Interview: Ben Panucci (Sydney) talks debut album Age of Consequence and its personal nature

Ben Panucci‘s debut album Age of Consequence is a deeply personal divergence from his previous sounds. Inspired by humanity, the album was written and produced by Ben himself and is set for independent release on Friday 12 October.

Reflecting a change in gear for the Sydney guitarist and producer, Age of Consequence allowed Ben to refocus his life, both musically and personally. Thoughtfully composed and lyrically drive, Ben’s songs, although intensely personal, possess a universal quality that allows listeners to connect and relate. We were lucky enough to speak to Ben about the album, it’s personal nature and his upcoming tour.

Congrats on the release of your debut album! It must feel great to have it out. Can you tell us a little bit about the ideas and inspirations behind Age of Consequence

Thanks! The album’s title is inspired by the idea that we as humans are living in the age of consequence, where we are now past the tipping point as to what control we have over the environment due to our actions. I think that idea can apply to a bunch of things and was a theme I was exploring.

You mentioned that Age of Consequence allowed you to look inside yourself and refocus your life. How has the album, and music in general, played a part in your life?

Making the album was long and time-consuming, so in some ways, it became a very large focus of my life for quite a while. I make a living working as a musician doing a variety of music around the traps, which I think made it difficult at first to find exactly how I wanted to approach making this highly personal record. I had to really be analytical about what it was that I was trying to communicate and sonically what it was that deeply pleased me.

Congratulations also for taking centre stage as a solo artist! How has that journey been for you? What was the catalyst for the transition?

Thanks again!! The catalyst was that I realised I was making a lot of music that I really loved but didn’t feel a deep connection to. Making this record was about really looking into myself and getting further down the rabbit hole that is my journey of music in life. I guess trying to find myself in some ways.

Your new music diverges a fair bit from your previous sounds. Does Jazz still influence the songs you produce?

Yes, it is quite a different sound to most of the music I’ve been making. I do think though that in a way that are all connected. I’m sure if I hadn’t made a bunch of jazz records or the New Venusians album then this album would sound very different. Nothing really exists in a vacuum. In terms of jazz literally influencing the harmony etc, I’m sure that it has some sway as I do love pretty chords that one might say sound jazzy.

With such highly personal lyrics, where do you draw the strength from to show these pieces to the world?

Hard to know… hmmm. I think having music helps soften the blow. I’ve also always been fascinated with words and writing (son of an English teacher, ha!) So making everything fit together is fun. Whilst there are some very personal songs, there is a part of them too that is not necessarily taking the piss out of myself, but making it clear that humour can be taken seriously too.

You’ve been playing music for a very long time and the Australian music scene has been lucky to have your talent. What advice would you give a young person who wanted to pursue a musical career?

That’s a very lovely thing for you to say, thank you. I feel I still need a lot of advice myself but, something I would say is… practice your instrument, practice with a metronome. Social media is great but don’t let it become more important than your craft. I’m sure that might make some scoff/roll their eyes, but I believe it. Don’t make music because you want JJJ to play it, don’t water yourself down.

The tour kicks off in November and no doubt that’s pretty exciting! What are you most excited for when taking Age of Consequence around the country? What can fans expect from the shows?

It is exciting, god I hope some people come to the shows eeeeeep. I love playing with my band of best friends and amazing musicians. They really inspire me and it’s so humbling that they are keen to play my music. We hope the shows will be dynamic and differ a bit from the record in terms of arrangements etc. It’s nice keeping it fresh for us and I hope it rubs off on the audience.

Finally, what do you hope listeners will gain from your debut album? What do you hope to leave them with after the final song?

I hope that people can find a bit if themselves in it. Whilst there are many personal stories in there, they are also universal in many ways. As for the music, I hope that people are left feeling interested to listen again and uncover all of the layers that are sitting under the surface piecing it all together.

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Age of Consequence is out Friday 12 October via iTunes, Apple Music, Bandcamp and Spotify.

Ben Panucci Age of Consequence Album Tour

8 Nov – The Yarra Hotel, Melbourne

13 Nov – Cobra Club Waywards, Sydney

For more information check out Ben’s Facebook page.

Questions by Tiana Sixsmith

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