Grumble Bee (Interview)
Grumble Bee – aka multi-instrumentalist Jack Bennett – has been busy making underground waves for the past few years. His reputation for sick live shows continues to grow, and his star is guaranteed to remain on the rise for a long time to come. With 2000 Trees kicking off in less than a week, we got talking about formative festival experiences, dodgy mics, and lasers…
You’re playing the acoustic Forest Stage at 2000 Trees this year. How are the preparations going?
Great, thank you! I just need to work out how to make a much smaller rig for my in-ears, to suit an acoustic gig as opposed to a full band. And just running through some newer bits, changing them to acoustic for the shows coming up.
When you were growing up, which gigs had a real impact on you?
I’ve been going to gigs since I was about five I think, so the whole experience of seeing live bands playing from [when I was] pretty young had a huge impact on inspiring me to go forward!
But separately, I’ve been to things like Leeds Festival and Manchester Arena – and they’d be my sort of “dream shows” to hopefully play one day!
What was your first ever festival experience? How did it go?
I think it was Leeds Festival, but I’m not sure how old I was. I remember my dad having a go at a bunch of girls who were stoned or off their heads on something, while we were watching some random band in a tent.
I also remember some sort of combination of Slipknot and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the main stage. But mainly just lots of walking.
Any festival survival tips?
Book a hotel instead of camping! Even versus the nicest festivals in the whole world, I’d rather have my own shower and bathroom.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened during one of your shows?
It was crazy in a negative way, but we once had a full band show where I was physically getting electric-shocked on the mic, and physically couldn’t get anywhere near the mic.
I’ve had this over the years of playing – where some small grounding issue would cause a sort of fuzzy buzz on the mic, which is horrible but bearable – but this was something else! I remember an absolute hero threw me her scarf, so I could wrap it around the mic to carry on. But before this, the in-house sound engineer spoke over the PA to tell me I needed to calm down – for getting shocked, ha ha! Top three worst gigs I’ve ever endured.
Do you ever get nervous before going onstage? If so, what helps you deal with that?
I used to get nervous early on, and for sort of industry shows – but I rarely do now, as I think you have to have a fair bit of stubbornness in knowing you’re there to do your own thing.
It’s worse for me mid-set if something goes wrong – and I feel like I’m letting people down who are watching. Other than that, it’s not really something I’ve understood!
If money, space, and good taste weren’t issues, what would your ultimate festival stage show look like?
Probably laser beams, lots and lots of laser beams. Lighting is such an underestimated part of a live show. And probably 18 people helping with my guitar tunings.
Which other 2000 Trees bands are you looking forward to checking out?
I’m keen to watch Chapter & Verse, and Bad Sign. As well as the pros of live shows, Enter Shikari. But I’ll basically be walking around watching as many bands as possible throughout the day.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year, after 2000 Trees is over?
I’ve got a few smaller festivals happening in the weeks afterwards, including Warton Music and Behave Festivals. I’m also demoing and recording my album this year, as well as another project which I’ll hopefully be revealing in the next months, when I’m allowed!
Grumble Bee opens the Forest Sessions Stage at 2000 Trees 2018 on Friday July 13.
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