Introducing another one of our gymphlex heroes… meet Ben Heath, a drummer in an up and coming modern rock'n'roll band, The Strawberries. Since forming the band in 2014, Ben has dedicated all his time to The Strawberries, performing with the likes of The Kooks and The Zutons, and even showcasing the bands muscial talents at Leeds festival!
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU MEET YOUR FELLOW BAND MEMBERS?
I met our singer Sam Neil on a night out at University in 2013 when he told me to come back to his for a cool house party. When I got there it was just him in a small shared flat. We drank whiskey and had some gravy on bread and the rest is history. We jammed in a few different line ups over a couple of years before finding our bassist/modern genius, Ethan Lee Sherwin and finally, Sam knew Joe Dines as they shared a love of guitars. We all got together one night to jam and we came out with this sound that none of us could really describe and that was the beginning of The Strawberries.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN MUSIC?
For as long as I can remember, music has always played a big role in my life. I was brought up with my mum listening to T-Rex, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straights and Bob Dylan.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN PLAYING THE DRUMS?
The first time I really got an itch for drums was when I watched Bloc Party at the DeMonfort Hall in Leicester in 2005. It was my first gig. I remember watching the drummer (Matt Tong) and just thinking “How does he do that?” and “Can I do that?”
I had lessons from secondary school through to college but never wanted to take a grade in it, that’s not why I was doing it. Playing drums has always been a link to something deeper for me, I just wanted to explore what it was all about and how it could make me feel.
DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT GETTING INTO THE MUSIC SCENE AND GETTING GIGGS?
I think we all had a fair bit of experience on the music scene by the time we got together so we skipped out on some of the early phases (open mic nights etc…) We weren’t together long before we met our manager, George Holmes and getting gigs has been pretty straight forward since.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT TO DATE SO FAR?
That would have to be Leeds Festival for me. It really gave us a taste for what we want to be doing.
HAVE YOU EVER PERFORMED ON THE SAME STAGE WITH ANY MUSIC STARS?
Yeah, we’ve played with a few big bands. Our first decent support slot would have to be Blossoms in early 2015. Since then we’ve played with The Coral, The Courteeners, The Zutons, YAK, Hidden Charms, The Vryll Society, Milburn, The Pretty Things and The Kooks to name a few.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC ARTIST/BAND?
Impossible to narrow it down to a single artist. Between the four of us we have a very eclectic mix of influences. Recently we’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and early Primal Scream.
WHAT IS YOUR AMBITION/GOAL WITH YOUR MUSIC CAREER?
I wouldn’t say we really had a specific goal that we were working towards. For now, we just really enjoy writing exciting music and making our live shows as memorable as possible. We’ve had some great feedback from our current ‘Caramel Eyes’ tour and we’re excited about the future. We’ve got some big plans for the New Year, although we can’t say too much just yet!
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC?
Essentially, we’re a modern Rock’n’Roll band but we’ve got influences spanning from ACDC to Elton John to Kevin Parker (Tame Impala).
AS WELL AS BEING INVOLVED WITH THE BAND, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO WITH YOUR SPARE TIME?
Being in a full-time band doesn’t really leave any of us with a lot of spare time. If we’re not out touring, then we’re writing or practicing for live shows. If I’m not with the guys then I’m probably catching up on sleep!
WHO INSPIRES YOU THE MOST?
In terms of drumming, I’d have to say John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys). In terms of life in general, David Bowie has to be a pretty big inspiration. He taught me that it’s alright to be different in a world that was telling me to be like everybody else.
Want to find out more about The Strawberries and their tour dates? Then check out @StrawberriesUK twitter page.