“Normal people getting up for the daily grind and working all day, every day, every year and still smiling, still having time to chat and be content with their lot but striving to make improvements to their lives. That’s my ethos in a nutshell.” – Tall Children
Following on from his funk-rich and upbeat collaboration with Youngr ‘Last For Long’, Liverpudlian songwriter Tall Children (aka. Ben Hughes) caught up with Student Pages to discuss his new anticipated release. A song which seeks to champion a message of appreciation and self-reflection.
Finding his Groove
Hughes explains that when it comes to his music, he has never known anything else. Highlighting how his dad was a session musician and was regularly flying around on 80s TV shows, festivals. Travelling on tour eventually peaked his curiosity. Picking up a guitar and never looking back. But why this path? The mersey-side artist ultimately puts it down to the love, a burning passion and a drive to get his message out there!
Describing his music as straight Pop, Hughes references his brand colours as the best description of how he views his music and how it is perceived: “it’s black and white but with a bit of yellow thrown in there”. Hughes explains that his music stands out because it is driven primarily from his background specializing in the acoustic guitar and all the experience he has gained from performing with some of the world’s best musicians. The message is also quite different from a lot of artists: “I’m saying Tall Children can be anyone. You, me, the president…In our infinitely strange and wonderful ways we’re all big kids”.
With the release of his new single “Why Should I Care”, Hughes explains how he was keen to take a road that was a little more angsty to begin with.
“I didn’t want that angst to be focused to the point of being simply about complaining. That’s when I started examining the core of what I believe in – being true to yourself, optimism in the face of adversity and generally seeing the positive side to life. This song is a way of saying “you do you, I’ll do me, and I’m fine with that.”
When it comes to identifying his favourite song. Hughes explains that due to every song being made uniquely with love and purpose, it’s something very difficult to pin point a specific. Highlighting how each tune has totally different vibes for different reasons. Hughes enjoys collaborating with different artists because their styles and personality bring something to the table. So that being said the recent releases with Clean Cut Kid and Youngr for the artist were really fun. However, that being said, musically speaking the artist is still a big fan of Be With Me because it really nails a lot of his core influences.
To his fans, Hughes is keen to have his listeners listen first because they think the tunes are bangers with big sing along choruses.
“I want them to get the feeling that this is a musician at the peak of his powers throwing in a lot of the tricks that maybe other artists might not quite get a handle on and that’s a cool thing and something to smile about! I want to convey that Pop can be cool, Pop can be clever and it can be an unashamed jam with real bounce in its heart.”
Hughes highlights how he has been really fortunate to have had some super inspirational and influential teachers. Starting with his family and the fact that they always pushed him to pursue music and get better at it. Drawing on his experiences at LIPA uni and later down the line where he ended up working with and touring with Tommy Emmanuel – unanimously agreed to be one of the best guitarists in the world. Remaining humble, Hughes explains he has found it is the little things that inspire him the most and keep him sane.
However, it was never this easy. Openly admitting to having suffered from bullying early on in his childhood through to university.
“I found that in school the musicians were always “the dorky geeks.” Looking back at the photographs the bullies probably had a point to be fair! In truth I always felt marginalised for not quite “fitting in” in school life.”
When it came to university or work or touring the same cycle of feelings happened again and again. The artist learnt that people will do all manner of spiteful things to get ahead. To combat this Hughes highlights how he has learnt from experience how and when to bite his tongue, who to trust and not to trust and generally some solid life skills. Opening up how he has personally had to dig deep to find the resolve to keep pushing forward.
The most valuable lesson he points to is to fail your way to success. Explaining how he has failed countless times but bit by bit he persevered and got to where is now overcoming obstacles in front of him.
“I find now I’m somewhat in a position of responsibility often advising people how to conquer their own personal bullies, their fears and how to dig deep in times of adversity. Going back to what inspires me, this is how bad times can bring good times – provided you channel them correctly. I genuinely believe that.”
Hughes goes onto explain how hes suffered from plenty of ups and downs but he considers those to be part of living. The key driver is being able to drag yourself by the scruff of your neck, use what little energy you have and get working on yourself. One step after another you walk out of hell and you get there.
The Music Industry
Finding people a kin to the music you want to produce is of vital importance in Hughes eyes. On one hand the concept of Tall Children is all inclusive, it applies to everyone. It also means that musically the artist had to do something different so that it wasn’t a generic pop project. Having worked with numerous producers in London who were all excellent producers, he highlight how they slightly missed the tone of what he wanted to capture. Moving back to Liverpool changed everything and linked up with producers Tom (Longworth) and Rich (Turvey). Both whom immediately understood the project for what it is: a guitar-driven pop project; and understood the vision of where Hughes wanted to take it to.
For those interested in following in Tall Children’s footsteps, Hughes does’nt mince his words. “Don’t point the finger and say things didn’t work out because of him or her or anybody. Take responsibility for your life and career, hold only yourself accountable for your success. Just go for it.”
Highlighting his biggest challenges to date. The Merseyside artist points to balancing a social life with a career. Explaining how touring and creating new music, he finds himself not seeing his friends for long periods of time. A sacrifice that can be quite difficult, but in some ways he highlights the price you pay for working hard.
Looking to the future, the artist points to live shows that are currently in the mix, along with the roll out his next series of releases.