In our Summer 2019 edition, we celebrated the aspirations and achievements of local father and son rap duo, FMA + 12.
Julie Lightfoot interviews…
Who are FMA + 12 Gage and how long has the band been going?
Matthew – We are a father and son rap act made up of myself, Matthew Bennett (40) and my son Callum Gage Bennett (20). We have been working together for six years now.
Where did the name come from?
Matthew – FMA is my stage name and 12 Gage is Callum’s. I used to be part of a six man heavy metal band called For My Anger. When it came to choosing a name for myself, it felt right using the initials of my old band. Callum – My name came from a friend telling me to put a 12 in front of my middle name, I had several pseudonyms before this but 12 Gage stuck with me because it just felt direct. We then added a plus sign so it looks like a mathematical equation.
How would you describe your music?
Matthew – Powerful and intense.
Callum – Energetic, lyrical and unique.
Are you the only father and son rap duo going?
Matthew – I’ve seen one act on a talent show who were really cool and I know that father and son rappers have worked together but I don’t think there is anyone out there that does what we do.
What did you do before you got into music?
Matthew – I was 13 when I decided that music was what I wanted to do with my life, but after my old band broke up and before Callum and I started working together I was pursuing a career as a scriptwriter. Callum – I was at primary school when I decided that I wanted to perform on stage like my dad so it’s kind of like a dream come true to be able to share a stage with him.
Have you always wanted to be a singer?
Callum – Not wanted to be a singer exactly but I always wanted to be a part of music since I was little. However I gradually became a vocalist/lyricist through my passion for writing and my love of hip hop. Matthew – I used to want to be a singer but I’m tone deaf. As the years passed I found that rapping was a good alternative – it allowed me to focus on my writing skills too.
Where have you performed so far?
Callum – All over the country, from pubs to clubs and theatres. A couple that we really enjoyed playing were The Mermaid Theatre in London and The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton – as part of the Autism’s Got Talent showcase event.
What has been the high point of your career to date?
Callum – The album launch was my highlight by far. Creating the album was such a huge task, it took us two years from start to finish. We spent a year preparing for the launch and when the night finally came for us to unveil our creation it was an incredibly rewarding and almost surreal moment for me. Matthew – There have been so many it’s hard to choose a single one. The thing that has had the most effect on me though is having people identify with our lyrics. We write about our own [challenges] with mental health because it helps us deal with our issues. I never once considered that what I write might help someone else.
Where is the best place for people find out about forthcoming gigs?
Matthew – We post all upcoming gigs, events, videos and any of our creations to our Facebook page but we use all social media. We can be found on all platforms @fma12gage.
Finally, what are the band’s plans for the future?
Matthew – We have another album to write and record. Our first album was just the first part of a story that is yet to be completed. We have also been approached about creating an original song for an upcoming independent film called ‘Touch Gloves’ which we are really excited about. Callum – I think this next year is about growing our fan base and reaching more people.
That’s brilliant, many thanks and best wishes for the future!
Interview questions by Julie Lightfoot for Podio Preston.