Hear multi-instrumentalist, composer, and singer Bill Ryder-Jones play from his latest album.
Ryder-Jones has had a career spanning 15 years; and counts musicians such as Courtney Barnett, Richard Hawley and Noel Gallagher as fans.
His talent stretches from a musical interpretation of Italo Calvino’s classic postmodernist novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller (2011's If…) to a top-ten MOJO magazine album of the year in 2016, West Kirby County Primary
Ryder-Jones weaves an overarching sense of authenticity, intimacy and wryness into this music, and consistently explores different songwriting styles while keeping a strong sense of self.
‘A magical, colossal talent… that spills melody and emotion’ The Guardian
Having spent most of her younger years up North, Bentham channels a maturity and life ethic that's wise beyond her age, a result of having partially raised herself. Her parents worked away from home a lot (her dad is an engineer, her mum a primary school teacher), so it was often up to Bentham and her three older brothers to fend for themselves. “I think it made me grow up a lot faster than I would have,” she says. Lending an air of fate too, the experience of being brought closer to elder siblings switched her onto their musical obsessions. The likes of French electro duo Justice and Ed Banger artist Uffie haven't exactly informed Bentham's own oeuvre, but being exposed to those sounds early on made her acutely aware of a world outside of commercial pop music. She picked up a guitar early, even attempted banjo at one stage, and started taking singing lessons at the age of 15. That's when her teacher encouraged her to start writing songs and gigging at nearby pubs and open mic nights.
“I was writing a lot of Paolo Nutini inspired cheesy acoustic stuff,” she laughs, embarrassed now. At the time, most females with an acoustic guitar were singing similar tunes, it was the norm but it was also a means to an end. “Everything I wrote I hated. It was so frustrating trying to find one distinguished sound I could have as my own. But I just kept doing it, kept writing.” A huge fan at the time of Yo La Tengo, Fleet Foxes, Kevin Morby and Bon Iver, she continued to mine her own creative voice to try and develop something similarly ground-breaking. Eventually her first taste of success – a song called 'Oliver' – was a turn in the road. That tune brought her the sonic direction she was working towards. Her first proper show was at local legendary rock venue The Cluny back in Newcastle. By chance, the sound guy that night also did sound for successful performer James Bay and a connection sparked with Communion, the label part-owned by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. She played a showcase evening for them as soon as she moved to London, where she's lived now for three years.