Ben Lee’s new album Deeper Into Dream doesn’t come out until October 11th, but until then you can read an interview I did with him about memorable tours, favorite lyrics, song inspirations, and dreams.
Read After The Show’s exclusive interview with Ben Lee:
After The Show: The first time I saw you in concert was Fall 2003 when you toured with Phantom Planet. Do you have a favorite tour (or favorite band with whom you toured) that you remember fondly?
Ben Lee: I remember that tour fondly as I was newly single, and it was very easy to meet girls at a Phantom Planet show! But really there have been so many great tours. The Bens’ tour of Australia was amazing.
ATS: Thematically and sonically, how does your song “Sleepwalking” from Breathing Tornados compare to your new album Deeper Into Dream?
Ben Lee: Well, I produced the new album myself at home. Breathing Tornados was produced by Ed Buller, so the sonic palette differs a lot, both intentionally and by circumstance. It’s interesting you made a connection thematically though – I guess the dream world has been a big interest of mine for longer than I realized. I always had this strange aspiration of living life more from a mythological dream-like perspective rather than a rational one.
ATS: There’s a rumor that you were once a member of a band called Gerling. True/False?
Ben Lee: I subbed in when their guitar player left briefly in the 90s. I was so used to being a frontman that I even did the talking between songs – it’s so embarrassing now to remember that! It’s an honour to have shared a stage even briefly (and arrogantly) with Crossy and the Presser.
ATS: What was your inspiration for “Pop Queen” and “Away with the Pixies”? Did you write those songs about the same girl?
Ben Lee: Not so much. More just an indie rock ideal. I was 15. Girls were the only thing I was thinking about.
ATS: Now that you have a family, are you more reluctant to go on tour? Has your view of touring changed?
Ben Lee: It’s definitely hard to justify touring for just promotional reasons anymore. I have to make money now! That’s definitely changed…I still love playing, though. My attitude is to look at each opportunity as it comes up and see if it makes sense for me and the family.
ATS: Care to shed some light on “Stumbling Block” from Grandpaw Would? Particularly what you were thinking with the line “Locker room dialogue boils the fat”?
Ben Lee: Hmm. Not sure I can remember exactly. I think it had something to do with Silverchair and their song “Tomorrow.” And yes obviously about bullies and the teen macho thing that goes on.
ATS: What’s one of your favorite lyrics that you’ve ever written? What about a lyric that someone else has written?
Ben Lee: ”Please, taste the sea you sail, baby I believe, there’s no way you can fail” – No Right Angles. It sings nicely, and it’s always a message that I need to hear.
By someone else – So many. How about “You’re either busy being born or busy dying” by Dylan.