RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CANADIAN ARTIST PENNAN BRAE
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
It’s simply the only thing I enjoy doing and feel natural at. I took piano lessons as a kid and never stopped with them.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
My name’s Pennan Brae and I’m a singer-songwriter in Vancouver, Canada. My music is influenced by rock and roll of the 1970s and 80s. I’ve released 12 albums and my 13th, ‘Arcade’, is coming out January 20.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
Some days feel better than others! It’s a commitment. The music business is one thing; music is another. Music is always there for you, on good days and bad. It never lets you down. Business-wise, sometimes you have some successes where you feel a little bit of progression in your career. Other days, it’s just a process of hanging in and staying in the game.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
I hope so. I started writing on piano. My early songs were 3 chords mostly, which is fine. But then I learned about more colourful chords in college and tried to implement those in my writing. That’s been a lot of fun. The past few years I’ve begun writing on guitar which has been a satisfying process.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music?
I try to be consistent and creative in my postings. In recent years, I’ve developed a passion for photography, so that’s fun on Instagram. Twitter has some more factual updates. And YouTube is always enjoyable in trying to create new music and lyric videos.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Well, it’s the current state of things I suppose. I wish they’d pay higher royalties to musicians. There are other choices, like Apple Music, Tidal and YouTube Music etc. Hopefully these might continue to evolve and offer more balance in the market.
What are your musical influences?
For me, I love music from the 1950s to 90s. I enjoy listening to early rock and roll, like artists Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. I also love the British Invasion of the ‘60s with The Beatles, Stones and Who. The 1970s had The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, the 80s had the Police and John Mellencamp and the 90s with Nirvana and Chilli Peppers. And there’s so many names not mentioned, such as CCR, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. But my biggest influence is The Rolling Stones; I love their style of rock and roll.
My favourite double album is the Rolling Stones ‘Exile on Main Street’. It’s an incredibly deep body of work which really captures the vibe of the early 1970s. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumour’s’ is another mind-blowing release. It is just track after track of emotional and powerful songs. I also love AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’. It’s such a complete body of work and highlight of rock and roll for the late 1970s.
What guitars do you like to play?
I love the Fender Mustang. It’s such a weird, interesting guitar. I got my first Mustang 20 years ago. I knew nothing about it; it just looked odd and different from the other guitars in the store. It has a real thin neck and felt good in my hands. I really love that guitar.
I hear you have new music. What can you tell us about it?
It’s a 10-song album called ‘Arcade’. It’s influenced by rock and roll of the 1970s and 80s. The lead singles off ‘Arcade’ are ‘Stage Right’, ‘Arrival Time’ and ‘Jettison’. It was recorded at Blue Light Studio in Vancouver. It’s a pretty lean rock and roll record and I hope folks enjoy it.
What was the recording process like?
We first record the guitars to a click track to keep things in time. We then add the drums. I recorded with Edward Whelan who’s a phenomenal drummer; a very musical, multi-instrumental guy. After this we add bass with Kaj Falch-Nielsen who also produced the album. Lastly we add harmonies with vocalist Alison Jenkins who is also a real musical gem with her creativity and talent. Then we mix and master!
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Not a thing. I’m pleased with it. I really like Edward’s drumming on it. Kaj is rock solid in rounding out the rhythm section and Alison added some beautiful parts to the vocal lines. The guitars have a nice tone and bite to them in the studio.
What are your plans for 2023?
I’d like to do more music videos. We have lyric videos scheduled for release in January and February. I’m going to keep focussing on ‘Arcade’ for a little while. We are currently working on another album called ‘Portal’ which may be out later this year.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I just want to say a big thanks if you’ve tuned in to check out my music and hope you might enjoy the new album.