Written By Kelly Holm
Ben Lythe knew from the age of 10 that he had to become a rock star. Having grown up with a father who was in a band, he was destined to follow the family profession, constantly tagging along at his old man’s sold-out shows.
“All of my friends wanted to be footballers or firemen, I wanted to take the living room concerts for my parents to a bigger stage,” Lythe said. “One night… [my dad] called me up on stage and put a guitar in my hand. I didn’t know how to play guitar, but I’d seen enough Springsteen videos to know how to make it look cool… I knew I had to be able to play for real next time.”
And in the blink of an eye, he was playing sold-out shows with a band. For three years, Lythe was a member of the Novatines, formerly known as Bare Knuckle Parade, and played festivals all over Europe. Now, he’s starting over in a solitary direction.
“I was so young and everything was so new,” Lythe says of his time with the Novatines. “But becoming Ben Lythe, the solo artist, was something that I always knew I was going to do… now I have complete creative freedom to say what I want to say. So I shaved the beard, kept the [stash] and here we are now.”
His solo debut, an EP called The Beautiful Monsters Under Your Bed, drops later this Spring. Its lead single “Save Your Soul” came out on Feb. 28.
“[The EP’s title refers to] the voices that crawl inside your head in the night when you can’t sleep,” he said. “‘Save Your Soul’ is based around the idea of not being able to let someone go, no matter how badly they’ve treated you… with attitude and energy, this song is a statement of how I mean to go on.”
Other upcoming tracks from The Beautiful Monsters Under Your Bed include “Fashion” and “Black and Blue Eyes,” which could not be more different from each other.
“[‘Fashion’] is a combination of Prince and The Scissor Sisters. I had no right to write such a sassy song,” Lythe says. “It’s such a feel-good tune with an infectious groove that I can’t wait for you to hear.”
“Black and Blue Eyes,” meanwhile, is “a very personal song which touches on mental health.”
“After playing it live, somebody approached me to say the lyrics had resonated so deeply with them that they had shed a tear at the gig,” he shared.
Overall, Lythe seeks to exude a confessional vibe, wearing his heart on his sleeve through his songs.
“When inspiration strikes, I run with it,” he said. “All of my songs are based on my own experiences and if anyone else can relate to them, then I’m doing something right.”
He also wouldn’t mind if HAIM reached out to do a collaboration or if Paul McCartney was sitting in the front row at one of his concerts. As his star continues to rise, he’ll come closer and closer to fulfilling his ultimate dreams.
“The only musicians that fail are the ones that give up,” he said. “Having the motivation and determination to succeed is half the battle.”