For Brisbane singer songwriter Ben Forbes, aka BANFF, 2015 has been a bit of a rollercoaster. From writing songs at home to progressing on to more stages down the east coast and the surrounds through this year as one of triple J Unearthed’s most exciting new artists of the year, he’s not had much time to take stock of it all. Ahead of his coveted slot performing at the Byron Bay leg of this year’s Falls Festival, Forbes comments on how the last few months have treated him.
“It’s been a crazy year,” he agrees. “I’m so glad that people have listened to BANFF and have enjoyed it! I couldn’t be happier.”
“I can’t wait for Falls, I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in it, I’ve never been before. I’m pretty excited to bring my band mates down with me and perform in a slightly different environment to what we’ve been used to this year; it’s definitely the biggest festival production we’ve been a part of.”
Releasing his debut EP Future Self this year and continuing to build up positive momentum surrounding his live shows both at home in Brisbane and beyond has seen BANFF land some pretty awesome support slots and coming up in 2016, he’ll be heading over to the UK to showcase at The Great Escape – a platform known to launch many Australians’ profiles in Europe. In terms of a cataclysmic moment where Forbes realised this project was more than just a songwriting avenue to dabble in, he remembers his EP tour and the effect it had on him as a performer.
“When I toured my debut EP; I played some nice little intimate rooms in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast and it pretty much sold out. It was at that point where I was like, ‘Oh shit – people have actually listened to this music and have gone out of their way to buy a ticket to see how I play the songs live,’ – that was definitely a point where I realised there was an interest in what I was doing and people seemed to care.”
“I guess I’ve just rolled with it, to be honest.” he furthers. “So many great things have popped up, particularly in the last couple of months and it’s really changed my thinking about the whole project. I guess I went into it a little bit innocent; I just wanted to write music and be really proud of that side of things. Now, releasing a tune and having an audience respond to it has opened up a whole new lot of opportunities; I think I’m rolling with it at the moment, I’m really excited to see what the New Year brings after Falls.”
While Forbes’ profile as BANFF has risen considerably in Australia off the back of triple J love, the Future Self release and well-received live shows, he admits to remaining slightly shell-shocked about the reception to the music well into the project’s development. Especially looking ahead to next year, Forbes comments on how much BANFF has changed and evolved already.
“I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do when I had songs for Future Self,” he admits. “I was just writing songs in my lounge room. I didn’t kick off the BANFF project until I was in the studio with my producer; we did some writing sessions and he was like, ‘Man, you should record some of these,’ and so we did. That created the whole BANFF project, so I feel like I was kinda under-prepared, because I never really knew what was on the cards for me, from a recording perspective. Now I’ve got so much accrued knowledge from the past year about what I want to do with the project and what sound I’m going for.”
“It’s a total trip.” he laughs. :This whole thing was just about becoming a better songwriter for me and challenging my technical and creative boundaries – that was the first and foremost priority. Then in releasing a song and people being interested in it and seeing Soundcloud plays take off…selling out shows and being asked to support some awesome artists throughout the year has just been like a smack in the face, but a really good one!”
The Byron Bay Falls Festival runs from December 31st through until January 2nd. Hit up www.fallsfestival.com to find out more about this year’s event!