London songwriter on her cultural touchstones...

Brooke Bentham's potent songwriting has been catching our eye for some time.

The London based artist conjures plaintive folk-flecked indie scenes, pitting melodic assurance against open, honest, and highly poetic word play.

A full album is set to land in the opening weeks of 2020, following sessions with producer Bill Ryder-Jones at his studio.

Given a platform to work from, Brooke has responded with her finest work, sharing the initial previews online.

Finishing up a stint supporting Sam Fender, her own London headline show takes place tonight (December 9th).

Ahead of this, Clash spoke to Brooke Bentham about her influences, both musical and literary...

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Sylvia Plath - 'Ariel'

As part of my writing process, I usually go through poetry books and pick out lines or phrases I like and write them all into one document for me to read when I need to write lyrics.

Ariel is a book I’ve had since I was sixteen, and I’m aware Sylvia Plath is wildly cliche, but I think the way she personifies feelings and situations was a big influence on the way I write.

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Yo La Tengo - 'Nowhere Near'

This is without a doubt one of my favourite songs in the world, and it has been since I first heard it when I was about 15. The whole song is so simple but does exactly what it needs to for the lyrics. The lyrics taught me that you don’t need to be really complex and awkward with the way you write.

“When I see you look at me, I’m not sure of anything....” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard.

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Carol Ann Duffy - 'Rapture'

Another poetry book that inspired the way I write lyrics.

Carol Ann Duffy is known for being quite lyrical but I love the way she talks about love in this book. It’s full of ache and yearning but the way she describes it makes you want to feel that way because it’s so dramatic. It is the ultimate break up book. 

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Mazzy Star - 'Blue Flower'

I listen to a lot of Mazzy Star. I really like the way the songs are recorded, and how live they sound. The guitar in 'Blue Flower' is quite simple and fuzzy which is what I ended up going for on a lot of my album. I play rhythm guitar so it’s about trying to find a fun sound to make it a little more interesting.

Also, Hope Sandoval’s voice is gorgeous but at the same time she just doesn’t really sound like she cares which I really love.

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Pavement - 'Here'

I hadn’t heard of pavement until I started the album. Bill (Ryder-Jones) showed me here and I immediately fell in love.

We both love this song so it was an easy reference point when we were recording. I love the laziness of it. I also love the way it just flows into one continuous thing. The soundscape doesn’t change that much but it works. I tend to do that in my writing so it was nice to feel validated. I also love the lyrics. The opening verse is amazing.

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Brooke Bentham will release her new album 'Everyday Nothing' on February 28th; catch her at London venue the Islington on December 9th.

Photo Credit: Lauren Maccabee

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