Benjamin Clementine

Okrogla miza, intervju ali pogovor
31. 8. 2017 - 18.00

V torek Benjamin Clementine nastopi v veliki dvorani Kina Šiška. Ob tej priložnosti smo ga povprašali o novem albumu, pa tudi o nekaj manj znanih rečeh, kot so njegova avtobiografija in še neizdana pesniška zbirka.

Za splošne informacije o Benjaminu, za katere v intervjuju ni bilo časa, si preberite recenzijo prvega albuma:


N: Your second album I Tell a Fly comes out on September 15th and it started as a play of two flies travelling the world. Obviously it’s now an album, but how many elements of the play stayed in it? Is it just the themes or the characters as well, some dialogue maybe?

B: It’s everything together really, there’s a ballad, there’s a theme. The theme is set, obviously, if we are honest with each other, it’s about Syrians and the refugees and all of that, seeking asylum. So it’s set in a form of a movement, people moving away to have a safe place to stay. Of course, I lived in America when I was writing this, most of what is on the album. And that’s because of my experience of feeling like I need to move to somewhere to get something, travel around. I’ve been doing that for a long time in my life, so I thought that it was appropriate that I wrote an album about this way of living.

N: That takes me to my second question. The first album At Least For Now explored the themes of duality, of Paris and London and of Child and Adult. With the themes of the songs we’ve already heard off I Tell A Fly, such as Phantom of Aleppoville and God Save The Jungle, is it fair to say that while still deeply personal, the themes on the new album expand beyond your direct surroundings?

B: Yeah, it’s still personal but of course it’s an extension of the first album. Of course I’m sharing my sentiments concerning what’s happening in the world we live in. The ones that have come closer to me, I believe also to you, is the Syrians, who are going through a lot of hardship, and the need to help them. And it’s an occurrence that happens every now and then by different cultures, different religions, different ethnic minorities, and I think that it was appropriate that I made this album.

N: The material for the new album was written not long after your debut had been released 2,5 years ago and it can only be released now because of contractual obligations. Being such a prolific artist, are the songs for the third album already written? And will it be “the love album” as you perhaps jokingly remarked in 2015?

B: (laughs) Yeah, I really hate love albums because I haven’t really had a lot of experience with the thing called love. I find it very hard to write a literal love song, but of course, all of my music I think is for love and I sing a lot about love. But hopefully the third album, which I’m looking forward to doing maybe this year or beginning of next year, you know, I’m going to write a story about a relationship.

N: And will it be set as a play as well?

B: Yeah, always, always. I can’t write something without making it a play, I can’t.

N: You said in a recent interview that you would like to be a playwright once you’re done with music. Does that mean there is a finite point in your career when you decide to call it a day and start focusing on other art projects?

B: Yeah, I mean, it’s again an extension. Of course I’m making music now. I’ve written two plays already and that’s my first album and my second album so it’s just a matter of putting it down in a book and getting a bunch of actors in the theatre to somehow bring it into light. But of course, yes, I will be done very soon. I think that as the day ends I’m getting a bit tired. I know that a lot of artists have recorded fifty solo albums but for me, that’s not my call. I will not do that. I haven’t got the determination and the power and the amount of ways in which to write one song fifty times, to be doing that. I just can’t use my time and my life like that. I need to do something that I really adore, which is writing plays and just creating new stuff. And I think I get bored easily. So yes, I will stop, possibly after my next album. I don’t know, maybe not, but I think so.

N: So there is still hope then for the I Tell A Fly play somewhere along the way or even At Least For Now?

B: Of course, I’m looking forward to next year. We’re talking to The Globe Theatre and hopefully we can set the play to light around next year, fingers crossed. And then from there I think I’ll...yeah, touring is for young people (laughs).

N: How big a role did you play in making your music videos, save for, obviously, playing the lead?

B: It’s one of the most important things that I need to do and focus on. Of course if I’m doing videos I have the need to trust the person I’m working with. And we come up with ideas, both of us, the director and me. They have to understand why I wrote the song and how I wrote the song. So it’s a collaboration, much more than just a director telling me what to do. Because I can’t afford to do that with what I do. Yeah, it’s nothing due to ego, it’s just a matter of knowing what you want to give.

N: For a few years now there has been talk of a collection of poetry you wrote with two various titles I’ve come across: Through The Eyes of a wild Greyhound and Life Through the Eyes of A Library Hound. How is that coming along? As I understand you had it finished back in 2015?

B: I did and I have. But again, I find out that I can’t do two things at the same time. I would rather I stopped with this music and then just concentrate on playwriting and publishing books, so that that’s another chapter. I was very excited in finding a new way to express myself but I think I’ll just hold on to that until I’m done and then I’ll release them.

N: Your songs come to be when you set music to your words. Do you decide which of your poems will be made into songs or do the poems decide for themselves?

B: The poems decide for themselves. Some poems are much more important than others for some reason. You write seventy poems and then only 20 of them stand out more than the other ones. Then I make songs from that. That’s how I make music.

N: Speaking of your literary work, how is the autobiography coming along?

B: (Laughs) Well I’ve been talking to some people but again these things...for me... As a fact right now I’m thinking about really going into it and asking people to help me as well, because most of the time people get me wrong through other journalists, they write things that are not what I want. I get described in a certain way that I do not want. So I think that it’s important that I first tell people who I am and all that. Of which I don’t really care about to be honest but I think I need to do that for people to really understand me. So that no one else can say something that is not true. So in due course it will come out, hopefully next year. I’ve already started talking to some people, but yeah, hopefully next year.

N: And what of your dictionary?

B: (Laughs) Again, after my music, when I’m done, when I’m retired from this touring and singing and playing music on stage, I’ll publish all of these things.

N: Is there anything you would like to say to the people that will come out to see you at Kino Šiška on September 5th?

B: I hope they come out jolly and happy and open their hearts and make their minds very broad, because what they are going to see isn’t something they’ve seen before, that’s for sure. So I hope they accept it and go home and be happy. 

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finally one good topic interview(fast but good) with benjo about art and plans, everything about life is allready in his music...


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