With an impressive six albums to date, Ben Drake is a prolific singer/songwriter who continues to explore sounds and melodies through his ongoing collaboration with a wide range of talented musicians.
‘The Ben Drake Collective’ cannot easily be pigeon-holed into any particular style, although many influences can be heard throughout their vast range of tracks produced across all albums. These include a plethora of bands from the 90s: Supergrass, The Charlatans, Blur, Oasis, and Sterophonics to name but a few.
Ben formed the band back in early 2012 producing the first album ‘Repercussions’. The follow-on album, Rise of the Little Big Things’ released in 2014, received great reviews from local fanzines and radio stations. It was this second album that really gave Ben the taste for musical collaboration with other local artists and subsequent albums have continued to see new talented musicians lend their creativity to the recordings.
Ben continues to write and produce songs for future albums as well as working on songs for film and T.V.. His love for musical collaboration with other talented artists continues to allow him to branch off into other creative directions.
James has been playing bass for over 15 years. His self taught approach has helped him to develop his musical ear to become accomplish in many genres of music which can be heard within his overall style. Through his musical career he has recorded and played with many original bands such as ourselves, as well as his own bands ‘Pirate Radio’ and ‘Sleeping With Wolves’ where it he honed his song writing abilities. For the last few years James has played within an established function band called the ‘Blue Rinse’ which has further increased his ability to turn his hand to many style of music. His main influences consist of many virtuoso bass players such as Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and Jaco Pastorius as well as bands such as, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Audio Slave, Earth Wind and Fire and many more!
Gary started out his live music career on York’s thriving open-mic scene in the early noughties, loaning himself out as a backing guitarist at many a beer-soaked lock-in. The return to his native Home Counties eventually saw him join rising Hertfordshire alt-rockers Hey Jupiter. This band’s abrupt demise brought a brief musical hiatus, which was ended by a call from former bandmate Chris Bruton, inviting him to join Ben and others on an eclectic covers set for a local mini-festival on the basis of Gary’s broad guitar-playing ability. And so it was that Gary became an integral part of the early incarnation of The Ben Drake Band, eventually to become part of ‘The Ben Drake Collective’.
Minnie Birch is an award-winning folk musician based in Hertfordshire (UK) She creates achingly honest and beautiful music about love, loss, fairy tales and football
Her first album ‘Floundering’ received airplay on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and BBC6 music. She has received much acclaim on the folk/songwriter circuit and, alongside other accolades, has won the Laurel Canyon music award and been nominated for FATEA magazines song of the year.
Her latest record “You’re not singing anymore”; a collection of reworked chants from the football terraces was recently announced as a Sunday Times top 100 album of the year
She has toured relentlessly with stints all over the U.K, Europe, Iceland and America – including slots at the Edinburgh Fringe, supporting Joan Armatrading and at festivals such as Standon Calling and The Great Escape
Minnie also works as a Musician in Residence in a male prison, using music to help people develop their confidence, team work ethic and find ways of expressing themselves.
She plans on making music for forever and a day.
Becky Boo is a born performer. With extensive training in ballet and contemporary dance, Becky works as a Burlesque and Cabaret performer under stage name Aurora Blu. She has worked on various acoustic musical projects, gigging at venues across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire before joining and sharing her talents with ‘The Ben Drake Collective’ where she adds unique and alluring backing and main vocals to a number of tracks.
Kieran has been playing drums for over 18 years, playing many stages and shows all over Europe and the UK. The number of artists he has worked for is a list that continues to grow! In his own words Kieran says ‘I first met Ben Drake when we crossed paths in studio, we both have the same engineer, So it became a natural working friendship as well as a great musical relationship to play on Ben’s work/music/art. Being a part of the collective for the recent albums ‘AfterGlow’ and ‘Get Busy Living’, and now the new material for ’The Fearists’ is a great section and variety of my proudest work to date!’
Liz Townsend is a singer/songwriter, multi instrumentalist who has worked as a teacher and session musician for over a decade. After graduating with a Masters in Composition, Liz pursued a career in music by collaborating with labels, recording studios and independent artists. Having toured extensively throughout the UK in the band The Floe, supporting well known acts such as Ultravox, Glen Tilbrook, Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, in venues such as the O2 Academy, Sheffield and The Sage, Liz is now focusing on work closer to home and her own material.
Probably the most recognisable face to be part of the collective, Andy plays Banjo on the track ‘Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying’ .
Primarily lead guitarist with Scottish supergroup Travis, he has also played on various artists albums including the first solo album of
A-HA keyboardist Magne Furuholmen (Past Perfect Future Tense)
Alongside welding the axe for Travis, He also currently plays guitar and piano alongside Peter McVeigh and Mark Evitts in 3 piece ‘St Alban’
Charlie Deakin Davies, A pop/indie record producer and songwriter recently won the European Pro Sound awards for Breakthrough Studio Engineer as well as (for the second year in a row) NMG’s Producer of the Year Award. She is currently working for Gary Barlow in his private studio. She has also been added to the She said so top 100 alt music power list for 2018 and 2019. At 24, Lauren is a studio owner with many engineering and production accomplishments that include 10 albums (6 as sole producer) of which 2 are award-winning, over 25+ EPs, and has produced or written 200+ commercially released tracks.
Singing from a very young age, Becky’s background roots and talent in musical theatre lead her into the world of music and bands, forming her own group The Random Standards influenced by the Manchester scene of the late 80s early 90s. Becky is no stranger to the gigging life and has provided backing vocals for Coloryde and lead vocals for The Little Big Things before moving onto adding her gritty yet soulful vocals to a wide range of tracks with ‘The Ben Drake Collective’.
Simon has been playing since he bought his first bass guitar at the age of 15 using his paper round wages. With a bass guitar collection that has grown over the years, the early Fender being his prefered player, the Rickenbacker his favourite, music influences from Gary Numan, The Police and Boomtown Rats among others give TBDC the underlying back line groove the songs need to come to life. His involvement with the Collective came about by chance, being asked by Ben to play on a new album after seeing him play bass with Coloryde.
Connor Wells is a Folk Singer Songwriter based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Embarking on his musical voyage of artistic discovery as a youngster, he grew up listening to a variety of musicians and genres, the likes of Nick Drake, Tom Petty And Ryan Adams. A keen looping pedal enthusiast and a regular performer around Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas, Connor features on the track ‘Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying’
From the age of six, Abby trained as a classical pianist. A further six years on, she experienced her first taste of recording in a studio where her passion for a career in music was ignited. During her time at college, Abby formed the band ‘Skyla’ which gained popularity and saw TV performances alongside receiving radio airplay in NZ and Australia.
Abby’s debut album ‘Flipside’, recorded at London’s Ritz Studios, was released in the UK in March 2011. The album features remastered and re-recorded tracks from her ‘Skyla’ days; two tracks from the album making it through to the finals of the UK Songwriting Competition while a further two tracks making it into the semi-finals. Abby continues to receive independent radio air play and her second album, ‘Strange Affection’ released in 2013, is also play listed throughout the UK. The single of the same name made it to the finals of the 2013 USA Songwriting competition.
Darren has been singing from a young age with Soul and Motown influences. At the age of sixteen, having always loved the sound of the horn section, he took up the saxophone. Darren has been playing in The BeatRoute, a local Hertfordshire band, for the past 14 years. After being approached by Ben Drake to help out on the title track ‘Rise of the Little Big Things’ he was more than happy to oblige providing a distinctive, almost hypnotic, rhythm and blues edge.
With a keen interest in music from an early age, Emma took up the violin where she played in a number of orchestras. A talented musician, she is also proficient in a wide range of instruments including: the flute, piano, trumpet and flugelhorn. Emma studied Music Technology at The London Guildhall University. After taking a short break from the music scene she is now back playing trumpet and singing for local band The BeatRoute where her enthusiasm and passion for music has been revived.
Although the 90s and early noughties were fairly quiet as far as playing or recording goes, Paul found a love for the keyboards again with the newly reformed Coloryde after a brief sabaticle from music. Through mutual friends He was introduced to Ben, and started listening to demos of his new work. After a few rehearsals and with a renewed pleasure for playing in a full live band again, they were ready to start recording the first track – ‘The Rise Of The Little Big Things’ – and after completing the album of the same name, Paul continued to work with the collective on Ben’s new material, becoming a staple part of the band.
Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist, Adiescar, composes and performs music in a range of styles from country and pop, to electronic rock. Her current performance style has been compared to artists such as Tori Amos, Judie Tzuke, and Gabrielle Aplin. You can find her music on spotify/apple music etc.