Steampunk aesthetic encompasses a diverse range of artistic expression through fashion, home decor, film as culture and lifestyle. The movement of music is even less defined, and the debate continues as to what elements contribute to the sound. SteamTuesday features Ben Steed as one such musician giving credence to the philosophy.
In reality I have only been familiar with the term ‘steampunk’ since September 2009 or so. Where I have always had an interest in Victorian aesthetics and post-apocalyptic fiction, only recently have I been able to put a title on it. I suddenly found myself captivated by and immersed within this huge world. This huge community and life.
It was around this time that I proposed to my fellow band-member Rob Gilbank (just before the band started to get going with writing etc) that we push the direction of this project along a more steampunk path. We both agreed it would be a fantastic idea, and as a result our steampunk selves were born (myself as Captain Caspar Byron and Rob as Dr. Aegis Mutton) and a huge story around it, based in a dystopian world after a world nuclear war. Each song we write is about a particular aspect of this story, be it in the ‘past’ or the ‘present’ (as the present in the story is 2022 after an alternative past). Our collective name was to be The Wet-Glass RO.
Outside the band project, we both had our own solo work. I had been working on my debut album, Distorted Skies, since near the beginning of the year (2009). With my newfound love for steampunk, I knew I wanted to include aspects of it within this release. I even started to incorporate my airship pirate goggles (a part of my attire that would usually be used within my band only) into my regular wear, and it is slowly becoming something I am known for wearing.
I started to work on the song ‘The Conspirator’ – a song with a waltz feel to it and a steampunk atmosphere all the way through – which lyrics are my exploration into the story of the Guy Fawkes’ conspiracies against Parliament which took place on 5th November 1605. It was this song that caught the attention of the Texas based steampunk production company Airship Isabella, and as a result this song will be featuring on their upcoming steampunk compilation album entitled ‘Full Steam Ahead’ which will include the likes of Abney Park, The Shanklin Freak Show and Vernian Process.
I intended for the album to appeal to numerous audiences, including electronica fans as well as rock fans. And steampunks! In fact it is ‘The Conspirator’, the most steampunk styled song on the album, that seems to be receiving the best feedback.
On top of this, the band work was progressing speedily. As well as my solo song ‘The Conspirator’ appearing on the Airship Isabella compilation, two songs by The Wet-Glass RO will also be featuring on it. As well as this, the group called Sepiachord announced the song ‘The Propellers Meet The Clouds’ as their Song Of The Day last month.
I have many plans for the future of my music, a handful to include more steampunk orientated projects (outside of the band of course, which is purely steampunk). How these will turn out though remains to be seen. At the moment I am considering hitting the local and national music scenes and begin gigging once more.
Album download (name-your-price): bensteed.bandcamp
Facebook Fan Page: Ben-Steed
Brass Goggles: brassgoggles.co.uk
Facebook Fan Page: The Wet Glass RO
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