Ben Esser keeps it in the family

BEN Esser is enjoying launching his music career in east London, but can t resist popping back to the leafy Essex village he grew up in for some inspiration. Ben, 23, who goes under the stage name of Esser, moved to Bethnal Green four years ago, and now l

BEN Esser is enjoying launching his music career in east London, but can't resist popping back to the leafy Essex village he grew up in for some inspiration.

Ben, 23, who goes under the stage name of Esser, moved to Bethnal Green four years ago, and now lives in Hackney.

He says: "It took a while to settle into those areas, to suss them out. I went from this little village called Galleywood in Chelmsford, where nothing really happens, to London which can be pretty full-on. So it's nice to go back home now and then. A lot of the vocals recorded on my album were recorded in my old bedroom at my mum's house."

Given his edgy exterior and upfront brand of Brit-pop, you'd expect to see Esser bowling around nearby Shoreditch, but he jokes: "I went out in Hoxton Square the other night and it looked like Chelmsford, only with more graphic designers. I know a lot of the cooler parties have moved out to Dalston and Hackney now, but I'm actually thinking of moving to Homerton."


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Signed to small independent Transgressive Records, Esser's debut single Headlock - the video for which was filmed in the playground of an old school in Galleywood - has been causing a stir, and his album, Braveheart, is out on May 4.

Festival appearances at Get Loaded, Clapham Common, on August Bank Holiday beckon. Bestival is in the bag for September and there's even talk of a spot at Glastonbury in June.

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"I make sure that I don't lose sight of the fact that I'm lucky to have a record deal, that I make music for a living and that it pays my rent. It would be easy to get caught up in all the hype and spat out the other side.

"But it also feels nice the way things are. I'm really happy with the record that I've made. I pretty much made it on my own, wrote and sang all the songs and played everything on it."

Now, in the middle of a UK tour, he has had to try to replicate his sound with a live band. Enter stage left younger brother Reuben (drums), Matt Lord (guitar), Grant Armour (bass) and Chris Schubert (samples).

"I tried loads of different sessionists for the band," says Ben. "But I basically ended up with some of my mates and my brother. It's great, we're becoming more and more of a band. There's a real chemistry on stage and that's because we are mates."

And he jokes: "And I get to bully my brother into doing loads of things on the road for me too."

With gigs in Leeds, Glasgow, York and Manchester already conquered in the past week, Esser's back down south on April 30 at London ULU. For more info, go to www.esserhq.com or www.myspace.com/esserhq.

Keep watching this space for news of our Get Loaded ticket giveaway over the coming months.

- MATT TROLLOPE

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