We caught up with the superb Canada-based artist Pennan Brae. He has released the excellent album ‘2 Below 0’ in 2020 and it is a must hear release!
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a singer-songwriter and screenwriter based in Vancouver, BC. I’ve released seven albums and two films; ‘The Astronot’ and ‘2 Below 0’.
What is your songwriting process?
I enjoy playing the guitar to a drum loop and seeing if any riffs arise. On piano, I enjoy sitting down and playing without any accompaniment. On more rare occasions, a melody may pop into my head; I really like those moments because they don’t happen often, and I get to work backwards and fill in the chorus beneath the melody.
Tell us about your latest release?
‘2 Below 0’ is an album that is influenced by classic rock of the 1970s. Keith Richards is a big influence, and I love the riff-based tracks of The Stones.
The album has 12 tracks and was recorded with just a 3-piece band; guitar, bass and drums. I like the minimalist nature of it. We recorded, mixed and mastered it all in-house at Blue Light Studio in Vancouver with producer Kaj Falch-Nielsen; I really like working with him.
This album serves as a soundtrack to the ‘2 Below 0’ film which I wrote. It’s currently on the film festival circuit.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I’m a pretty sensitive person, so I think the music expresses that. On my most recent release of ‘2 Below 0’, I went in a different direction musically in that the album is a guitar-dominated work; there’s no keyboards or violins on it at all.
So musically, there is a different sound and feel than on previous albums; I think it’s the most fun album I’ve released to date.
Who are your musical influences?
The Rolling Stones are the big one. I also love Steve Miller and John Mellencamp. Before that, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. And still going back, Muddy Waters and BB King.
I love American blues music and rock and roll music from the 1950s to 90s. I don’t listen to much past that era.
Who are your non-musical influences?
My non-musical influences are close family and friends.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
My very first gig was a performance for a 1,000 people in a very nice hall outside of Toronto.
I was 15 years old and a friend and I played, ‘That’s Just The Way It Is’ by Bruce Hornsby & The Range. He played drums and I played a grand piano. My knees were knocking and I was nervous as heck, but it was a great experience. The first time is always the best, no matter what it is
What is your funniest gig moment?
In a way, it was that first gig, because I was so nervous. My nervousness was exciting and fun in a way; it sure put me on the edge of my seat & vividly experiencing what was happening in the moment.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
The biggest obstacle for musicians today is maintaining a sustainable income. I suppose that’s always been the challenge, but now more than ever.
Royalty streaming rates are a pittance & it doesn’t feel like the music industry is set up to support the creation of new work. Studio time is not cheap and so without a meaningful income to get back in recording; there will simply be less output emitted.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Focus on the art of making music & on the whole process. There is so much joy and fun in the creative process; of making the album cover, of creating a music video and in marketing yourself. So enjoy that journey; focus on that and enjoy the ride.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
Over the next two years, I’d like to release three new albums, create some new music videos (especially lyric music videos, which I’m really enjoying at the moment), and shoot a new film. I have a screenplay ready to go and just have to wait for the conditions to be right to film it.
FV Music Blog September 2020
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