talks with Ben Hall
The Butterfly Effect begins again. With their latest release IMAGO busting into the Aria chart at number #2 and an abundance of gigs and in store appearances booked for a national tour, The Butterfly Effect are here to show that the next step in the bands evolution is presently at foot.
It’s obvious that The Butterfly Effect have captured the attention of Australians everywhere. I caught up with drummer Ben Hall and discovered that beneath all the units shifted, the fancy producers and consistent national airplay exists a bunch of blokes focused intently on testing their own limits musically and pushing the envelope of what they expect from themselves as songwriters. They have blown audiences away at the Big Day Out, Homebake, Livid and the Falls Festival and now they’re set to play forty shows over the next three months headlining their own tour on the back of their second album.
Working with the same people for months/years on end can be difficult. In fact it can be down right tedious. But like any adventure, there are always lessons to be learnt and Ben appears quite optimistic about life on the road. “I think it’s actually getting easier. I think initially it can be difficult. It’s always going to be difficult, four people doing the one thing and everyone has their own opinions and their own creative ideas so it’s kinda tricky at points. But I think you become a lot more democratic in the decision making process.
“Of course there are not many working environments anywhere where everyone gets on like a house on fire. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a bar or you work in a business or an office, there’s going to be people that you don’t like and people you do like. People have habits that are going to get to you after a while, especially after living in a Tarago for a couple of years with them. You’ve just got to understand that you probably have similar habits to them and that’s the way it goes. You’ve just got to keep the bigger picture in mind and if you’re all working towards it you should be more forgiving of those things.”
Habits… did you say habits?
“Glen quite often steals my bottle of Jack Daniels from the rider night after night and that kinda gives me the shits a bit. Clint eats with his mouth open which is one of my pet hates. Kurt just lives in a world of his own,” he says laughing. “And he’s never really out to do anything outside of his own time, so that’s really fun to work with too. Everyone’s got their things.”
Ben is more than well humoured about recalling tails about life on the road. It’s obvious that the four comrades are great friends and respectful of each others ideas concerning responsibilities and what is right for the continuing success of the band. “There’s the whole conscious vibe that if someone’s going to go out then the rest of the band will definitely let them know that they think it’s a little bit of a silly idea. And then sometimes that’s where you go, ‘F**k you guys, I know better than you’ and you go out and you wake up hung over the day after and you go, ‘Why did I do that?’ And then they don’t talk to you for a couple of days. I think it’s pretty clear how you have to be these days, otherwise it probably won’t work to its best and that’s when things can fall apart.”
The new album IMAGO was recorded over seven weeks by US producer Joe Barresi and showcases a new direction for the band’s song writing. As to what it was like having seven weeks to record the album with Barresi, Ben says “It was great. We probably should have got to know the producer before we went over there because we sort of didn’t get on the greatest. There were differences in personalities, if we could have worked that out a little earlier we might have known each other a little better before we got there. But the time was good, he pushed us a lot, the last record he had done was the last TOOL record so he’s used to working with the best and we definitely weren’t the best… not to say that we’re not good or anything but we’re not TOOL. So I think that his goals with us were to make sure that we left knowing that there was a lot of work that we could do on our individual playing. He enjoyed our song writing skills but said we really needed to focus on different things, like your own playing.”
So he had his own ideas about what levels you should be at musically?
“Yeah, I think that we were compared to the best which is fortunate and unfortunate all in one and initially you think it’s very personal but then you start to realise that being compared to the best is a f**king beautiful thing because it lets you know where you should be and if you intend to pursue this as a full time career for the rest of your life then that’s where you’ve got to get to. So it’s not really anything bad, it’s a question of your own commitment to music.”
There is no doubt Ben’s commitment to music and his band mates is as solid as his drumming. The Butterfly Effect have matured into a band that are dedicated and hardworking, everything a successful band demands from its creators.