Benefits announce new ‘Flag’ / ‘Empire’ 7″ via Yard Act’s Zen F.C. label

To celebrate, Kingsley Hall takes a dip in the bitterly cold North Sea for the video for 'Flag'

Benefits have announced details of their first ever 7″ single, to be released via Yard Act‘s Zen F.C. label.

The new release will land on June 3, the day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and feature recent singles ‘Empire’ and ‘Flag’.

To celebrate the announcement of the new 7″ single, Benefits – aka Teesside-based artist Kingsley Hall – has shared a new video for ‘Flag’, which sees him taking a dip in the North Sea.

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Discussing the link-up with Yard Act, Benefits said: “In late 2020 we released a song called Traitors and I got a message from Yard Act saying they liked the song, in particular the line ‘we get the future you deserve‘. I think back to them messaging me and imagine what they typed voiced in a YA Yorkshire vocal sing/spoken style. I find it quite intimidating now, with how they’ve exploded into the national (and international) consciousness, but not necessarily in a bad way as I bloody love this band.

“I’d heard of them when I got the message and it even though they weren’t at the level of popularity they are at now it was still a great compliment to get from a band I admired, a proper band. That our music had been heard by them was a buzz in itself; that they went so far as to compliment it was amazing.”

He added: “In early 2021 after what I’m pretty sure was some sort of breakdown I had a hit of Bell’s Palsy and the right side of my face stopped working. I decided to talk about it online in order to battle the anxiety it was causing and Yard Act once again popped up in my DM’s to offer advice and help on the condition. I didn’t get that level of kindness and understanding from my own childhood friends at the time so to get a raft of bang on pixelated advice via Twitter from a bunch of Leeds based strangers was bizarre yet absolutely comforting.”

 

Yard Act’s James Smith said of the release: “I first got in touch with Kingsley and Benefits after hearing Flag in early 2021 after Frank Black, Geoff Barrow and Sleaford Mods all stuck it in front of my eyeballs on Twitter all at once. Three for three there, this’ll probably be good I reckon.

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“Turns out it was top, as expected. I made my way through their back catalogue that day and did indeed quote the line ‘We get the future you deserve’ from Traitors back to Kingsley in a message as soon as I heard it. Great line. There’s loads of great lines though, and they’re all delivered with this unwavering urgency and such genuine anger it knocks you sick a bit. It’s relentless and I couldn’t get his voice out of my head for days. He’s right about everything, obviously. This fucking country eh!”

Smith added: “But lots of bands are saying all this stuff at the moment so what makes Benefits so special? Why do I need to be told what i already know over and over again by a shouty man from Teesside? Well, because no one else is saying it with such physicality they sound like their voice box is about to leap from their throat and eat your eyeballs.

“Though his words are genuinely great, and there are countless quotable lines you can pluck from any Benefits track to sum up the state of the nation, for me it’s the commitment of Kingsley’s performance that makes it so compelling. You can see with your ears. His target never waivers. From start to finish there’s no respite. When he’s not on the mic, the noise behind offers none of it either, meaning when he temporarily tags out – possibly to bench press a Ford Ka or punch through a shipping container just to blow off a bit of steam – the sonics step in and continue to smack you over the head in much the same way. It’s uncompromising, and it’s admirable because no other band that has garnered the level of attention Benefits have over the last year has done everything in their power to sound less appealing to a wider audience even as they continue to garner one.”

Smith concluded: “Obviously Yard Act are a bit further ahead in the game and with that little bit of influence we’ve garnered and the small fortune of money we now have kicking about, I’m so glad we can play a part in spreading the word on Benefits, because I think they’re well on their way to a classic debut album, and I’m going to fucking love being able to brag about how important I was in making it all happen.”

Earlier this year, Benefits wrapped up their debut UK headline tour. After the tour, Hall thanked promoters for granting his wish that the band’s rider should include “something that will make my little girl smile”.

Hall gave “special thanks” to promoters at The Bodega in Nottingham, York’s Fulford Arms and more venues for supplying the band’s tour rider with soft toys, books, chocolate and other gifts for his young daughter.

It was in effort to reduce “frivolous waste” and to save money on bands’ typically booze-stocked riders, Hall explained to The Line of Best Fit.

In January the band shared a fierce new track called ‘Meat Teeth’, which tells the tale of “overheard conversations and frustrations, underpinned by disillusionment and rage”.

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