Ipswich: Spend an evening with Benjamin Bloom at the New Wolsey
“It’s not my real name,” says Benjamin Bloom. “There’s a famous economist [with that name]... it’s my ambition to beat him in Google; although he has passed on so it’s not really fair competition.”
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of one of the town’s most talked about acts, described by Trevor of Going Live Swing Your Pants duo Trevor and Simon as Rick Wakeman and a-ha frontman Morton Harket’s love child.
“I’m a fairly handy keyboard player, but to be compared to Rick is nice. If I could sing anywhere near as high as Morton I’d be very happy. There are worse comparisons,” he laughs.
A former member of indie outfit Rosalita, he’s not sure where he reputation for being eccentric comes from.
“If you play the piano and are classically trained, the pieces you learn are all big, sort of pompous. That becomes what you actually end up writing in your pop music. It’s such versatile instrument, you end up going to the extremes.
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“I’m not trying to be eccentric, it’s just what comes out. There’s a nice Marilyn Monroe quote, ‘it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring’. So why not?”
He does confess his music is overblown, pompous, anthemic.
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“If you said it in one sentence it’d be ‘it’s not subtle’, we avoid any amount of subtlety. We do stacks of backing vocals, lots of big dramatic chords, big melodies, big subjects...”
It’s no surprise the first cassette Bloom, called the thinking man’s pop singer by BBC Radio Suffolk presenter and Star Event columnist Stephen Foster, bought was Queen’s Greatest Hits I.
“I used to have my little tape player and listen to it. I think that has had a bit of a baring because if you think about someone like Freddie Mercury as a songwriter, on the piano, his complete lack of subtlety. I’m not going to try to stand there and look cool, I want to do something that’s musically exciting for me else there’s no point doing it. I make it to please myself really,” he laughs.
Latest EP Weird and Wonderful is going down well. Before Bloom and his band start work on the follow-up, there’s the small matter of Weird and Wonderful - An Evening with Benjamin Bloom at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre next March 9.
“The one thing we’ve been told forever and ever is ‘oh your music is so overblown, theatrical’ and stuff so I don’t think it’s a coincidence we’re ending up in a theatre,” he smiles.
As well as songs from the EP, the show will include an artists of a different kind.
“It’s going to be our biggest show to date, more than just a gig; there will be projections and performance artists around our music. We’re going to give gig-goers the chance to go to the theatre and theatre-goers the chance to see something based on a gig rather than a theatrical show.”