Fife based producer composer and musician Ben Seal effortlessly straddles disciplines and genres, through film and music. It’s that tension that makes them an endlessly fascinating, singular artist, along with their refusal to compromise and fit into prescribed niches.
Having worked and toured with such brilliant artists as Kathryn Joseph, Rick Redbeard, Bella Hardy, Kirsty Law, Karine Polwart and most recently, an album with Eliza Carthy, their own solo project is unique, eccentric and beautiful, inventive songwriting at its finest.
How’s your lockdown been? What’s been keeping you sane?
Lockdown has certainly presented its challenges: I guess mostly being a parent and engaging with the weans in homeschooling. I’ve definitely had less time than usual to get things done. Having said that I’ve been working with a couple of folx remotely, co-producing and also doing some remote mixing for other peeps. Also, I live with my baby mamma (the artist Kirsty Whiten) but we’re no longer “together” so that’s definitely added to the stress. In the main, I’ve been keeping sane with video wanking. I really love lots of things that lockdown has brought, like increase in video sex and maybe even a relaxation of people in general as to their relationship with themselves. I feel like it might be about how few spheres of judgement one travels through on the daily. For instance, going to a meeting. No longer do you have to get on a bus having walked to the bus stop then travel trough whatever building you’re working in and all the while moving through countless spheres of judgement. It’s a kind of freedom.
What music would you recommend at the moment?
Lately, I’ve been listening to Night Shift by Lucy Dacus on loop. “You got a 9-5 so I take the night shift / And I’ll never see you again if I can help it.” Really does it for me. Also the new Perfume Genius album (reviewed here). Kathryn Joseph said to me once in a moment of great insight, “I bet listening to Perfume Genius makes you feel really jealous.” Woah there KJ! But true enough. Also My Lady’s On Fire by Ty Segall. So happy when I hear that sound ATM. Also, Big Thief and Ezra Furman always any time.
How did you get involved in performing with Quarantine Cabaret?
Quarantine Cabaret came about as I’d performed a bunch for Cameron Foster in Edinburgh quite a lot over the years and they just asked me to play.
Favourite power ballad?
Absolutely no contest, I know this instantly: The Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush.
What can we expect from your forthcoming album ?
A bunch of songs about love going wrong and love going right and beautiful sex with a transvestite and existential viewpoints on Truth and Death and Glory.
I’m probably just going to keep releasing singles though. The next one is a song called C U Around and is about wanting someone to fuck off and chill out and then to come around again once they’ve reached the appropriate distance. I guess it’s all influenced by being poly and living in that way where the boundaries of your relationships aren’t dictated by external hetero/homo/mono-normative forces.
Read more on Ben Seal’s website, www.urbanfarmhand.net