Who Am I ?
July /August 2012
1: Who am I?
My name is Ben Childs.
2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I am the singer, guitarist, saxophone player, and songwriter for the Florida based alternative bluegrass band KillBillies. We (the band) are currently spending all of our time writing music, organizing shows, promoting the band, creating art, and problem solving for a variety of problems. All of this is a full time occupation (even though we also have other jobs and responsibilities). We play between three and five shows a week in south Florida and are heading out on tour in August to promote our self titled record and raise awareness of the band outside the sunshine state. I hear a lot of people saying that they don’t like to pigeon hole themselves as being one thing or doing only one thing, but in my experience, when I spread myself too thin I end up getting nothing done. Thus, I am completely focussed on the band right now.
3: Where are you from and where are you going?
I’m from London, England, but I moved to South Florida two years ago. I met Micah Scott in Florida and we started the band. We plan on taking the band as far as it can go. The plan is to go to mainland Europe next summer and play in festivals like the Saint Chartier music festival in France. I see us ultimately moving out of performing in bars and clubs and moving into performing in concert halls, recital rooms, and at music festivals. There is a lot of musical content in our performances and I think the music stands up to both scrutiny and late night drunken throw-downs! We have big plans for the band.
4: Who is your biggest hero?
My Uncle, Paul James, has been a big musical inspiration to me. His band Blowzabella was the first band I ever saw and even though our music sounds nothing alike, I play the saxophone because of him. I also became interested in folk music because of him. This interest led directly to the way the band I’m currently in sounds now. Frank Turner is also a big inspiration to me. I can relate to him as a succesful example of someone who went from playing in a hardcore band to playing music rooted in folk and country traditions, all while still maintaining a punk aesthetic. He is also British like me. I respect anyone who takes where they live and what they have at their disposal and makes utilizes those resources for the improvement of themselves and the people around them. Positive people are my biggest heroes.
5: What book is your bible?
I got a lot of inspiration from Miles Davis’ autobiography when I was a kid. I liked that he spanned so many musical genres and musical eras. I also thought that he was incredibly cool. The 14 year old me thought to myself, if that is what being a musician is like then I want in. Spaceship Earth by Buckminster Fuller also gave me a lot of hope for the future of mankind. I would much rather ruminate on humanity’s ability to save itself through ingenuity than wallow in despair about the ways that we are destroying it.
6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
I love playing music with my best friends, listening to the banjo, eating Indian food, being in the sunshine, snorkeling, watching baby turtles scamper to the sea, researching ridiculous things on Wikipedia at 4 am, and teaching kids how to play guitar. I hate south Florida racists, elitism, borders, haters, and the fact that there is nowhere worth going within walking distance of my house.
7: What is your raison d’être?
My wife, my family, and my band (in no specific order).
8: What is your favorite color?
The color of gasoline on asphalt.
9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
The Sandman (Neil Gaiman All the way).
10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?
I’m not from NYC, but I played at the Knitting Factory a few times in the past before it moved to Brooklyn and always had fun. I’m not sure how to answer this question, it’s been a while since I have been to New York. Ask me in a month after the tour!
11: What turns you on?
Girls in Doc Martin’s, girls driving massive trucks, girls with nose rings, and girls who are smarter than me. Luckily for me my wife is all of those things.
12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
What is your favorite track at the moment and why? Wait So Long by Trampled By Turtles without a doubt. Fast and furious, but poignant at the same time. And it features a banjo, which is right up my alley.
Ben Childs is an British musician who is based in Florida and is the front man of alt-bluegrass band KillBillies. A founding member of UK Ragga Punk band Sonic Boom Six, he has spent his adult years writing, recording, and touring his music all over the world. As an underground music stalwart he has shared stages with a multitude of artists from Gary Numan to Richie Havens.
Questions by PMc Magazine
Edited by Ceara Maria Burns
Photography by Ben Childs and Luke Pennell
Design by Jillian Mercado
Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”
Ben Childs With KillBillies, 2012, Photography by Ben Childs and Luke Pennell