Introducing… Bunderland

Bunderland is the solo project of Ben Sunderland, better known as the lead vocalist of Edinburgh-based indie folk band Chasing Owls.

In stark contrast to his previous band’s rousing, energetic anthems that have enthralled audiences across the UK and beyond, Sunderland crafts gentle, heartfelt ballads that portray a wide and penetrative range of human experience. EN4 News has the pleasure of being the first webzine to chat with the singer-songwriter about new beginnings and his upcoming debut EP.

Name: Ben Sunderland

Hailing from: Edinburgh, Scotland

Genre: Indie Folk

Similar Artists: Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, Damien O

Contact: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud


How would you describe your sound?

Well, it’s just me and my guitar so it’s very acoustic because of that. But it’s all quite intimate; I don’t get too fired up or carried away. One to listen to sitting down, probably with a glass of something nice.

What was the catalyst for making music as Bunderland?

I’ve made music for most of my life now and the way I’ve made that music as well as the music itself is always changing. The past year or so saw my writing become a bit more raw and acoustic-centric, geared less towards a band and more towards solo performance. So I guess it was the music itself that was the main catalyst, which I rather like.

Are you still with Chasing Owls or are you now fully committed to a solo career?

Chasing Owls is still there absolutely, there’s a lot of material and content there that doesn’t make sense to erase as well as material we’ve yet to release. At the same time Bunderland offers me a fresh start and a chance to let the different music find its own path. Maybe I’ll revisit Chasing Owls one day, it’s nice to have different options.

Who or what influences this project?

I’ve always seen writing as a bit of a diary, I’ve never kept one but in some way I save some memories in my songs. So the biggest influence of my songs and thereby this project is me and my life really, the things, places and people I see and meet. Each song has quite a strong scene or picture, home plays a big part in that.

What can we expect from the new EP in November? Is there an overall theme in the lyricism?

The tracks are on the EP quite randomly, really. The whole thing just came about from idly laying some tracks down with a friend and then realising I’d best do something with them. It’s not really a themed record as such – some of the songs were written a few months apart with many others written in between that aren’t on the EP. Saying that, I always think there’s a wee voice in a lot of my songs that takes the position of an observer or witness to some scene or other – maybe the EP’s a bit of social commentary?!


How was your first single ‘Son’ written? What’s the story behind that track?

‘Son’ was written for a friend of mine. She’s got a wonderful eye for the world and the funny little dynamics we humans have, often without being aware of them. ‘Son’ came out of a chat we had about being in the company of someone you trust implicitly and the love that grows there. She talks a lot of respect too and the times respect is sometimes lacking and the safety of returning to that implicit trust. She wrote it really, it’s all about her.

What has the transition from performing big, uplifting anthems with Chasing Owls to subtle, low-key folk ballads been like? Did you make a conscious effort to strip these songs down to the bare minimum?

I love it! It’s very different, especially playing live. I just love the tension of going into a room where few people know your music and it being your job to win them over, you and you alone. Not having the camaraderie of a band is different, sure, but it’s quite rewarding when things sometimes go right!

Would you ever consider collaberating with other musicians in the future?

Of course! I love playing with people – anybody, everybody.

If you could choose one thing for people to take from your music, what would it be?

Ooft, I mean, just taking time to listen to me is amazing in itself, I’ve never really understood when busy folks stop and listen to something I’ve written, it’s pretty humbling. Anything they take from there is theirs.

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