BEN Montague’s first stab at recording an album was under the duvet in his friend’s bedroom. It wasn’t a success.
But things are definitely looking up after being paired with producer Dave Eringa who has previously worked with Kylie Minogue, Manic Street Preachers and Idlewild.
Ben is currently travelling the length and breadth of the country on his first major solo tour, hitting Newcastle’s O2 Academy tonight. And his debut album Tales of Flying and Falling is about to follow up his EP Love Like Stars.
Ben, of Bromley in Kent, picked up the guitar aged 14, taught himself a few chords and immediately started writing songs.
“There was always a guitar in the house as my dad played a bit,” he says. “I got a song book and started learning Oasis and The Beatles.
“I was always surrounded by music. My dad had a good collection of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Cream and Eric Clapton, while my mum liked Stevie Wonder and Prince.”
He adds: “I always loved the process of writing stories and singing. The first song I wrote was about my sister.”
A producer noticed Ben at a gig in London’s Soho and his debut single Haunted was picked up by Radio 2 as a Record of the Week in 2010.
Ben, 28, says: “After that I was expecting an influx of phone calls, but that didn’t happen. I wanted to record an album which I did in my friend’s bedroom with a duvet on my head and one foot on a floorboard so it didn’t squeak too much. There was a mattress on the wall as soundproofing.”
He adds: “I was so proud of how it sounded but it didn’t lead to the dream and I realised I would need to record with someone a bit more experienced.
“It was quite sad and I realised how tricky the music industry is. I went back to work at a bar in London and was doing some teaching too.”
He then struck lucky with a support slot alongside the singer-songwriter James Walsh who fronted Starsailor. After the gig, James’ agent asked Ben to support Stereophonics and he thought ‘this is it.’
He says: “I came out of a relationship with a girl I was seeing and I decided to put all my energies into writing a new album. My management put me in touch with Dave Eringa who has a rock background, but it worked out effortlessly even though I have a pop background. It was an amazing feeling when I got a deal for the album.”
Ben Montague is at the O2 Academy in Newcastle tonight. His album Love Like Stars is out on Nusic Sounds/EMI on July 7, www.benmontague.co.uk