Ben Nicholls is acclaimed as a double bassist, singer, arranger and composer working with British folk traditions and beyond. When not with his own ensemble, Kings of The South Seas with their distinctive re-imaginings of traditional music, he’s in demand as a musician and collaborator performing and/or recording with amongst others, Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon, Nadine Shah, Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney, Martin Simpson, John Smith, Harper Simon, Tim Eriksen, Fay Hield, Martin Carthy, Patrick Wolf, Carl Barat, Ben Hillier, Birdy, Patsy Reid, Tchad Blake, Peggy Seeger, Billy Bragg, Paul Brady, John Parish, Seb Rochford, Jarvis Cocker, Maddy Prior,and Leo Abrahams.
He was bassist and a featured vocalist on the EFDSS ‘Full English’ project which won Best Album and Best Group at the 2014 BBC Radio2 Folk Awards.
As a composer, he was co-writer on the 2018 Mercury Award nominated album Holiday Destination by Nadine Shah and also collaborated with Andy Mellon of Bellowhead & Booker Prize winning author DBC Pierre on ‘Axolotol Odyssey’- a 2012 PRSF commissioned project at the Natural History Museum which saw them as Musicians in Residence at London Zoo. He’s also worked on the feature film soundtracks for the movies ‘Ballad of AJ Weberman’, ‘Look Up and Wave the Glove’ and The Mighty Boosh documentary ‘Journey of the Childmen’-2009, as well as an on-screen role in 2019’s Wild Rose with Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters.
He has appeared on BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, Channel4 and Sky Arts as well as all the major national radio stations and has performed and recorded in studios across the world including The Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, RFH Meltdown, Glastonbury Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, 6Music Festival, Celtic Connections, SXSW Austin Texas, Bergen Blues and Roots Festival, Byron Bay Blues Festival, Koktobel Jazz Festival (Ukraine), Edmonton Folk Festival, Mercury Music Awards, BAFTA Awards and AIM Awards.
Press for Kings of The South Seas…..
“a brooding and mysterious triumph” - Louder Than War
“uproariously rousing and darkly disturbing” - The Guardian
“takes the listener into an oceanic heart of darkness illuminated by powerful skeletal songs from the edge of the known world” - Songlines
“I am loving this!” - Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio2 Folk Show
“dark, driven and turbulent” - The Independent
“A fantastic celebration of all things nautical and seaworthy.” EDS Magazine
“like the Velvet Underground in the bilges of the Pequod” - Philip Hoare, author (winner of Samuel Johnson Prize with Leviathan)
One of The Telegraph ‘Best Folk Albums of 2014’.
“stunning in both scope and intensity” – Spiral Earth