Ben first picked up the guitar when he was 9 years old. He bought a classical starter guitar from Argos for around £20 and then went out to get a 'learn how to play guitar' book from the library in Newtownards. His guitar interest didnt really take off however until the following Christmas when he got an electric guitar from Toys R Us and from that point he was hooked.
He remembers his Granda Don always playing his acoustic guitar when he would go up to visit. Seeing him play, as well as games like 'rock band' and 'guitar hero' which were popular at the time made Ben want to pick up the guitar again. His dad listened to alot of guitar music around him when he was growing up and he just became attracted to the sound.
Bens main musical focus is his band 'Valium'. They have just released their debut EP entitled 'This Feeling's a Wave' which they're super proud of! On his own he produces guitar based pieces influenced by hip-hop and electronica - thats a work in progress. He's played on other peoples records such as Lucy Bell's debut EP. Ben's looking to get into more session work as well as being in the studio coming up with ideas is where he gets the most enjoyment from music.
For guitar, Bens biggest influences are the likes of John Frusciante from RHCP, John Mayer and Jimi Hendrix. There's a guy who he played in church with called John McConville who influenced him alot and turned him towards those types of players. Outside of guitar Ben really likes hip-hop and soul type music such as Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar - he feels both are really pushing musical boundaries, something which has been neglected in rock music for over a decade now.
For the future - Valium are brainstorming on what to do to take themselves to the next level and start playing outside of Belfast to spread their music to more ears. They are putting together more tunes, more groove and more soul. Experimenting with new sounds and trying to push their sound forward. On the solo front, Ben would like to produce more beats and work with other artists. He's always up for a recording session too, so more of those would be wonderful!