Ben Sharp (Cloudkicker in case you’re a bit slow) is tonight, as in right now, taking part in a questions and answers session on Reddit, fielding a lot of different topics from fans. Here’s some of the most important tidbits so far. The full thread can be viewed HERE, with plenty of discussion on his guitar and pedals set-up too.
On playing live:
I think it would be really fun. It just takes a lot of time and effort to put something like that together and I’m not sure if I’m up for that at the moment.
On the vocals found on ‘Let Yourself Be Huge’ and whether there’ll be more vocals in the future:
At the moment I don’t have any plans to include more vocals–but I didn’t when I started that song either, it just ended up feeling like the right thing to do. So I’m keeping an open mind about it but not planning on it.
On the direction his next material will follow, covered over several different questions throughout the Q&A:
The current batch of songs I’m working on are definitely a return to more familiar territory while still progressing and using lessons and inspiration I’ve acquired since Beacons. But I always try to do something new so I don’t end up doing the same thing over and over again. So I wouldn’t say I’m trying to “top” anything, but I am trying to evolve from where I’ve been.
…I don’t really like getting comfortable with stuff. That’s kind of why I did Let Yourself Be Huge, because it would have been really safe to try and do Beacons again or The Discovery again but I don’t want to get to that safe place where creativity goes to die. Right now I’m working on something that is definitely in a more familiar place as far as the instrumentation and rhythm go, but I’m drawing on new influences like Smashing Pumpkins and Hum and even Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt in one of the songs.
[On Let Yourself Be Huge] Just the fact that I had made five pretty aggressive albums over a span of three years and I wanted to do something a little different. Also, I kept finding myself in the shadow of Beacons musically and one way for me to get over that was to do something totally different and not worry about it. The stuff I’m working on now is more of a return to familiar territory, but in a new way and incorporating some new sources of inspiration.
Working on a new release, I have around 20 minutes of material and I’m aiming for 45 minutes to an hour depending on when I feel “done.”
On his influences:
My influences change pretty regularly actually. I mean, Meshuggah and Fredrik Thordendal obviously got my brain thinking differently about rhythm and that lesson has stuck with me so they will always be in there somewhere. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s “huge rock” in the vein of Siamese Dream. The month of April 2011 I listened to nothing but The Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens, and I really dig the way he approaches music from a point of pure honesty (in my opinion). I don’t want to do that thing where I list every band I’ve ever listened to but can I just say that I sincerely enjoy good, honest music? If that’s Radiohead or your band or a particularly non-egotistical Kanye West song then so be it.
On people buying his music or downloading for free:
Well I wouldn’t offer it for free if I had a problem with it. I’ve said many times that I haven’t paid for a CD since 2004, so why would I hold other people to any other standard? That said, if I really dig a band’s music I will support them in some way, and it seems like quite a few people feel similarly judging by the reaction I’ve gotten since I’ve had music for sale.
On possibly producing other bands:
I don’t think I have the time to be a producer in any regard! I briefly recorded bands in my bedroom when I lived in my parents’ house (they loved it) and I didn’t really like it that much.
I’m pretty indifferent to it actually. I personally don’t really describe music in terms of genre but if that helps people figure things out then by all means apply whatever term you think is appropriate.
The Q&A is ongoing so check it out NOW.