Guest Playlist: Ben Wright Smith shares the tracks which influenced his new album Echo Lodge

Ben Wright Smith

Ben Wright Smith, Melbourne-based singer and multi-instrumentalist has just dropped his album Echo Lodge. It’s a beautiful collection of songs, comprised of his two earlier EP’s, Psychotropical (2018) and Volcano God Head Explodes (2020), as well as three new tracks.

With the contents of the album being recorded and gradually released over the past three years, it’s a significant milestone for Wright Smith have it presented as a coherent collection of songs. As he stated:  “Even though I’ve been releasing the music as we’ve been recording it, it’s nice to hear it all as an album now. In the end, it all just melts together.” 

His latest video, for “New Breeze” features performances from Rhys Mitchell (Upper Middle Bogan, Glitch) and Maria Angelico (Sisters, Bad Jews). They were pretty deadly with a leafblower and it was filmed in Ben’s house. We can only imagine the effort involved in tidying up post-shoot.

Echo Lodge is out now. Ben writes songs to brighten your day. These are full of upbeat, good-time vibes coming down the line. Echo Lodge is a pleasure to listen to.

To celebrate the launch of Echo Lodge, Ben Wright Smith has put together a playlist of the tracks which inspired the album, and his reason for it. It makes for a great read, and there are some fascinating choices. I discovered a few favourites listening to this.

Cassiano “Onda”

I love the groove and the feel of this tune. With Echo Lodge I had made a decision that I wanted to move away from layered electric guitars that was such a big part of the first record. I found myself falling back in love with a lot of the late 70’s Brazilian stuff. I love how this song is propelled by the groove and seems light but there is heaps going on.

Lô Borges “O Trem Azul”

Another Brazilian tune here. For me it was this period which really inspired the acoustic guitar tones for the record. We double recorded a lot of the acoustics with different tunings and ran them through some nice analogue compressors to give them this gleam.

Tamam Shud “Bali Water”

I used to love the film ‘The Morning of the Earth’ when I was a teenager getting into surfing. This soundtrack disappears and returns every so often and I’m reminded just how dreamy it is. Once again, this stuff just has the best tones. It’s full but never too imposing. I like the thin drums and the acoustic guitars working with the flute.

Chris Bell “Speed of Sound”

I feel like my first record The Great Divorce was hugely influenced by Big Star but moving away from guitars I felt ‘Echo Lodge’ had more in common with this underrated Chris Bell record. I love how strained and emotional his voice is and how direct the lyrics are. Moving away from the guitar-heavy stuff I’d been writing before it was a lot of this late 70’s early 80’s folk stuff where these amazing analogue synthesizers are at play. In recording echo lodge, we made a vow to only use real synths so no plug-ins. It was hard but the only way to get this sound felt like we needed the real thing.

Eurythmics  “I Saved the World Today”

Once again, this song is so beautifully layered and moving away from the guitar layering sound leads me to playing with a ton of different instruments. I had to learn a lot of parts on Rhodes, Mellotron etc for this record. I even bought an Omnichord which is a little electronic Japanese autoharp. I think the song most inspired by this was ‘Psychotropical Brainstorm’ where Brad Hosking offered his trumpet and trombone skills.

The Garbage and the Flowers “Love Comes Slowly Now”

This is my favourite band but in full disclosure I play guitar and harmonica in this band too. They’ve been together since the late 80’s and I’ve only joined in the last few years. This is their big hit . This band has rubbed off on me an enormous amount.

The Replacements  “Swingin Party”

I don’t have much to say about this song apart from the fact that it fuckin rules. It’s got an amazing melody and is somehow both uplifting and weird and tragic. Very cool.

The Feelies  “Crazy Rhythms”

A big part of trying to strip things back a little bit more for this record was having more space for drums and percussion. I felt like these elements added so much mood and space to the songs and it was a constant experiment. I feel as a guitarist I wanted to be minimal, and that the electric guitars should be loud and deliberate but not constant. I love this whole Feelies record, but this song is a great example of the simple guitars being propelled but cool unconventional drum parts.

Heart “Soul of The Sea”

This whole album rules! Please go listen. It’s very good. My mate Spence got me into it. I don’t know anything about it apart from the fact I listen to it all the time.

Jim Ford  “It’s My Life”

My friend Ilya Introduced this song to me on New Year’s Eve two years ago and said, ‘I’ve heard this song and I think it’s the best song I’ve ever heard’. We went outside the party and I heard it off his phone and I decided I agreed with him. So here it is, the best song I’ve ever heard…

 

Echo Lodge by Ben Wright Smith is out now.

He will be playing at the Brewers Festival at Abbotsford Convent on 17th April 2021 – tickets HERE

You can follow Ben Wright Smith on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker

Tags: , ,