After returning from a stint living and travelling through the UK and Europe, 22-year-old Benny Tipene found himself back at square one. Inside his parents house on the outskirts of Palmerston North where boredom began to set in, so he played a lot of guitar. What resulted from these ‘plucking’ sessions were two great demos, a tour through flats in the city among numerous performances and his song ‘Fairy Lights’ reaching number one on Radio Control. If you’re a fan of acoustic music he is worth having a listen to as an up and coming artist in New Zealand music. MASSIVE Magazine recently sat down for a chat with Benny about his latest work as a solo acoustic artist and his plans for his music in the future.
Having been in the well known Palmerston North group The Nerines who had gone on hiatus upon his departure, Benny is not shy about creating and performing music. This project is a bit different though, “When I went over I didn’t want to not play guitar for six months,” he says. “So I got a small, portable guitar that was only 2 kilograms so it went in the cabin as travel luggage playing that for six months, you can only really write around 12 frets and it’s really just picking and chords based.” This instrument swap from the standard electric guitar he contributed “licks and riffs” to The Nerines with has seen him instead create acoustic songs in a simple acoustic pop meets indie folk style, influenced by John Mayer, Avalanche City, Irish Jigs (I went to Ireland and mucked around with some chords from there and stuff), Bob Dylan, Damian Rice, Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons among others.
Benny’s two demos have already been released for free download. Upon releasing the first demo he came up with an idea to spread some hype surrounding his music. “The acutestic idea came from when Dave Baxter played as Avalanche City in my friend’s flat. I saw that there were fairylights on the wall and stuff. I was like, wow! This is such a nice environment, everyone’s just chilling out on pillows and people were having cups of tea, there were biscuits and food and stuff. It was kind of a different thing to happen in Palmerston North. It was intimate for the artists, people actually listened to the music.” The “Acutestic Phlats Tour” saw Benny organise shows at four of his friend’s flats playing with other acoustic artists with free entry, each show had around 50 people turn up, often too many to fit inside.
Benny plans to extend the concept to other cities. There are also plans for another demo recorded in a friends bedroom studio like the previous two. Then the plan to make a temporary studio at his house where he and his friends Dave and Cam plan to collaborate, recording songs with the addition of drums, trumpets, violins, melodicas and other instruments for an EP. Having achieved so much in only a few months you can expect to hear a lot from Benny in the future. You can get on to the music already for free download and keep up with what he is up to by looking up bennytipene.bandcamp.com or facebook.com/bennytipene.