Ben Wells and The Middle Names
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Ben Wells and The Middle Names

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"Band Profile: Ben Wells and the Middle Names"

Since their early days of putting on epic all age events and giving Hobart’s teenage delinquents something to dance to, Ben Wells and the Middle Names have been rocking gigs and taking names. Being selected by Triple J Unearthed to play the 2011 Falls Music Festival, rocking out the Festival of the Sun and then being invited back to Falls for 2012 has done a lot to propel the Tasmanian group on what has been an epic last year for the band. They recorded a well received EP and toured a single around Australia as well as played regular support gigs for bands such as Art vs Science and San Cisco.

After Brisbane fans caught them at The Zoo playing the Big Sound conference, they will be back up here to record their debut album with multi-award winning producer Magoo and will hopefully play some sneaky gigs on the side. For any fans across the ditch in NZ, Ben Wells will be doing a number of solo gigs across the country early this year.

Inspired by Indie music stalwart Darren Hanlon, their sound marries the soulful deeply personal lyrics of songwriter Ben Wells with the bouncy warm indie pop that fans of Hungry kids of Hungary and Ballpark Music have become accustomed to, along with the strong folk sensibilities you would expect from a band hailing from the Apple Isle. When their new album drops around summer, we can expect a bit more of a focused sound with harder rock elements and to continue the good form exhibited in the EP. - Brisbane SOS


"On the road with Ben Wells and Nick Probin"

What are you listening to on the road? BEN: Lately I've been listening to Paul Dempsey's solo record, also some older Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I'm looking forward to seeing them at Big Day Out.

What's your favourite instrument? NICK: My favourite instrument, believe it or not, is probably the drums. Although I really only play guitar, I love the mood and feel that can be set by straight-out drums.

What's your earliest musical moment? BEN: I can remember attempting to play guitar with my dad when I was pretty young.

How do you prepare for a gig? NICK: Usually a good meal a couple of hours prior, perhaps a beer, a good vocal warm-up and a hot shower.
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What's your favourite post-gig pastime? BEN: Drinking beer generally.

What's the greatest thing you have seen on stage? BEN: We played at Falls Festival the same year as Public Enemy. Watching Flavor Flav stage dive from a stack of speakers was pretty amazing.

What's your most treasured possession? NICK: My most treasured possession is an old antique black cast-iron ''door knocker''. It's an elephant's trunk and you lift the trunk to knock on the door. I don't really know why I like it so much. It's rad though.

What's your best piece of touring advice? BEN: Give each other space, haha, and eat healthy; that can be the difference between a good and bad tour.

Who are your musical heroes? NICK: Nick Cave. To write music like he does, sing like he does, be so incredibly unique and put on a full stage performance like he does is incredible.

What's on your dream rider? NICK: A cocktail of illicit substances, an Aston Martin DB9 (for keeps after the show) and plenty of seductive Brazilian women with palms to fan us all. The remainder of that rider I will leave up to your imagination.

Who would you most like to tour with? BEN: Ah, there are so many bands I'd like to tour with. Australian band would be Something for Kate, international band would be Arcade Fire … or Tyler the Creator, ha.

What was your musical epiphany? NICK: Watching Ben Harper's Live From Mars DVD.

Is there any music you don't listen to? BEN: Not really, I'm pretty open to most genres of music. I don't listen to commercial radio all that often, but that's probably more to do with the ads.

What's your latest recording? NICK: Our single, Bear In A Birdcage. The song is about surfing and not wanting to be stuck at work/school/anything asides from doing what you love. There is a film clip by Tassie surf-cinematographer Simon Treweek on YouTube.

Describe your sound? BEN: We have a pretty broad sound, some of the songs are pop, some are indie/rock and some are folk. We like to have fun with the music so it's always something you can get into. The next record is going to be a little bit darker compared to our first EP House, Come Home.

What's your favourite gig of all time? NICK: Great question … for the band I guess it was either one of two shows that really stick out in my mind - one of our hometown all-ages shows a couple of years back had people crowd surfing and going crazy and that was heaps of fun! Or opening the Falls Festival last year - that was sweet!


- Sydney Morning Herald


"Q & A with Ben Wells"

After a pretty sexy debut EP and an awesome new single with ‘Bear in A Birdcage’, we caught up with Ben Wells and The Middle Names to talk records, touring and what 2013 holds for these Tasmanian indie rockers.

First up, who makes up Ben Wells and the Middle Names?

I (Ben) Play guitar and sing, Nick Probin plays guitar and sings Ali Probin Plays guitar and sings and Jordan Hooper plays the bass. At the moment we’re in between permanent drummers. I write the lyrics we all write the music!

How did you guys form? Did you ever think the band would get as big as it has?

It started out as Nicko and I doing a duet thing on acoustic guitars around local Hobart pubs and I don’t think we ever thought we’d end up touring the country together. We’re just stoked people actually want to listen to our music!

The ‘Ben Wells’ part of the name is obvious, but where did the idea for the middle names come from?

The middle names came from the first drummer the band had whose name was Robert but everybody called him Josh so it was “Ben Wells and the Middle Names”. We’d thought of changing it a few times but it seemed to stick!

Lately, you have pretty much been the support for every big band that comes to Tasmania including Ball Park Music, San Cisco and Jungle Giants. Do you have a favourite band you have supported? What are the best tips you have picked up?

We partied really hard with the guys from Little Red actually, cool blokes! I think the best advice is make the most of your opportunities both on the stage and off!

Say somebody stumbles across you guys playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?

I think they’d say we play dark indie pop we’ll that’s what I’d say anyway. I’d like to hope they think we don’t leave anything on the stage, we put our hearts into our live set and put as much energy as we can into it.

What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?

My record collection is pretty broad everything from Van Morrison to La despute. I think Boxer by the National has been one of my most influential records, the way the songs can make you feel good or shit personally and you can connect to them yet they are still lyrically intriguing.

How do you compose your new songs? Do you rely on the same method, or do you mix it up?

It normally starts with me coming to the band with an idea and perhaps some lyrics then we jam it and slowly work out how we think it should sound. It’s always interesting because some of the songs are completely different to others and we all have such different influences and idea’s for the songs.

You have just released your new single ‘Bear in a Birdcage’, which has an ‘I would rather be surfing’ mentality. Given that everybody looks outside and wishes they were at the beach, did this song just write itself, or did you have the idea and really have to work hard to make it right?

Yeah it kind of did, I wrote while I was at work so the lyrics were exactly what I was feeling, haha.

Your touring for the rest of 2012, any shows you’re particularly keen for?

Yes!! I’m so excited to tour again. I’m pumped for all the shows but I’m quite looking forward to the Melbourne show with Buchannan, those guys are sick!

What does 2013 promise to have in store for Ben Wells and The Middle Names?

We’re going to start pre production as soon as the tour finishes and work on new songs until we head into the studio in March to work with the producer Magoo, which I’m really excited about because we’ve never worked with a producer before!! - Aussie Playlist


"Live Review - Ben Wells & The Middle Names @ Fitzroy Workers Club 5 December 2012"

Monday, 17 December 2012 By Scott

I’m so glad I caught Ben Wells and The Middle Names play in Melbourne and here’s why….

A touch of feedback, pitch bends, hefty drums and a mix of light and darker edged surf pop was heard. One of my favs Bear In A Bird cage pulsed, and to ease us all before another burst of vigorous sounds Ben & Nick performed acoustic tracks which included the moving My Brother and I.

After this brief chilled moment in the set the full band then jumped back on stage. The audience got involved with claps, the beat of the infectious drums belted again and 4 bars later we were right back on that magic mid week ride with Ben Wells and the Middle Names!!

The group had a raucous time on stage performing Robin Hood that’s taken from the House, Come Home EP and then after more powerful tunes Ben thanked everyone for coming and closed the night.

The gig was such a great way to break up the week, it chilled me out completely!! - Little Boom Music


"Interview: Ben Wells and the Middle Names"

Bill Quinn (Overheard Productions) is a great fan of accidental musical discoveries. At a gig to see Rebecca Moore play support last week, he was more than pleasantly surprised with the headline act, Triple J Unearthed winning band from Hobart, Ben Wells and the Middle Names.

Bill spoke with Ben after the gig and started off by getting the Ben Wells and the Middle Names story.

Ben Wells: It started out as me and Nick [Probin] who plays the lead guitar in the band. And we were doing just an acoustic duo thing in pubs around Hobart. And then slowly got a band together.

And we got a big underage following in Hobart. We were hiring out halls and putting on our own shows for 300-400 kids. We got a bit of a vibe around from that.

And then we started to do a few shows in Melbourne and tried to get interstate. We got asked to do the Falls Festival and then last year we won Triple J Unearthed to play at Falls.

But recently we’ve changed band members and changed our sound a bit. Because we started really folky. And we still play a lot of folky kind of songs, but with the full band it’s a lot heavier. Ali (Nick’s sister) joined the band and Jordie [Hooper] joined. And we’ve got a new drummer [Declan Hogan].

The band went for a six piece to a five piece, and we cut the keys and the violin – we had a violinist.

Bill Quinn: That would be the folky element!

BW: Yeah! A couple of the songs was like full, right down the line folk.

BQ: And then Mumford and Sons comes out and you think, “Oh [bother], we should have kept the fiddle!”

BW: Yeah, yeah! We’d be killing it right now!

But no, we kind of changed the sound.

The thing we’re most fond of is touring; just playing as much as we can around the country. Especially being from Tassie, you’ve got to make the most of it. When you go on a tour, you’ve just gotta do as many shows as you can.

BQ: What’s the logistics like for a tour from Tasmania? Do you have to have a certain number of dates pre-booked to make it worthwhile?

BW: Yeah, we have a manager who books shows for us, but when we do it we just try to do as many as we can in one whack. So I’ve borrowed my parents’ van…

BQ: Yay, mum and dad!

BW: Yeah, thank goodness! And we’ll take the Spirit [of Tasmania] over, and sometimes a couple them will fly in and a couple of us will go over, drive up and drive back.

BQ: Just getting back to the ‘underage’ thing – that’s probably not the right term, but something along those lines.

[The phrase ‘all ages’ just wasn’t coming to mind – I blame the house dry white at The Front Café and Gallery that night.]

What started that? What do you think is the appeal?

BW: When it was at its biggest was when we were in college. So we had all our friends, and it slowly hyped up. And we put on these shows where kids know they’re going to be able to go. We have to hire security and all that!

But every kid’s looking for somewhere to go on a Saturday night where they’re going to have a good time. And they don’t want to go to a house party; they went to go somewhere to see live music, so we just amp it up, make sure we’ve got posters in every school.

We put in a lot of ground-work, but it pays off in the end and ends up being a fun night.

BQ: Now there’s a Canberra connection which you mentioned in the “Escape” song – I loved that! When did you leave Canberra?

BW: I was born in Canberra but I was only here for the first two or three years then mum and dad moved to Tassie.

BQ: Right, so when you said you wrote that song in Canberra, I’m guessing that wasn’t in the first two or three years of your life!

BW: No! All of mum’s side of the family lives in Canberra – my grandma and my aunties. So we were up here on a surf trip, my brother and I, and dropped in to Canberra on a visit. But I was doing lots and lots of writing at the time.

BUT it was more about the escape from Tassie than from Canberra!

BQ: Ah, I thought it was an escape from a relationship!

BW: That too. Just getting away from everything.

BQ: So tell me about tonight’s gig: how did that go for you?

BW: Yeah, it was awesome. We’ve played at The Front once before, and it was an awesome gig as well. It’s interesting because the sound we’ve got at the moment is a bit more rocky, a heavier rock kinds of sound. And when we strip all the songs back, we know people are actually listening to what we’re saying. So I’m always interested in how people will take it, because some of the songs are that kind of poppy aspect.

But we love playing in Canberra. Every time we’ve played here we’ve had a really welcoming reception.

BQ: Where to next?

BW: We’ve got a couple more shows in Hobart before the end of the year, and then we’re going to jump into the studio. We’ve got a grant from Arts Tas and in March, we’re going to do a record with a producer named Magoo (who did ‘Unit’ by Regurgitator and heaps of others; a really, really nice bloke. We caught up with him when we were in Brisbane for Big Sound.

So we’re going to get 20 or 30 songs and whittle them down into ten that we’re happy with.

BQ: We shall await with bated breath! - Timber & Steel


"Ben Wells & The Middle Names December 5th 2012 @ The Workers Club"

While using the slightly generic word ‘fun’ to describe a gig may seem palpably lacking in inspiration, it has to be said: The wheeling fun had on stage by Ben Wells And The Middle Names – together with support band Buchanan – was nothing short of infectious.

Hailing from Tasmania, Ben Wells And The Middle Names later apologised to the crowd for not making it to Melbourne more often. “Sorry. The deck chairs on the Spirit of Tassie are really uncomfortable.”

In his branded hat and t-shirt, a young Wells could easily be underestimated at first glance. However, there is a maturity and sincere warmth to his’ songwriting which became apparent very quickly.

The intimate venue was perfect for Wells to communicate his lyrics to a refreshingly polite and supportive audience. ‘My Brother And I’, ‘A Good Read’, and ‘Bear In A Birdcage’ all exemplified his ability to sing about the things that actually concern and inspire him.

There was no recycled love song here; while Wells’ vocal performance became a little tired towards the end of the gig, his ability to honestly share a story never waned.

Musically speaking, the ringleader was also the clear stand-out. He was well supported by his band, however they seemed to need a few songs to become more comfortable on stage.

It was relieving to see that by the end of the set, the outfit were beaming at one another, visibly having a terrific time behind their instruments. Solid harmonies decorated the folk-driven pop music, particularly the spritely and impossibly catchy ‘Robin Hood’.

In a night of heartwarming moments, perhaps the most heartwarming of all was Wells’ announcing he would perform ‘Old Sea Salt’ acoustically.

Immediately, the sound technician sprang through the crowd to the stage-front with an assortment of cables and leads. “Nah, mate, I’m just gonna sing to them,” Wells assured him with a cheeky grin, stepping ahead of the mic stand to address his audience with just an acoustic guitar.

Before the sound tech could amble back to his desk, the entire room of bodies were hypnotised into silence by the solitary musician. The authentic emotion within Wells’ vocals was spellbinding.

Clearly, this young Tassie is an astute musician, with the potential to develop into a breathtaking songwriter.

Melbourne might want to start funding comfier Spirit of Tasmania deck chairs soon, as the city would be lucky to see more of him.

Reviewed by Carly Milroy on 8 December 2012 - Tone Deaf


"BEN WELLS AND THE MIDDLE NAMES @ The Workers Club – 5/12/12"

Ben Wells is wearing a Santa Cruz t-shirt, with a slightly creepy eye on it and a black Obey cap. I’ve never actually seen him and his band before so I’m not really sure what to expect. I’m beginning to think that maybe I should have left after Buchanan – that their slightly heavier sound was enough for me, and I should quit while I’m ahead. I’m all for stepping outside my comfort zone to expand my musical horizon but I’m not so sure about Ben Wells and The Middle Names.

They start and I’m blown away. The band is incredibly tight and Ben has the biggest, goofiest grin on his face.

I am so glad I’m still here.

The semi-circle is empty but I have no doubt it’ll fill up soon. There are a handful of girls dancing in the front row and if I were by myself I’d probably go and join them. But Liv and I are happy back here by the bar.

Playing their new single, ‘Bear In A Birdcage’, Ben tells us we can download it for free if we want. Watching him on stage, the word “larrikin” springs to mind. Again, this is not a word I’d use normally. Tonight is all about new things, it seems. First there was the beer, then saying “killer” and now I’m channeling my 63-year-old father and describing someone as a larrikin. Well, when in Rome (or, rather, Fitzroy).

Liv is in charge of holding my beer while I race to the bathroom (I don’t want to miss more of this set than I have to). The front bar is still relatively busy and I wonder why those sitting in here don’t come and listen to the band. I can hear them from here and I’m shaking my head in disbelief at how ecstatic I’m feeling.

It only took a few minutes for the semi-circle to fill in. Liv explains how this occurred. He said, “Come five steps closer. We’ll get intimate.”

It keeps getting more and more so, because now Ben and Nick play ‘Old Sea Salt’ – but unplugged. They’re taking advantage of the quiet crowd, apparently. I’m grateful because this is absolutely beautiful. I notice that there’s a real distinctive quality to Ben’s voice. I can’t quite put my finger on it. The harmonies are glorious as well. This is a song for late nights, gently closed eyes, dark rooms.

The whooping and cheering and loud applause just shows how much we’re all loving this. The ironic-t-shirt wearing hipster is dancing wildly and singing along to ‘Lines’.

I haven’t stopped dancing since they started. My feet aren’t even sore! I definitely understood where Ben was coming from when he said, “I’m in a happy mood.” This was a disclaimer after he introduced a song. “This song’s called ‘Running Backwards’ and it’s an angry song.” Then he told us about his happy mood, continuing with, “You guys are amazing tonight.”

He isn’t wrong. This is one of the best crowds I’ve been a part of in quite a while. No drunk dickheads, no hecklers (same same but different). The size of the crowd here lends itself to a certain kind of intimacy and after a week of heading to packed gigs, sometimes with 500 plus people, it’s truly wonderful to be in a room of fifty or sixty.

It’s pretty wonderful to hear some female vocals too and the gorgeous girl in The Middle Names has a surprisingly sexy voice. To be honest, I pay less attention to the names of the songs than usual. I’m just so caught up in all of this. Those little bursts of laughter become more and more frequent and my third beer disappears at an alarming speed. I’m not swaying though – except for when it’s part of my dancing.

This is their last song and the melancholy is back – except this time in the form of “I don’t want this to be over!” I can feel the post-gig blues kicking in already.

Ben’s plugging the merchandise now; telling us to buy a CD or one of their band-made t-shirts if we’d like them to come back. “I wish we could come to Melbourne more often but I hate sleeping on the deck chair on the Spirit of Tasmania.” If we buy something though, then he’ll get to sleep in a bed. If only I hadn’t bought that last drink.

REVIEW BY GRACE GOODFELLOW - The Ripe


"Ben Wells & The Middle Names (EP review)"

Six-piece indie rock band Ben Wells & The Middle Names have been gathering quite a following in their native Australia, and are about to embark on a nationwide co-headline tour with Kate Martin. For the time being, those of us further afield will have to remain content with the bands excellent debut EP House, Come Home.

Opening with Robin Hood, the first single from House, Come Home, the band stake their claim for a summer festival slot. Los Campesinos-esque, the track is catchy and well complimented by jangling guitars evocative of summers spent chasing girls. My Dear Summer must be a strong contender for the bands second single, and works well following the opener, swapping the drum kit for a violin in the chorus to replace the ‘here and now’ feel of Robin Hood with more nostalgia.

A Good Read is heavier than the rest of the EP and worthy of mention for that alone. Hey on the other hand, returns to the EP’s earlier catchy sound and would have to be the standout track. Reminiscent of girl/boy groups like Summer Camp and Jenny and Johnny, the more prominent feature of Hannah Foley’s vocals give the song an added dynamism.

The final two tracks, River, and Sinners both take the EP in different directions than early tracks, and are possible indications of what the bands’ sound may evolve into for a full length debut album. The most successful of these directions is the one presented by ‘Sinners’, a mellow, folk driven track which brings House, Come Home to a brilliant, tantalizing end.

Ben Wells & The Middle Names have managed to create an EP that successfully brings together a collection of songs that each complement each other whilst all being worthy of their own existence. It will be interesting to see how the EPs different styles and influences come across on a full length release but in the meantime those out there lucky enough to live in Australia must get themselves along to the bands May tour!

Jake - The Grapevine. - The Grapevine


"Ben Wells and The Middle Names - House, Come Home (EP review)"

Catchy, multi-dimensional, and just twee enough.

Following in the vein of bands like Ball Park Music and San Cisco, Tasmanian band of six Ben Wells and the Middle Names are embracing a multi-vocalist approach with their music, which works in their favour. Their latest EP House, Come Home if full of light and shade with each vocalist giving the songs their own colour.

The 6 song EP is full of lyrically strong songs and while they’re all catchy, they do vary stylistically. Some of the highest points of the EP come in the down moments. All the slower, more sentimental songs such as ‘River’ and ‘Sinners’ showcase the band’s lyrical strengths.

‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Hey!’ provide House, Come Home with the upbeat sound fans have come to expect from the band and the most fun moments come when violinist Hannah Foley and lead singer Ben Wells share the mic and embrace the harmonies they’re so great at.

Having won Triple J unearthed competition late last year, the band have been going from strength to strength and will be touring Australia early next month with Kate Martin.

Tone Deaf - Tone Deaf


"Ben Wells and the Middle Names - House, Come Home (EP review)"

With the release of their debut EP House, Come Home, Hobart locals Ben Wells and the Middle Names let us know exactly what they can do. Their mix of song from upbeat rock n roll numbers through to the stripped-down final track, bring together the sounds that this band plays during their shows into a polished EP.

The opening track and first single, Robin Hood, is a step up from their usually chilled out music with an upbeat pop sound. The lively bass line and the rock and roll drum beat complement each other well, creating a playful base to the track. The mix of Ben Wells and Hannah Foley’s vocals bounce off each other and add to the fun atmosphere. The song is topped off with a decidedly catchy riff that contrasts with the vocals and bass while still bringing the song together into a polished and well-planned track.

They return to their pop-folk style with the second track, My Dear Summer. The mix of acoustic and electric guitars create a big sound in their layered harmonies. The track plays like a classic summer song with the lyrics singing of a summer romance and waiting for love. The piano brought in during the first chorus builds throughout the song finishing it off on a rather masterful note.

Sinners brings this release to a close, with a stripped down track of vocals and guitar. This track plays with the darker intensity showcased in an earlier track A Good Read, but is re-worked to create a more raw sound. Without the support of the bass, drums and piano, this track builds its own intensity through the lyrics and Ben’s vocals. This contrasts with the rest of the EP and works well to bring the CD to a close on more subdued note.

As a debut release for Ben Wells and the Middle Names, House, Come Home certainly works well to bring in listeners both new and old to the band. The EP covers the range of music that the band indulges in over their live shows, while adding a polished finish to raise their music to the next level. With such a great start for the band, I can’t wait to hear what they have in store for us next.

Bethany Williams - The 59th Sound - The 59th Sound


"Ben Wells & The Middle Names - House, Come Home (EP review)"

If you’re a fan of Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Ball Park Music, Megan Washington et al, then you’d be well advised to check out this charming little EP from Tasmanian alt-pop rockers Ben Wells & The Middle Names. While Ben and Co. clearly have no interest in straying too far from the (Triple J) mainstream, they sure as hell know how to write a hook or two. There’s some very nice instrumentation here, lots of bouncing keys and soaring violin and uplifting harmonies and lyrics about girls, books and summertime. If you don’t at least bop your head a little to opening track Robin Hood or the infectiously catchy duet Hey!, then you probably have no soul. Or possibly no ears. Maybe you have an obscure medical condition that has caused you to be bereft of both, in which case I’m not quite sure why you’re reading a music magazine.

JOSH DONELLAN - Rave Magazine - Rave Magazine


"Ben Wells and the Middle Names"

Tasmanian band Ben Wells and the Middle Names are on the move. The past two years have been massive for the six piece band south of the strait – winning Unearthed Falls Festival in 2010-2011, performance slots including Festival of the Sun and Taste fest, as well opening for the likes of Art Vs Science, San Cisco and Passenger – the charming band are currently following Kate Martin on her tour around Australia.

Ben Wells, frontman of Ben Wells and the Middle Names, is excited to be touring on the mainland again this May.

‘I’m really looking forward to it,’ he says. ‘It’s going to be a long tour, we’ve got a lot of driving, but I think the shows are going to be really good.’

Since their first appearance as Unearthed winners at Falls Festival Marion Bay at the beginning of 2011, they were invited to play at the same festival to bring in 2012, this time with fewer nerves, says Wells.

‘Much less stress,’ he laughs. ‘Especially after we had done Festival of the Sun (2011) as well you kind of get an idea of how it all works at the back of the festival, and you don’t worry about too much – it’s more of a cruisy thing, and you can enjoy it more.

‘I think also we had a bit more of a name for ourselves, just around home in Tassie, so we had quite a good crowd as well. All our mates [were] up the front, which is always nice.’

Where then, did their (almost absurdly long) name come from?

‘The project originally started as a solo project that I was doing, then I started playing with a drummer,’ Ben Wells says. ‘No one really knew what his first name was, they just called him by his middle name. So it was Ben Wells and the Middle Names. And then we added members and that drummer doesn’t actually play anymore, but the name kind of stuck.’

Ben Wells and the Middle Names are most definitely on the rise. Their charming, catchy indie pop music and live performances have been rapidly catching the attention of crowds across the country, but the band have other concerns than their increasing fame.

‘The six of us are all just really good friends, and we have so much fun playing live,’ Ben says. ‘We try not to worry too much about what people expect from us. I mean the main thing that we worry about, being from Tassie, [is] we want to be able to play shows on the mainland, whenever there’s an opportunity, whenever there’s an offer for us to go on a tour, we’d want to be able to take it. The main thing we worry about is financially or having the time to be able to do everything.’

With the extensive touring across the country, how do the band stay sane?

‘You should probably ask Hannah (their violinist) that question hey, being the only girl in the band?’ Wells laughs. ‘It’s not too bad… you’ve just got to have an iPod full of music and give each other space.’

With the recent release of their first EP called House Come Home, Wells is happy with the reaction from fans. ‘[It’s been] really good so far,’ he says. ‘It’s always nerve wracking I think. Especially because we recorded the EP this time last year and we’ve only just released [it].

In songs like Robin Hood, it obvious that the band are coming from a happy place. For Ben Wells, he insists that he writes songs only from personal experience. ‘I try and write things that I have experienced or can directly relate to, rather than try and write from someone else’s perspective,’ Ben says. ‘Being 19 and 20, when the EP was written, was basically songs just about that. It was a fun period – playing at festivals, [having] just turned 18 – that sort of thing.’

There is a noticeable difference in each song on the new EP, something that Wells acknowledges was a conscious decision. ‘Even with our lifestyle as well we try and we never want to pigeon hole ourselves into one genre of music,’ Wells muses. ‘We enjoy listening to different types of music, quiet folky stuff to rock essentially.
Angelique Lu - Lip Magazine
- Lip Magazine


"Ben Wells and The Middle Names - House, Come Home EP Review"

Every now and then something happens that makes you realise that Tasmania really is part of Australia and this EP by Ben Wells and the Middles Names is exactly that stimulus.

This six-piece from Hobart have produced an absolutely killer debut EP that combines everything we love about indie music. They have melodic keyboards, sweet violins, catchy guitar loops, a fantastic lead vocalist with the back-ups to boot. Its a crazy good EP, and its not surprising that several of the tracks have already gained some radio time.

My favourite track has to be ‘Hey’. It is a wicked duet mixing the smooth vocals of Ben Wells and the beautiful voice of Hannah Foley, that just commands your ears to listen. The instrumentation is impressive to, particularly the introductory section to the song. It starts with the percussion, followed by the guitars plucking away, then piano interjects and finally the chanting vocals with ‘Hey’. Its pretty cool.

Yet there are more great tracks such as ‘My Dear Summer’ which is that kind of chilled almost folky kind of music that you feel compelled to sing along to. Its fantastically well layered, with the keys, drums and guitars mixing flawlessly with the happy-go-lucky vocals of Ben Wells. This track is full of catchy melodies, and has more charm than anything I have listened to lately. It is just such a polite and friendly song and an awesome listen. Put simply – I love it.

Each of the remaining 4 songs gives something different. ‘Sinners’ is a slow moving raw acoustic piece that verges on spoken word, that I cant help but feel it doesn’t suit the band as well as the sounds on the other tracks.’A Good Read’ is the heaviest of the tracks and reminded me of a heavy version of Irish band The Script. ‘River’ is more of a slow tune driven by the percussion of the egg shaker, but comprises a pretty cool piano solo that helps create a mega chilled track. ‘Robin Hood’ is their most popular track, and it uses some catchy hooks, beautiful harmonies and driving beats to tell an interesting love story.

The whole album has charm leaking out of it. Its just clean indie fun. I have been made into quite the Ben Wells and the Middle Names fan, and am looking forward to their future releases.

Aussie Playlist - Aussie Playlist


"Ben Wells and The Middle Names @ The Loft"

There’s something about Ben Wells and The Middle Names that makes it difficult to avoid falling head over heels for their music and everything they represent. For what was their first ever Gold Coast show, the band spent Saturday night serenading locals at The Loft, supported by emerging talent Holly Terrens, Kate & Liza, and Marcus Blacke – each proving to be fine artists in their own right.

The show was wonderfully homely and intimate, with punters sitting by candlelight at mismatched tables to enjoy the unique style and true musicianship of each performance. In contrast to the usual head-banging, tequila-drinking crowd you find at many music gigs, the audience at this show was refreshingly polite and attentive, though no less appreciative or enthusiastic.

The mellow mood set by the support artists shifted once Ben Wells and The Middle Names (BWTMN) exploded into their first song for the night, a lively rendition of ‘Hey!’ that was followed by a stream of crowd favourites including ‘My Dear Summer’, ‘A Good Read’ and ‘Lullaby’. BWTMN also launched tons of new tunes, such as ‘Lions’, ‘Bear in a Birdcage’, ‘Phone Calls’, ‘Out on Your Own’, ‘Running Backwards’ and ‘My Brother and I’, all of which demonstrated the band’s ability to channel their unique sound, infectious energy, sincerity and charm into pure musical goodness, on stage and off. They write about things that mean something to them, from family to surfing to long-distance relationships, which made their performances poignantly personal whilst also striking a chord with listeners.

One thing is for sure – BWTMN made many new fans on Saturday night. Near the end of their set, calls for an encore echoed around The Loft and Wells obliged by breaking out the tambourine for a final, spirited number, which still left the crowd wanting more. One punter in particular playfully demanded no less than four more songs from the six-piece. Like we said – they’re hard not to like.

Bec Taylor - Vulture Magazine - Vulture Magazine


"The Golden Kids from Hobart"

At the best of times, Tasmania cops a fair bit of flack from us smog-loving, city folk. But given the quality of talent coming out of our southern-most state recently, no mainlander can deny that we’ve seriously underestimated our Taswegian counterparts.

A fine example of this is up-and-coming, Hobart-based band Ben Wells and The Middle Names, who have just released their first EP, House, Come Home, ahead of an east-coast tour in May. With a combination of raw talent and a wonderful, laid back determination, this six-piece indie/pop group have been making quite a name for themselves ever since their formation back in 2010.



“One thing Vulture noticed is the real sense of charm oozing from their EP…”



After getting hooked on their newest tunes, Vulture chatted to frontman Ben Wells about the band, the EP and starting a career in music.

“I started playing music in front of people when I was pretty young,” says Wells, remembering when it all began. “As soon as you do it for the first time, it’s like ‘yeah, this is what I want to do with my life.’”

Wells comes across as an incredibly down to earth, level headed young man with a lot to prove, but even more to gain. He’s inspired by bands like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers because they represent everything musically that he wants to achieve in the coming years.

To date, BWTMN have performed in a myriad of venues (including the main stage at the Falls Festival Marion Bay two years running), all the while loyally supported by their solid Tassie fan base. Despite also gaining momentum and media attention interstate, it’s clear the band haven’t forgotten their roots – Wells says the EP explores themes closer to home, referring to his recent decision to move out on his own. “I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t know about, so the inspiration comes from just growing up, being a teenager and not being a teenager and things that affect my life, or things I see and notice happening in the world…”

As for the music itself, Wells says it’s hard to define because of its diversity; BWTMN swing from indie to folk to alternative rock with relative ease, while the addition of the violin is a nice surprise and gives the band a real edge. One thing Vulture noticed is the real sense of charm oozing from their EP – it’s comfortable, easy and familiar, evoking nostalgic memories of lazy summers spent at the beach with friends.

Though Wells writes much of the music for The Middle Names, compositions can also be the result of creative collaboration between all six members. Violinist Hannah Foley and keyboardist Seth Henderson are also lead singers in other bands. Similarly, guitarist Nicko Probin, bassist Carlos Pashev and drummer Declan Hogen lend their talent to other local groups – something Wells says adds to the depth of BWTMN’s music.

Nicknamed by various critics, ‘The Golden Kids from Hobart’, these guys are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, with many more shows around Australia, a trip to New Zealand in August and the promise of another EP to quickly follow the first.

As a band, they have already clocked up over 10,000km travelling the east coast of Australia for the sake of their music, and they are about to do it again for the Let’s Meet in the Middle tour alongside songstress Kate Martin. Wells says one of the best things about BWTMN is “playing with six of your best friends on stage”. Some artists get a kick out of recording in a studio but according to Wells they have the most fun at live gigs: “I think live is definitely our thing. We all really enjoy it, me especially. You come off stage and it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Bec Taylor - Vulture Magazine - Vulture Magazine


"Ben Wells and the Middle Names + Iluka - Kings Cross Hotel (07.12.11)"

Tassie act Ben Wells and the Middle Names and Sydney songstress Iluka supplied a night of fantastic music that was enough to warm the hearts of anyone who was drenched from the outside weather...

The smiles on all the Tassie six-piece Ben Wells and the Middle Names faces suggested they were having as much fun playing as the audience was having listening. Their fresh indie-pop sound had all punters at least toe-tapping and head-nodding. Even whilst writing this I have trouble putting the power shown in their songs into words. When the band would slow things down and lead-singer Ben Wells unveiled the soulful side of his voice, their story-telling of love and loss was highlighted and escaped to new heights. Soon to play Falls Festival, one can only imagine their groove will be a prefect hit with all in attendance. Each song was catchy, yet mature. The band played a refreshing set, laden with vibrancy and a unique craft to song writing that will undoubtedly come off perfectly when their debut EP is released in early 2012.

Lachlan Mitchell – The AU Review - The AU Review


"Ben Wells & The Middle Names - House, Come Home (EP)"

Never mind Cradle Mountain, The Cataract Gorge or the picturesque wilderness, Ben Wells and his fellow Middle Names are the most appealing things in Tasmania right now. The Hobart band have recently released their debut EP ‘House, Come Home’. The six tracks oozes immense professionalism far beyond what should be present on a debut EP by an independent band.

‘House, Come Home’ consists of upbeat pop inspired bluesy rock as well as more introspective tunes while still always managing a toe-tapping piano rock element. The six-piece have given a very good account of themselves with this EP and it does nothing but impress and show that despite its size, Tassie can produce some damn fine music.

‘Robin Hood’ received some airplay on Triple J, garnering attention for its poppy melodies and catchy contagious vocals. The song ebbs and flows and picks up the pace before dropping it back off in parts, yet all the while remaining refreshing and addictive to the ear. ‘My Dear Summer’ is slower than its predecessor but is just as well crafted and attractive. The “Middle Names” manage to create a deep sound, not in terms of content, but the music has depth and sounds extremely well manufactured and is obviously created by a group of people who know their instruments very well and know how to use them to create catchy and enticing songs. As the song goes on it gets faster and becomes catchier like the opening track.

‘A Good Read’ is darker in terms of lyrical content and sees the piano used to create a different sound than that of previous tracks. Once again the band manage to create a song that is upbeat while still being rather serious at the same time. As it unfolds the singing in the chorus gets more irreverent and Wells’ strains his vocal chords for the first time on the disc, yet it sounds good and is reminiscent of all that is appealing about live music.

‘Hey’ sees female vocals for the first time on the release aside from backing vocals. The song is a welcome mix up as a result. It creates memories of lazy rainy Sundays and the song is cleverly comforting. ‘River’ is a beautiful cry-for-help song that would be right at home as part of a film’s soundtrack. It really shows how well this band know how to craft a song. The EP as a whole shows they have tremendous range in terms of writing positive and darker material, while all the way through keeping the sound enticing and usually rather upbeat. ‘Sinners’ finishes off the extended play with a song that sounds like it was recorded with one take in a bedroom. While it lacks the production value of the other tracks, it stands out because of this and it sounds unique and different as a result.

All in all the calibre of music makes this reviewer proud to hail from the Apple Isle. The tracks here are all of unquestionable quality and repeat listens is a must as the tracks are so well made that new layers are discovered upon each listen. Luckily they are also instantly appealing so it doesn’t taken numerous listens before you find yourself enjoying the tunes. ‘House, Come Home’ is an impressive debut release from a band who have right here showed their undeniable potential.

Andrew - The Dwarf. - The Dwarf


"EP Review - Ben Wells & The Middle Names - House, Come Home"

Sometimes it takes a cold climate to produce something warm and wonderful, and that’s exactly what has happened with this debut from Ben Wells & the Middle Names. As unexpected as a bogan in a library, this indie-pop six-piece from the cool, southern climes of Hobart have made a record brimming with summery, sun-drenched melodies, happy-go-lucky lyrics, and catchy pop hooks.

Opener and lead single ‘Robin Hood’ is a typically charming good-time tune, and would sound great at a summer festival sing-along. It has been gaining the Tasmanians significant nationwide radio play, and defies you not to nod your head or at the very least tap your foot. Singer-guitarist Wells has an appealing voice to back up his bouncy compositions, and the song (and entire EP) is full of pleasant, layered instrumentation.

Next is second single ‘My Dear Summer,’ which continues in a similar vein to the opening track, and sounds not unlike some of The Coral’s pop-ier moments, with added violin parts. “When the sun is at its peak, we’ll just play the day by ear” sings Wells, in a song full of youthful optimism.

‘A Good Read’ starts by sounding like an epic piano ballad, and continues through several verses of Wells wishing he was more well-read so as to impress girls. There aren’t enough good songs out there about books (it’s not exactly a sexy subject to sing about), but this tune will go some way towards redressing that fact.

‘Hey!’ is another that would sound great at some sort of open air festival, lying out on the grass, with a cold pear cider in one hand and a giant spliff in the other. Benefitting from the additional (and dare I say, sexy) voice of Hannah Foley, it is another piece of pop purity and probably the best song on the EP.

‘River’ has jangly guitars, soft melodies, and quite beautiful vocal harmonies, and while it is slower and much less bouncy than anything else on show here, it is by no means a bad thing. Closer ‘Sinners’ is a solo acoustic piece by Wells and feels like filler tacked on the end to fill out an EP of decent length, and as a consequence sounds a little out of synch with the first five songs of an otherwise excellent EP.

While they may be a one-trick pony and not venture too far from the indie-pop mainstream, Ben Wells & the Middle Names have crafted a beautifully-sounding set of songs full of catchy positivity and the optimism of endless sunshine. With a nationwide tour set for May, what better way to forget the rain and keep the summer vibe going?

WORDS Paul McBride- AAA BACKSTAGE
- AAA Backstage


Discography

August 2012 - New single 'Bear In A Birdcage'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRG7Hh80kJQ

March 2012 - 'House, Come Home' EP
Released through Green/MGM.

Track listing:
1. Robin Hood
2. My Dear Summer
3. A Good Read
4. Hey!
5. River
6. Sinners

'My Dear Summer' clip = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLzgj9uozSc

'Robin Hood' clip = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2ZAteUY1Q4

'A Good Read' clip = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM_cy2aAGY8

Radio play:
'Robin Hood' and 'Hey!' have received Triple J play.
"My Dear Summer' Triple J Unearthed digital.
All tracks mentioned above and 'A Good Read' have been played on various community radio stations including FBi, PBS, Edge, Bay FM, 4ZZZ, 2SER. Plus ABC Canberra, Hobart and Newcastle.

REVIEWS: (Click the Press tab above to read more and in full)

“Opening with Robin Hood, the first single from House, Come Home, the band stake their claim for a summer festival slot. Los Campesinos-esque, the track is catchy and well complimented by jangling guitars evocative of summers spent chasing girls. My Dear Summer must be a strong contender for the bands second single and works well following the opener, swapping the drum kit for a violin in the chorus to replace the ‘here and now’ feel of Robin Hood with more nostalgia.” The Grapevine.

“If you’re a fan of Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Ball Park Music, Megan Washington et al, then you’d be well advised to check out this charming little EP from Tasmanian alt-pop rockers Ben Wells & The Middle Name.” Rave Magazine.

“Never mind Cradle Mountain, The Cataract Gorge or the picturesque wilderness, Ben Wells and his fellow Middle Names are the most appealing things in Tasmania right now." The Dwarf.

"As unexpected as a bogan in a library, this indie-pop six-piece from the cool, southern climes of Hobart have made a record brimming with summery, sun-drenched melodies, happy-go-lucky lyrics, and catchy pop hooks.”
AAA Backstage.

"The opening track, ‘Robin Hood’ is the stand out song on this release, containing a great riff and a feel reminiscent of Modest Mouse." Sauce Magazine.

July 2011 - 'Old Sea Salt' single
Track listing:
1. Old Sea Salt
2. Lullaby

Old Sea Salt recorded 6 weeks in a row in Top 10 Most Ordered for Air on Amrap Air It charts. Was the number one most ordered track for the year during a 30 day period.

Photos

Bio

Ben Wells & The Middle Names exude vibrancy, fun and passion. A clever mix of melodic indie pop and acoustic sounds deliver a dynamic and engaging live show.

Warm harmonies, creative pop hooks, and layered instrumentation invite a listener in as Wells' distinctive lead vocal sings about his perspective on the world around, relationships and his desires.

Watch EPK = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTuXdpG9kfk

It's been a non-stop 2 years for the Tasmanian based group and a successful period at that which has lead to the release of their debut EP 'House, Come Home' in March 2012 and a co-headline tour with Kate Martin of east coast Australia. They performed in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra and Melbourne for a total of 11 shows. Canberra and Wollongong recorded sell-outs.

Drawing local crowds of 300+ to their headline shows early on in their existence, 18+ and all ages, it wasn't too long before festivals and agents wanted them on their bills for Tassie tours.

BW&TMN have supported Ball Park Music, San Cisco, Art VS Science, Husky, Stonefield, The Jungle Giants, Little Red, Passenger and Eagle & the Worm. They'll soon add Snakadaktal to this list. The band's festival credits include two main stage appearances at Falls Festival Marion Bay, Festival of the Sun, The Soundscape Festival, and MS Fest. The second Falls Festival gig was courtesy of Triple J’s Unearthed initiative.

'House, Come Home' has received praise from many discerning listeners. Lead single 'Robin Hood' was added to rotation on Triple J during Summer 2011/12 and 'My Dear Summer' has featured on Rage (ABC TV) for 7 weeks (May/June).

The life and trajectory of Ben Wells & The Middle Names has been a jam-packed ride, they thrive on it, and this doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.