Recent years have seen Benny Walker play some of the country’s favourite festivals and support some of Australia’s finest artists. Now he is taking to the road on his solo tour, Wine, Women & Soul, which will see Benny switch between guitar and piano to soulfully highlight his new songs from Undercover.
Hi Benny, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte today. You were named the winner of the ‘Best Aboriginal Act of the Year’ at 2016’s The Age Music Victoria Awards. First of all, congratulations on this achievement. Can you tell us a bit about what this experience was like for you?
Thanks. It was a real honour to be nominated, let alone win. The Age and Music Victoria put on a pretty great party that night. It was a massive buzz.
Your latest single ‘Ghost’ debuted at #1 on the iTunes Blues chart – yet another incredible achievement. It’s said to be inspired by the Tibetan Bhuddist philosophy referred to as the ‘hungry ghost’. Can you explain this further?
It’s about people trying to fill a void in their lives by trying to accrue things like power, money and material possessions. This song was inspired by the so-called “leaders” of the world and how frustrated we can all get. They make the decisions and we wear the consequences.
Your music is described as ‘tales of love and loss, mixed with a passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves’. Where do you find you source a lot of your inspiration from when it comes to the creation of your tracks?
I take inspiration anywhere I can get it. My own and others’ experiences and frustrations. I try to keep the channels open to take in anything that I could use for a song.
‘Ghost’ was co-written by yourself and ARIA Award winning producer Jan Skubiszewski, who also produced your forthcoming six track EP ‘Undercover’. Can you tell us a bit about what the co-writing process was like?
Co-writing with Jan was great. We’d hit it off really well in the process of recording some of my other tracks and decided we should write together. We sat in the control room of Jan’s studio, him at the keyboard and myself with the guitar, throwing ideas back and forth. It’s really exciting when you find a part that sticks or a melody that works. Writing with another person heightens that sensation and it’s really nice to share it.
And what has the production process been like for ‘Undercover’?
From the moment Jan and I started working together, I knew these recordings were going to be a big step towards a new sound. We took inspiration from some of our favourite old soul and blues recordings and then added a lot of contemporary sounds and production on top of that. Working with Jan has made me a better musician, songwriter and artist.
In recent years you’ve played some of the country’s favourite festivals, as well as supporting some of Australia’s finest artists. Do you have a particularly memorable experience from this time spent touring?
It’s hard to put my finger on one particular show, but if I had to go on scenery and unique experience, it would have to be Walking With Spirits Festival at Beswick Falls, NT. It’s a waterfall on the Beswick Community that is normally closed off to the public and they hold a festival each year. Tickets are extremely limited and you have to take a 4wd to get there. Totally worth it!
What hopes are held for the future of Benny Walker?
To continue to fulfill myself through creating and playing music.
When & Where: Old Castlemaine Gaol, Castlemaine – October 7, Turtles Bend, Teesdale, Geelong – October 8, The Workers Club, Geelong – October 14 & Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo – October 28.
Tickets are on sale now via bennywalkermusic.com.