverb heavy guitar lines. I really like letting rip on this one when I play live and keep it building up with the delay pedal. The climactic build to this track ended up how I wanted it to in my head which I was very pleased about!
I’ll Get There Eventually
I think the general lyric notions of the EP are about motivating yourself to do something better and this track is a good way to end the record on a more light-hearted and positive note. It’s actually a song I wrote years ago and was originally a proper punk-rock track that I demoed with lots of fuzzy guitars and midi drums. We still kept it pretty scrappy production wise, giving it a lo-fi acoustic sound. I wrote it only a few months after I’d moved to Manchester and the lyrics were based on a friend of mine who always had this really laid back attitude about everything, which I really admired. As time has gone on, I’ve realised that it’s ok to over-think things sometimes and have a sense of urgency. I think it’s all about being in control of yourself and this track realises that having that balance is the key to a more positive outlook on everything.