Tall Children is the musical alter-ego of Ben Hughes. Ben believes we are all Tall Children. Because being childlike is positive. We should never lose our creativity, playfulness and fun. Equally, we can all grow older and taller without ever growing up, running rampant through the world’s resources, with increasing fear and diminishing empathy for each other. Being childish isn’t quite so positive.
Having graduated from LIPA, he has been honing his craft alongside musicians including Melanie C, Paolo Nutini and Nitin Sawhney, while simultaneously establishing himself firmly on the musical map. We caught up with him to find out more.
First and foremost, hello and how are you?
Hello! I’m great thank you. Busier than ever actually considering the circumstances…
Tell us about the record you have just released…
Why Should I Care is a Tall Children song in its most unashamed and explicit form. It’s a black and white acoustic pop song, that includes all my influences but it’s coloured with a little bit of yellow just to make it interesting. I’m super proud of it and I feel thematically it’s very fitting with the times.
How do you feel when releasing a record?
I always feel a combination of totally pumped versus totally nervous! I’m never displeased with the content I put out there so I guess I should just relax and enjoy it. Mainly I’m just interested to see how the reaction’s gonna go - which you can never tell.
The record was completely a reaction to a kind of depressive mentality I’ve been seeing a lot in social media. There’s a lot of understanding and tolerance about anxiety and mental conditions, but also there’s a lot of self-sympathy, moaning, illegitimate cases and unfortunately, it’s a mine field out there determining which is which. This is a song that is talking about all the “noise” out there and literally saying “why should I care about that? You do you and I’ll do me and that’s fine.”
Tell us a little about your creative process…
It’s a difficult one to document my songwriting style exactly because every song is different and unique in the way it comes about. Sometimes it just fits together like Lego, other times it’s a process of elimination. Typically I start with a theme I’d like to explore. Sometimes that theme comes from a story or something I’m passionate talking about or it could be a musical theme, such as a riff I want to explore. Usually it’s all driven by the acoustic guitar. It takes a while to get to the essence of what I want to say, but at some point it clicks.
If the record were an animal, what animal would it be?
It would be a slick black panther. A beautiful thing to look at but complex, barbed and quite jagged if you get too close.
Define your sound in five words…
Acoustic Virtuoso Pop…done in 3.
What was the first song that caught your attention?
Wow that’s a tough question. First song ever? Nope can’t be done. Song that recently can’t my attention again was Africanism by Noir.
What was the first song you bought?
Very first song I ever bought was something from Kanye West. I can’t remember what the track was but I know it was a banger!
And the first album?
First album was definitely and most embarrassingly a Westlife album. I can’t remember which one it was, but I remember after a week I gave it to my mum and she loved it. (laughs with a red face) Looking back I have no idea why that even happened.
What was the best concert you have ever seen?
What did the experience teach you that you have translated to your own shows?
Songs are key. Melody is king. Your job is to let the songs breathe for you.
What other artist are you most excited to hear from?
I’m a music fan so I have lists from all genres as long as the equator. Tommy Emmanuel, Thomas Leeb, The 1975, Post Malone, Dodie, Thundercat, Big Boi, Childish Gambino, Fat Freddy’s Drop…just keep going I love it all.
If you could work with them, what would you hope to record?
Something that was totally authentic and nothing to do with sales agendas. I’d want it to be something that spoke about the times and reflected something about them and me as an artist.
If you had to pick three artists to be filed next to, who would they be and why?
I’d say Tommy Emmanuel, because he was my teacher for years and I’m heavily influenced. I’d say Ed Sheeran, cause I’m very straight forward in my approach to pop. I’m all about the melody. I’d also say Post Malone, because I’m a fan of production and space in recordings. I’d like to think I wasn’t really filed next to anyone if I’m honest though!
If you could jam with one artist alive or dead, who would it be?
If you could have written one song by another artist, what would it be?
Lovebirds - Want You In My Soul or Tame Impala - Let It Happen
Someone is making a film of your life, who will play you?
Someone hard as nails…Clint Eastwood.
Lastly, tell us one thing you have never revealed in an interview…