A few years ago, some weird things started happening.

Firstly, friends started texting me to ask what time I’d be onstage, even though I’d stopped gigging.  Then, someone posted on my Facebook wall, saying they loved my drumming the other night and what cymbals was I using and, to be honest, I started to wonder if I was doing gigs in my sleep (not unlikely, knowing me).

Upon further investigation, I realised that there was another guy called Ben Haynes living locally, also a musician, also a multi-instrumentalist. We leapfrog each other on Google when you type “Ben Haynes Music”.


I introduced myself, went to see him play and was blown away by his voice and his songwriting prowess.  Not only that, but he is one of the most genuine people I’ve met, completely free of bullshit, and seemingly unaware of the extent of his talent.

Earlier this year, he approached me to record an EP, which is released and launched this week.

He put forward about ten songs, all shockingly good, of which we narrowed it down to four. The idea was always to serve each song production-wise, so it goes from Do You Think I’m Able, a huge, inspirational, radio-friendly track with a kitchen-sink production, to Not Easy, which is just acoustic guitar and vocals.

If anything, this project was a joint production, as Ben had pretty decent sounding demos already tracked in Logic from home.

For example, Whisper In My Ear already had that warm, organ-like guitar in the intro when he sent me the Logic project; it sounded great so we kept it. We also kept the vocal effects he’d applied, and even the temp acoustic guitar track as it had a warmth and casual swing that suited the song.  We then build up the rest of the song, adding drums with hand patted toms, bass, strings, pedal steel, percussion and dozens of vocal harmonies – in fact, 27 tracks of vocals in total!

Ben’s combination of lyrics and vocals have the capacity to put a lump in my throat like no one else. On songs like Not Easy and Whisper In My Ear, given the subject matter, another singer might belt out the lyrics in a dramatic way, but the staid, almost matter-of-fact vocal delivery from Ben gives it all the more of a punch to the heart.  It’s more effective that way.

On Perfect Waste of Time and Whisper In My Ear, we used real strings, played by the superb Richard Heacock of Fat Cat Strings, and some lovely pedal steel by Mark Dunn.

We used a brilliant mixing engineer called Robin Ball for Do You Think I’m Able, for that punchy, radio-friendly sound. The other three tracks were mixed by me, and the mastering was done by JP Braddock at Formation Audio.

Click this image to download the Whisper In My Ear EP:

Ben Haynes