Ben Ramsay, the man behind Worcester’s The New Consistent, is determined to make it. “My boss at work asked what I’m gonna do now I’ve finished college and I looked him dead in the eye and said “I’m gonna make myself famous mate” and left him with that.”
It’s still early days but on his first single (also titled ‘The New Consistent’) demonstrated a sharp wit and a unique style of delivery that definitely marks him out as one to watch. Second single ‘3 Years’ is a bit more straightforward – Ramsay says “it’s just the story of events spoken over this really chill beat” – but the track’s simplicity doesn’t make it any less engaging.
If ‘The New Consistent’ evoked a Saturday night alone then ‘3 Years’, with its woozy chords and incessant bass line, sounds more like a Sunday morning hangover. By speaking rather than singing, Ramsay ensures that his lyrics are at the forefront of the listener’s mind. Fortunately, this is no bad thing. Each line is a crisp articulation of one of Ramsay’s regrets. Undoubtedly, it’s a personal song but by laying himself so bare, Ramsay has created a song of which he is justifiably proud. Ahead of the single’s release we caught up with Ben Ramsay about Worcester, accents and showing emotion…
You’ve said you feel bittersweet about growing up in Worcester. Are you ever jealous of people who grew up in London or another big city where it might have been a bit easier to get a band going?
I think obviously it would have been nicer to grow up somewhere like London or Manchester. But then again, it’s been good growing up in Worcester, cos it was the lack of people wanting to start a band that drove me to where I am now. Things could be worse.
Undoubtedly, you’ve got a unique spoken-word way of delivering your vocals. Is there much, if any thought behind it and are there any artists, I’m thinking maybe The Streets, who’ve influenced your style?
To be honest, I kind of stumbled onto this way of delivering vocals. I was looking for a singer for ages, and it wasn’t until I got frustrated with that, that I started looking at other ways I could make music work for me. Another thing people pick up on is that I talk in my own accent. A lot of people probably wouldn’t do that if it’s as bad an accent as mine! But I was watching this documentary, by Mike Skinner actually, about the scene in Birmingham. It had people like Jaykae and that on, and it made a big impact on me cos it was very obvious these artists weren’t scared to rap or sing in their own accent.
The first thing I noticed about your music was how heartfelt the lyrics were. Do you ever feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to perform these songs and do you ever feel as though there’s added scrutiny on the lyrics as a result of the fact that you’re speaking them so clearly?
In no way do I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed no. It can lead to you becoming vulnerable, but at the same time, it lets people in so much more than some bloke playing the guitar and shouting down the mic. I hope people would be able to hear my words and relate because most of the time I’m just writing about my everyday life. Obviously, if you’re not singing the lyrics, there’s added pressure because people can get to grips with what you’re saying a lot more. But it’s just me telling my story, and everyone seems to be into it so I can’t be doing too much wrong! Also, there’s no shame in a man showing emotion, and coming across so heartfelt!
‘3 Years’ is only your second release, where does this song fit within the chronology of the band? Are you more confident in this release than the previous one?
This was actually the first proper song that I wrote and released. The demo of it that was up on SoundCloud for most of the year, was the first ever vocal take I did properly. I wanted to release it again and show it some love because of how much it did for me. To release a song with no chorus is a bold move, but I hope people will like it, it’s probably my most personal song.
When and why did you reach out to Ozzy? Your music doesn’t really sound like Swim Deep so I wonder if there’s ever any creative tension when you record with him?
The day I put my first demo out I messaged it to everyone I could, and cos for some reason Ozzy already followed me, I was able to send it to him on twitter. He replied in like minutes and loved it and we went from there. His band are sick, and musically he’s very open-minded about different sounds. When it comes to recording, there hasn’t been any issues at all. I went into our first couple days proper open-minded and happy to try out anything really because I was at such an early stage with discovering my own tastes.
What are your plans for The New Consistent going forward?
Going forward, I want to start playing live very soon. I’ve begun practising a little set, so hopefully, by the new year, I’ll get out there. I also want to have my debut EP out by January the latest. It’s gonna be a 5 track one, which includes the 2 singles. Then from there, who knows?
Obviously, you’re fully committed to pursuing a music career but is there a plan B if you fail?
No. Sorry mum!
Header Photo by Andrew Busby