BLUES BYTES – BEN CATLEY
Interview by Bob Gordon
What’s the best thing about playing festivals?
There’s certainly a heap to enjoy as an artist! The sound productions you get to play through. The bigger stages you get to perform on. The people and other artists you get to meet. Getting to enjoy all the different music and top-level players. And it’s great just to play to new people and for new people to get to discover your music. It’s all a bit of an adventure and I love how everyone’s always in such a good mood.
Do you have a Blues at Bridgetown experience that you’d like to share, either performing or as an audience member?
I really enjoyed playing in the town hall last time I played Blues at Bridgetown. The audience was very attentive in there. And it’s great to get to perform and then bounce between the different stages in such a beautiful regional spot.
Where do you feel you fit in musically along the blues and roots scale?
I’m a little more towards the roots end of the scale, but with plenty of blues elements – along with some folk, metal and classical elements thrown in for good measure. It’s nice to adjust the scale depending on the kind of show it is. At Bridgetown I’d best nudge things more towards the dirty bluesy rock vibes!
What have been the highlights of your music career thus far?
I’ve been fortunate enough to tour quite far and wide, with tours around Australia, New Zealand, UK many times over, as well as Singapore, Réunion Island, the Philippines and Holland. Playing some big international festivals has definitely been a highlight. Just being able to travel to play music in general. Also doing double-header shows over the last few years with my good friend Si Mullumby (Wild Marmalade), who is widely regarded as one of the best didgeridoo players in the world, has been really special. Some of the jams we’ve had on stage have had the most incredible energy.
What have you been mainly focussing on in 2023 and how is it coming along?
I’ve been writing and releasing some instrumental guitar pieces, that I call ‘Cloudcabins’, which I’ve been weaving into my live set. They’ve been really refreshing. I still bring plenty of lively energy, but these instrumental pieces have helped make my show more dynamic.
What are your plans and hopes for 2024?
I’ll likely have my fifth tour of New Zealand and fifth tour of the UK in 2024. Whilst here on Australian soil, I have a really exciting show to announce soon, supporting an American blues guitar great. I also have Nannup Festival, some WA shows and some more new music to release.
What can folks expect from your performances at Blues at Bridgetown?
I’ll have a big old smile on my face while pouring everything I have out onto that stage.
12.15pm Bank Stage
2pm Blue Owl’s Nest