ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ben Heywood has been making music for some time now. But he’s never gone solo – until now.
“It’s a little different and there’s a small amount of pressure because it’s all just me,” he explains during a recent interview from his Los Angeles home. “But at the same time, I’m excited because the music on the album is a true representation of me.”
Heywood’s “Skills for the Long Emergency” is his debut solo record. He’s been fronting the L.A. band Summer Darling for nearly a decade.
But his solo album took some work. Heywood is a workaholic and enjoys being busy. So when it came to writing and recording for his solo album, he had to find time to do so.
“I have an obsessive personality that if I only have one project going, I would go crazy,” he explains. “I find it’s better for me to have a number of creative outlets and it helps to have a wife who is also a musician because she understands the value of what I’m doing. She also understands that working helps keep me sane.”
Heywood says that about two years ago his band, Summer Darling, was told by its record company not to tour so much before its new album was coming out.
“We had just finished the band’s album, but I knew there was still another album inside of me,” he says. “So I took a chance and used that time to write. I decided to write a concept album, which was a first for me, but I’m really proud of it.”
Heywood admits to running into problems when he was editing himself.
“This is dangerous for me because I want to be perfect, and perfection is the enemy of getting things done,” he says. “I wrote 16 songs for the album, recorded only 12 of them and ended up with eight. I cut all my work in half.”
Heywood says the album is a compilation of eight short stories that are “set in the West after a state’s war over dwindling natural resources has forced the dissolution of the union. The mostly nameless protagonists struggle to adjust to a violet and parched countryside where rumor, myth and xenophobia reign,” he says. “The songs are meant to make the listener think a little about what is happening to our world.”
Heywood WHEN: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 WHERE: Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 313 Gold SW HOW MUCH: $5