Ben Hyman aka Roman Lakes is a 25 year old pop-folk singer-songwriter from Manchester, England. He is currently on San Diego based indie label, Bleeding Gold Records and has recently released his fourth song ‘Days Of Summer’.
This kind guy asked us to give him some attention, we answered his prayings.
What is your all-time favorite song ?
It’s so hard to say because there are so many great pieces of music out there, and depending what mood you catch me in I’d probably give you a different answer, but if pressed I’d probably say Jeff Buckley’s version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like A Woman’. Dylan’s version is great but Buckley really made it his own – so passionate, so melodic, such finesse vocally and on the guitar. It’s a magical piece of music that made me fall in love with Jeff Buckley’s work, he really was a special talent.
Which song is perfect for a Road Trip?
I enjoy journeys through the country and when I am travelling through places like that I think folk music accompanies the journey really well – maybe it’s because of the natural imagery in folk music or the fact folk musicians have traditionally sung about travelling and moving on, I’m not sure. I just find folk music fits those kinds of journeys. For those who know me, it’s no secret that The Tallest Man On Earth is my biggest influence, and his song ‘A Lion’s Heart’ is a great song to travel to. I really could pick almost any song by TTMOE, he’s such an accomplished guitarist and a great songwriter – both lyrically and musically. ‘A Lion’s Heart’ is just calming and beautifully poetic, enough to make any journey even better.
To which song do you like to clean?
Something loud to drown out the vacuum cleaner, haha! It might surprise you because my music is quite placid, but I like some louder, heavier stuff as well as acoustic music. I have a soft spot for blues and classic rock. Led Zeppelin would probably be my go-to cleaning music. Despite being particularly folky, the outro in my latest song ‘Days Of Summer’ was actually inspired by the guitar melodies in ‘Dazed And Confused’ by Led Zeppelin – believe it or not!
Something with fast, bluesy soloing like ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ would do nicely to distract me from cleaning.
What’s the perfect song to wake up with?
Generally speaking I’m not much of a morning person, but once I’ve got going I like to listen to something relatively upbeat and energising. At the moment I’m really enjoying ‘Come And Get Your Love’ by Redbone. It’s upbeat, funky and extremely catchy – enough to lift you up and get you going in the morning!
What’s your favorite artist from your home city?
There are quite a few famous acts from Manchester but I prefer some of the lesser known local artists. Blossoms are a great band from my home town and I admire what they’re doing on the music scene right now. Also, my good friend Ross (who goes by the pseudonym ‘Rose Chariot’) is a musician/writer I’ve learnt a lot from. Nowadays his music is predominantly electronic, but he’s also quite a talented guitarist. I remember when he came to my house for a jam when we were seventeen – when I heard him play I knew I had to up my game!
Which artist do you think is too underrated and which one is overrated?
I’ve been listening to a Scottish folk artist called Rachel Sermanni as of late. I think she brings something fairly different to the folk scene, she delivers her lyrics in unique and interesting ways. She seems to have quite a few fans but is flying under the radar – relatively speaking – at the moment. She’s a very good songwriter and I think she deserves a bit more recognition than she already has. ‘Old Ladies Lament’ and ‘Tractor’ are great songs by her.
Who’s overrated? Where to start! At the risk of appearing like a total hipster, almost the entire pop industry is full of overrated, uninteresting artists, which is a shame. Perhaps I’m being harsh to pick this band out, but here in Manchester, quite a few people look at Oasis as if they’re musical gods – although I’d imagine they’re not anywhere near as revered in Belgium and Holland. In my opinion, they were an OK pop band who ran out of ideas and should have called it a day long before they did. That combined with their swaggering, over confident attitudes really turns me off. They’re also Manchester City fans and I’m a lifelong fan of Manchester United, so maybe I’m slightly biased!
If you could be one artist for a day, who would that be?
That’s an interesting question – it’s hard to say. It’d be nice to possess the raw talent of someone like Jeff Buckley, but I’m not sure if he was in the best headspace during his life. It’d be cool to be Stevie Ray Vaughan for the day. Play some amazing blues, blow off some steam on the guitar. He really was amazing. I think on my day as SRV, I’d play his song ‘Lenny’, another one of my favourite pieces of music.
What’s the best song to make love to? (…to ask someone out?)
Anything by Barry White, works every time.
What’s the most beautiful lyric you’ve ever heard?
Another tough question. I think it’s hard to examine the ‘worth’ of a line in isolation because its context is important. That said, perhaps the chorus from Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case Of You’ – ‘I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet’. I think it’s a great line from a very well written song – an interesting metaphor for a troubled relationship. I enjoy unorthodox metaphors and really appreciate artists who can deliver them well – it can be extremely refreshing – the challenge is to try and deliver them myself. I think I’m improving as a songwriter and that’s something I’m starting to work into my next batch of songs which I’ve recently started recording.
At which place would you love to play a concert?
I’m quite a shy and reserved person so I prefer intimate settings, and to be honest I think my music – with its relatively ‘small’ sound – suits that environment. It can be a real buzz to play in front of a small crowd at a small pub. It feels natural for me to play for just a few people. There was actually quite a famous small pub called the Tabernacle in my home town decades ago. Quite a few famous bands and acts played there – Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix to name a couple. The venue’s long gone now, but it’d be cool to have the chance to play an historic, intimate venue like that.