Mr Ben and the Bens new album is out soon. Ben discusses the album with Clunk.

The new album is called ‘who knows Jenny Jones?’ I don’t know Jenny Jones so could you tell me about her. Real person? Fictional?

Jenny Jones is a fictional character from Pitsmoor in Sheffield at the end of the 70’s. She’s somewhat a shrinking violet, but also has the most satisfying name in town.

 I’m liking the album cover……explain! and who/what is that in those shiny trousers?

The alien is Zac the drummer! I made the paper maché head in my kitchen paired with a very fetching pair of PVC leggings and bingo, bona fide extra terrestrial. I was on a walk around Sheffield and discovered an amazing graveyard in Attercliffe that’s slowly being consumed by an edgelands wood, so we went out one night with photographer Ben Johnson and got some shots for the record cover.

Can you tell us about the new album? A collection of songs? some sort of theme running through it? Written in those infamous toilet sessions?!

The concept for the album was created after a move to an area called ‘Pitsmoor’ in Sheffield. Our Neighbourhood occupies the top of a hill which drops onto a big industrial area of Sheffield. It feels a bit like the edge of the world sometimes. There are so many spaces around the area that have personal histories trapped inside them. There’s old boarded up pubs / social clubs, manufacturing factories turned into recycling centres and graveyards that are slowly being consumed by edgeland woods. Our neighbour has lived here for the best part of 40 years and though the area is still vibrant now in a different way, I enjoy hearing his version of the neighbourhood in the 70’s and 80’s. The narrative for the record was created in collaboration with Lloyd Bent who runs our record label ‘Bingo Records’

The album tells a story of a young woman called Jenny who lives in Pitsmoor in the late 1970’s. It seems the whole town is against her as she fails her third job interview in a row. Her family have no interest in her life, opportunity is scarce and the world she lives in seems to be closing in. On the way to a dance that she hasn’t been invited to she cuts through the graveyard to save some time. Through a series of events she’s abducted by aliens who impart some serious disco knowledge upon her. On her return to earth the odds have changed and empowered she becomes the talk of the town for the night.

It’s funny, dark and surreal but I like how the story kind of represents the exciting, incredible things new movements in subculture can do to young people living in provincial areas. I bet listening to disco music for the first time in industrial Sheffield was like hearing music from aliens!

You guys are taking it on tour.  You also get to play at the LMF and Krankenhaus. Two faves at Clunk…. Snapped Ankles live set was fantastic when we caught them earlier in the year, and we love Squid, seeing them soon. Which bands/artists are you folks looking forward to catching at the festivals?

Oh yeah Krankenhaus should be amazing. I think Snapped Ankles and Squid are also ones I’m excited to see! A Simon Armitage DJ set is also high on the agenda! Oh and Rozi Plain, we played with her on the last tour and she’s brilliant!

Thanks for talking to Clunk, Ben. See you in Lancaster.

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