Hailing from Norrköping, Sweden, Benz is a vehicle for the songwriting of Ebba Salomonsson. Ebba came to the attention of Rama Lama Records after she released music with label-mates Wy’s other project, Feverish. Next month the label will release Benz’s latest offering, the EP, This Could Be The End, the follow up to 2019’s Erazor. Ahead of the release today we’re sharing the latest single Hometown.
Ebba’s musical journey can be traced back to when she lived out every record loving child’s dream, growing up in her stepfather’s record store, where she could explore a litany of sounds, influences and musical styles. As a result, the music she makes is eclectic, taking in elements of dream-pop, folk, and psychedelic indie. While the styles may vary, the tracks on This Could Be The End are tied together by a thematic thread, the demise of an old friendship, and how that can feel like a break-up, with Ebba likening the record to, “six seasons of Girls, a comedy-drama in a compressed format”.
As you’d perhaps expect from the title, Hometown is Ebba’s attempt to write about Norrköping, a town she left behind, but still feels like home, and a place she suggests fills her with both, “a hint of melancholy and happiness”. Musically, the track arrives with a wall of atmospheric guitar-noise, before the steady pound of the snare drum emerges, pulling the song into a similar musical territory to labelmates Melby or the early records of The War On Drugs. At times the song seems to spiral out of control, Ebba’s voice yelling out the repeated refrain, “in my own town”, as the guitars soar up to the stratosphere and beyond. Check out the track below and then read on for my interview with Benz where we talk about balancing life and music, influences that go from David Bowie to text messages, and how this EP pushed her songwriting further than ever before.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Benz?
It’s the outlet for me, Ebba, to write and play music together with my friends and band members. I often write about everyday stuff like love and friendships. It can be big and small.
FTR: You’re premiering your new single Hometown today, what can you tell me about the track?
There are many great songs written about hometowns, so I thought that I would try to write one of my own. I think that my hometown Norrköping sneaks into my songwriting in different ways, a hint of melancholy and happiness at the same time.
FTR: The track is lifted from your new EP, This Could Be The End, what can you tell me about recording the album?
The band and I worked with producer Wallentin Richardsson on this recording at Studio Sickan in Malmö. Me and Wallentin spent some time just talking about music, managing what we wanted the music to sound like. Our goal was to record the songs when we played them together and rather make decisions before than afterwards. We wanted to capture a naive and playful sound, with both heartache, hope and anger. It was a fun ride to be a part of, and it pushed me further as a songwriter and as a band member.
FTR: The album is coming out on Rama Lama Records, how did that come about? Are record labels still important to you?
Rama Lama knew my friends over at Feverish, who I had also worked with, so when I contacted them to say “Hey, can we do something to release my new EP?”, they connected me with Rama Lama. I´ve only heard nice stuff about RLR and they’ve worked with some great bands over the years.
For me a record label means that you work with people who are interested in putting the music out there. A label can many times function as an extra muscle to spread the music. Also, they arrange a lot of shows that you can play at. For me it’s really a question about working together rather than by yourself.
FTR: Who are the influences on Benz music? What were you listening to when you wrote the EP?
I’ve always listened to a lot of music and growing up in a recordstore it’s been hard not to. My songwriting is influenced by a lot of things, it can be David Bowie as well as a text message. During this EP I wanted to capture a naive and playful sound and I ended up listening to Alvvays and Cate Le bon, to mention some. In the end, the sound is also a collaboration between my input and how the band interprets it.
FTR: It’s obviously a strange world to be releasing the album into, how has the pandemic affected your plans?
Yeah, it’s been a strange time. The pandemic affected the livescene for people in the industry to mention some of it. I guess my plans somehow got affected by it, I just don’t know it all yet.
FTR: What’s the best way for people to support musicians at this time?
Buy records and come to the shows. In Sweden we don’t have any restrictions at the moment and hopefully it stays that way.
FTR: Now bands are starting to get out and play again, what can people expect from the Benz live show?
Sweat and a good time. Malmö is next.
FTR: Why do you make music?
It’s my way to articulate and process what’s on my mind. The second part of it is being able to play the music with others live or in a studio.
FTR: What are your ambitions for this record? Is music still a viable career?
Music is something I love but I don’t see myself living on it any time soon. My ambition is therefore to find a balance between other jobs and writing, recording and playing music. Sometimes it can be a handful and at the end of the day I´m just glad some of you listen to the music.
FTR: What’s next for Benz?
Get together and play some shows