Meet The Community

by | May 21, 2023

Paul Bennett
Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

“Your Arse My Place”

Those were the first words Paul Bennett ever uttered to us. I should of course clarify that this was in the context of our Indie Advent interactive feature on Twitter, rather any sort request or invitation.

The first thing I usually do when planning an intro to a Meet The Community is to research the first time the subject matter ever interacted with us on Twitter. Being reminded of when and how they debuted in our world serves to satisfy both my curiosity and nostalgic tendencies. What song or band did they interact with us about? Did this offer any clues as to what we know now about their persona and character?

It was on the 2nd December 2016 that Paul was inducted into the eio40 community with that song from Elastica’s 2nd album, in response to an advent calendar image of a couple sharing an intimate moment over drinks. We learnt later that Paul has a tattoo in tribute to Elastica’s “Stutter” so with hindsight we couldn’t have asked for a more suitable introduction to Paul.

Like many people we have grown to respect and admire over the years who came into our world to share their passion for music in a positive way, Paul is at the vanguard of exactly what we are about. Not sure I’ve ever seen anything even remotely negative from him throughout our interactions over the years. 

He also has a insatiable thirst for discovery that is relentless and evidenced everyday on social media. His Twitter feed is a bona fide treasure trove of musical treats to be explored and consumed. In a world of unconstrained music output where the sheer quantity of releases can be suffocating, you can rely on people like Paul to act almost like a filter of quality. 

Paul himself has become quite adept at running his own interactive features to encourage the discovery of new music. The simplicity but effectiveness of his MAPS and TMM4 features on Twitter show that you don’t have to overthink these things. Wish I’d taken this approach to some of our own often bloated and complex features at times.

When composing these introductions, I also like to think of 3 things that I consider sums up the subject matter of the Meet The Community. For Paul the first 3 that came to mind for me were:- 

  • Tattoos
  • Tour De France
  • Campag Velocet

Whilst we may not converge on the first two (I do love a bit of Campag Velocet though), we do share a love of Auf Weidersehn Pet and Columbo. We could almost be brothers in that respect. In fact I may have seen Paul more in the last 5 years than my own brother. He has come to most of our social events and he and partner Cat even came to support me DJing at the Radio Free Matlock Xmas Party. 

Ever since that indie advent day in December 2016 Paul has been involved in pretty much everything we have ever done. Every interactive feature we’ve hosted, bought every book we’ve published (and that one record we released), donated to every charity initiative we’ve done. He even shared his i40Journal pages with us every week for a year.

He’s been there, done that….and got the t shirt (quite literally).  

Anyway, enough of the gushing. Over to Paul…

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Ilkeston. I’m still here. It’s in Derbyshire but we are a stone’s throw from the Nottinghamshire border. I was born in Nottingham and that’s where I spend a lot of my free time.  

What first got you into indie music?

Top Of The Pops and MTV were major factors as to why indie music came to my attention.  

The likes of EMF, Jesus Jones and The Wonder Stuff were the first Indie bands I remember being aware of. When Blur, Suede and Elastica came along there was no turning back.

What was the first indie record you bought?

Schubert Dip by EMF. I bought the album on tape and it’s in my attic.  

It spent more time in my Walkman over the next couple of years than any other album I owned.

What was your favourite record shop?

In my town we had two record shops, Reynolds Records and Big Al’s. There was also a Woolworths and The Co-op. Selectadisc in Nottingham was my favourite. It was nerve-wracking going in as a young teen but exciting at the same time. I’d be stood in the Grunge/Alternative section feeling out of my depth.  

What music magazines did you read?

NME was the main one for me. I loved doing the crossword on a Friday afternoon after work.  

I bought the odd issue of Melody Maker, plus Q now and then.

The last magazine I purchased on a regular basis was Artrocker. I was starting to discover acts that none of my friends had heard of. I knew Artrocker was for me when Blood Red Shoes graced the front cover.

What was your first indie gig?

I only became a regular gig goer in my mid twenties. Most of my friends didn’t share my tastes and it was hard to find people to go with.

Seeing Muse tour their debut album at Rock City in 2001 was the catalyst to start seeing more bands live. Rock City was rammed that night,the floor was bouncing and the atmosphere electric. It was a seminal moment in my musical journey.  

What was your most memorable indie gig, and why?

There are so many tales of gig exploits from over the years I almost don’t know where to start.  

I’ll go with a gig that took place last year. It was Desperate Journalist at JT Soar in Nottingham. JT Soar is a recording studio/venue that holds around fifty people.  

Desperate Journalist (along with Wych Elm) have been my favourite band of the last decade or so. The gig was in the middle of Summer and the place was like a sweatbox. The show was being recorded which added to the excitement and intensity. Fifty people gathered in a small room with no windows or doors open and no air conditioning. The band were amazing as always and everyone left dripping wet but buzzing. The live album was released in December.  

What 3 indie albums would you take to a desert island? 

I’ve probably overthought this but hear me out. I don’t know how long I’ll be on this island but i think I’ll need variety.

For those hot, lazy days on the beach I’m taking “Simple Things” by Zero 7. Songs like “Destiny” and “In The Waiting Line” would be perfect while working on my tan.  

“Weight” by Rollins Band is my second choice. It’s a brutal, angry album, just what I need to hype myself up before I head off to hunt wild boar.

Last up is my favourite release from 2022, “Love Is Yours” by Flasher. It’s an album that fuses multiple genres over 13 tracks and 36 minutes. I’d urge anyone who hasn’t heard it to give it a listen.

What indie band/artist would you most like to meet?

Black Francis. Pixies are my favourite band of all time. I’d probably turn into a mumbling fool and call him Charles as if we’d been friends for years. His solo work alone should have him hailed as one of the greatest ever songwriters.   

What one song defines your indieness?

“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by The Smiths.

I like clever, witty lyrics. If the song tugs at the heartstrings at the same time it’s a winner for me. You can listen to this song and laugh or cry depending on your mood and that’s not an easy trick to pull off. Nobody did that better than The Smiths.    

A huge thank you to @paulbennett76 for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.

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