South coast based Post-hardcore outfit ACRES are a band on the rise. From airplay on BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show to coverage in Kerrang!, they’re going from strength to strength. We sat down with vocalist Ben Lumber to chat about his lyrics, writing process and inspirations.
MOSH: How does the lyric writing process begin for you? Does the music come first, or the lyrics?
BL: Normally the guys will send over a new demo and I’ll just sit there and write to it, but recently I’ve been experimenting with writing lyrics first and moulding them around a song. Inspiration normally hits me when I’m about to go to sleep. Lyrics or melodies will come into my head, so I have to pull out my phone and write it all down.
MOSH: Is this process always straightforward for you? Have you ever struggled with writer’s block?
BL: Yeah writers block is something I get. Sometimes I’m just not In the mood or I’m just not feeling what I’m writing down. Writers block isn’t something to fuck with. If I try and fight through it I get very very frustrated, so you’ve just gotta bite the bullet and come back another day.
MOSH: Do you go back to lyrics you have previously written and edit or refine them? Do you collaborate or share lyrics with other band members?
BL: I refine them around two or three times. I’ll sleep on it and come back. Sometimes I’m really happy with what I’ve written and sometimes I’ll want to change bits. I do post them to a few guys in the band asking for their opinion and I’ll always take their feedback. The way I see it, they’re our songs as a collective and it would be pretty selfish to just dismiss anything they had to say or any ideas they have.
MOSH: Are there any bands or artists that have impressed or inspired you lyrically? Do you try and emulate any other lyricists in particular?
BL: I have tried to emulate other lyricists in the past and it’s never worked out for me. It always has to come from the heart and I feel you always have to be yourself. I’m a huge fan of Anthony Green (Circa Survive/Saosin)– the man is a lyrical genius.
MOSH: Do you draw lyrical inspiration from outside of music?
BL: Not too much. A lot of my songs are about personal experiences I’ve had in my life, past and present. I tend to have an ‘if you piss me off I’ll most probably write a song about you’ attitude. Life is pretty unpredictable, so it’s an endless topic.
MOSH: Is there a specific space where you get ‘in the zone’, or can you write anywhere at any time?
BL: It’s definitely something I have to be in the zone for. I’m lucky enough to have my own little office at home where I can just close the door and lock myself away.
MOSH: Do you choose to publish your lyrics or keep them personal? Is it important that fans be able to access lyrical content?
BL: It’s very important to me and the band that fans can access them! Fans will often message me and say our songs or certain lyrics have really helped them through some shitty times, and It warms me that our band can make an impact on their lives and pull them out of whatever they’re going through. If there’s one thing I’ve truly learnt from my time in Acres It’s how powerful music can really be to someone.
MOSH: Can you remember when you began writing lyrics? Was it a conscious choice?
BL: I used to write poems in school. A few of them were published in small books, but I never thought anything of it. I wrote my first song when I was eight years old in my bedroom, and always found it quite relaxing, but at that age being a musician was the last thing I wanted. It’s definitely something I was interested in without even realising.
MOSH: What is your favourite lyric and why?
BL: “Hey unfaithful I will teach you to be stronger/Hey ungraceful I will teach to you to forgive one another”
There was a time in my life I went on a downward spiral and I’d always listen to ‘Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape’ by Underoath, and those lyrics just really spoke to me and pulled me back to normality.
MOSH: What is your favourite lyric that you have written?
BL: “You took yourself out of this house you called hell/And left me here by myself/Promise you’ll stay/These are the things that I wish I could say.”
MOSH: Is there anything you actively try and avoid when writing lyrics? Any topics or themes you think are overdone?
BL: I guess I just try to make each song different and have each tell a different story. There’s nothing worse than a band you dig releasing their second album and it sounds just like their first.
MOSH: Is it important to you that lyrics always tell a story or have meaning?
BL: Personally it’s very important to me. Like I said, my lyrics are always about personal experiences, but only the ones I feel people can relate to.
MOSH: Does your knowledge of your vocal delivery have any impact on how you write lyrics? Do you?
BL: When I first started singing and writing lyrics, I’d often turn to the bands I looked up to for ideas if I got writers’ block, or sometimes say I want to be in a band like these guys and it never really worked for me. I’ve always had to write from the heart and be myself.