Ben Christophers Biography
He comes from Wolverhampton. His mother is originally from Nairobi, his father from London. Both Ben Christophers' parents are potters. In fact, if called upon to do so, he could still throw a pot. It is, he says, "second nature. I spent my childhood learning how to be a potter". There was always music in the house, and he also learned how to play both guitar and piano. He wrote songs from an early age. "Music is what I always wanted to do, it never occurred to me to do anything else," he says. While at secondary school, Ben discovered Talk Talk, Japan, Joy Division, Cocteau Twins, Bowie and Kate Bush. "Suddenly", he says, "it wasn't such a bad thing to wear makeup. Though leg warmers were always a question mark." But then as he got older, he fell in love with Tom Waits - "mainly for the words."
He didn't have a particularly successful time at school: "I left with no qualifications. I had a pretty nervous disposition, I just didn't really take things in, and I'm colour-blind. I had a test a while ago, and its about 95%. Generally most colours I see I don't know what they are. I was watching TV with a friend recently - the weather was really bad and the screen kept flicking between colour and black and white. But I had no idea it was happening. I don't see in black and white, but a lot of colours look the same to me. The London Underground map's just a joke."
At the close of the Eighties, Ben moved to London. Living around Camden, he had a run of grim, but eye-opening jobs, including packing porn mags and videos - "the worst job I've ever done". For a while, he travelled around Europe, writing and playing.
On his return, Ben, "locked the bedroom door and got on with writing." The results are what you hear today. Astonishingly, he'd never thought his voice was particularly special. "I'd always tended to be more critical of it than thankful," he says. You may well feel differently. Dave Wibberley, V2 A&R man, certainly did - when he finally got around to listening to the tape that had been pressed into his hand. As did David Kosten, who'd met Wibberley through his own project, Faultline - described by Victoria Segal in the NME as "startling electronic collisions managing both terrifying chill and clear eyed empathy". Though Faultline eventually signed elsewhere, Wibberley realised that Kosten's mix of classic(al) influences and avant-garde approach might be the perfect foil for Ben. "Ben's is a pure, instinctive talent," says Kosten. "He can't help but create these graceful melodies - as the album developed they just kept appearing - it was a pleasure to be there, to see it come together."
"I'd heard David's album," Ben remembers, "and had been completely blown away. It struck a serious chord. He was so illegal with the use of sound. He liked the way things happened accidentally. That happened all the time with us, and instead of ignoring the accidents, we'd harmonise with them. The first song we worked on was 'My Beautiful Demon', and then it happened so fast, it was so exciting and invigorating. It's really lucky to be able to work like that, to capture the magic of the songs. I didn't feel like he was producing me, I felt like he was provoking me to explore. He drop-kicked me a lot, put razor blades in the dolly mixtures. That箂 why the album is called 'My Beautiful Demon', because when we finished that first song was when I realised I'd finally found the sound I'd been looking for, the thing I was trying to create. It was a phenomenal feeling."
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