Gomez’s Ian Ball And Ben Ottewell Are Heading To Town…

Love Police are overjoyed to announce old mates, Ian Ball and Ben Ottewell from the band Gomez, will be returning for a set of stunning, intimate live performances, marking their Australian debut as a duo. Featuring an eclectic array of work spanning across their 20+ year career, fans can expect to hear anything and everything from the warm, mellow sounds of their band works, to their accomplished solo careers, all alongside nuggets of the unheard and unreleased. Since their 1998, Mercury Prize winning debut Bring It On, England’s Gomez have consistently blown away their audiences, be it their loyal fanbase or critics worldwide and this rare outing is not one to be missed, for seasoned followers and fresh fans alike.

The presence of multiple, uniquely talented vocalists within Gomez has always been one of their primary strengths, setting them well aside from their contemporaries. The powerful, soulful voice of Ben Ottewell has always beautifully complimented the softly sung Ian Ball, and when Tom Gray’s presence is thrown into the mix, the three voices explode in musical passion of mythical proportions. Their solo careers also highlight these harmonious differences: Ben Ottewell’s 2011 solo debut Shapes & Shadows displayed his effortless ability to craft singer-songwriter tunes with overtones of Blues Rock (a sound further dived into on his following two records, Rattlebag and A Man Apart), while Ian Ball explored a sound more comfortably akin to Indie Pop and Folk Rock on his one and only solo album, Who Goes There. Combined, Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball detonate audiences with their uncontested, oxymoronic, sonic beauty. Ben Ottewell talks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.

It must feel pretty good to finally be back in Australia for another tour?
It is awesome, it is really good! I have been down here since ’99 and at least once every year for twenty years then that happened. It is not to the worst thing to have happened but it does feel great to be here.

I think Australians would adopt Gomez as our own as there definitely seems to be that affinity with yourself and the band. It feels far to long since you last here doesn’t it?
Yeah, it feels good just to be doing what we do and you realise that more over the last year. In the UK for the year where we weren’t doing it and going around the world playing music I took that for granted. Like you said I think there is a genuine affinity and I think it interesting that it just works down here.

The last couple of years have been tough for lots of people in a lot of ways but how hard has it been for you and Gomez given that the lifeblood for the band is being on the road touring?
Obviously people suffered a great deal and it isn’t for me to be complaining about it. For the most part of it I think it was nice to be able to spend time with family for a while because I don’t get to do that often. It has been tough as this is all that I do, I’m pretty much unemployable when it comes to anything else. It was tough. My daughter and I on the first fifty days of lockdown in the UK we did a song a day on Instagram with her dancing in the background. I kept playing, wrote a few songs and it was time well spent.

The silver lining was time with family but having that time to write new songs uninterrupted must of been a bonus on top of that?
Hmm, yeah, not sure about uninterrupted with three kids and home schooling them. It was very good to get some time and we were three quarters of the way through a new Gomez record as a result. That was pretty cool to get a bit of recording in here and there. We started the record just before the pandemic hit and then we couldn’t really do it over Zoom. We are getting there with a new record and hopefully next time you’ll be talking with me it will be with the full band.

Is this tour more about getting reacquainted with Australian fans and letting them know a new record is on the way?
Some of that, Ian and I were meant to do this in 2020 and were all booked and ready to go but that didn’t work out. This is something me and him have done three times in the States and have just done it in the UK as well, it’s a lot of fun and great to be playing with my mate again. We have an EP with us, Ian, myself and Buddy who opens for us. We’ve put a little tour EP together for people to get their hands on.

So is the set list your songs, Ian’s songs and a few from Gomez?
The set list is mainly Gomez, new songs, one off the EP and some covers. It’s mainly just taking the piss out of each other. That seems to be one of the main things that we do.

What was it like playing those first few shows back?
It was really hard, I’ve never been so nervous. One of the first gigs back was an open air thing because that is all that we could do in the UK with the two squares where people could sit. That was the most nervous I have been for seventeen years playing a show, it was really hard.

Australia missed out of the anniversary tour of Liquid Skin, is that still on the cards?
I’m hoping we’ll be coming back with new music next year!

Do you think much has changed in Australia since your last visit?
I don’t know, all I can tell you is that I went to Little Creatures for a beer at 9.30pm when I got here and they weren’t serving, so I was thinking oh shit I hope it hasn’t changed this much. There’s all the old spots I remember, the coffee is good and the people are friendly.

Hopefully you’ve saved your best for The Gov in Adelaide?
Oh yeah, looking forward to it!

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball on the following dates, tickets through Love Police