|Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/02/2010 - 17:52.|
We check back with one of our favorite features to date. We first found Brett Dennen in 2007.
Hard to belive it's already been three and a half years since we lost spoke with Brett Dennen - and a lot has been going on for the natural talent. The guy has been covering the planet with his own brand of folk style... and he's even dropped a new album since our last chat. That's right, between playing with acts like Jason Mraz and John Mayer (and doing some great work with non-profit The Mosaic Project) Dennen released "Hope for the Hopeless" in 2008 and even as his own iTunes exclusive EP from last year. Check them out. But for a little flashback, check out our original talk with him back in June, 2007.
The Original XXQ's
Brett Dennen has a lot of fans. Not just the usual fans who buy the music and line up for sold out shows in every city, but most of his fans are the fellow established musicians. When I interview an artist for PensEyeView.com, regardless of the age or genre, I like to ask their opinion on “who is someone we should all watch out for now?” the resounding answer is Brett Dennen…Over and over, this is what people say and over and over I agree whole heartedly. Put aside that he is a musical prodigy or the fact that he’s the kind of artist you want to throw every “the next” label to; Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Rufus Wainwright or James Taylor. Try not to focus on the fact that his lyrics are the most original storytelling similar to that of the Beatles and Doors. And whatever you do, try not to focus too hard on how and why you may not have known the name Brett Denned before today…that alone will drive you mad! The one thing you do need to focus on is that Brett Dennen has the widest array of lyrics out of any single artist today. This is just one of the reasons why his colleagues love him as much as we do.
His latest release, So Much More is a favorite among iTunes, the indie crowd and easily fits into the artists he has already opened for like John Mayer, Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crow. It makes me smile just imagining the likes of the previous mentioned, watching Dennen and scratching their heads in awe, thinking that maybe they should be taking notes. I like to imagine that when the “headliners” he accompanied are tuning up, they spot in the corner of their eye a young guy, feet kicked up, head bobbing as he composes some of the most fantastic chords in music today. I also like to think they see a piece of music’s future in Dennen as well, since it’s guys like Dennen that can save and revitalize the shape of modern (and some would call lackluster) pop/rock music scene. To say that Dennen is the real deal is to say that Picasso knew a thing or two about painting. Similar an artist of Picasso’s status, Dennen’s craftsmanship is way ahead of his time, which hopefully, like Picasso will be received as a plus. Where everyone is battling it out for billboard dominance, Dennen is seems to be taking an alternate route to the top; a place where Dennen will remain for a very long time. Get ready to empty that iPod for a little refresher and check out his XXQs.
XXQs: Brett Dennen
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you first get interested in music?
Brett Dennen (BD): From going to the dentist and sitting in doctors offices. I thought, “Making music can’t be that hard.”
PEV: Was there a certain time or event that you realized you wanted to make a living playing music?
BD: Yes, about a year after college, I was broke as a joke, but didn’t want to do anything else but play music.
PEV: How does it feel to be compared to, Rufus Wainwright, James Taylor and John Mayer (to name a few)?
BD: I haven’t heard that before. It is certainly an honor and it makes me feel good.
PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a studio to record your own music?
BD: I was scared. I was practically whispering into the microphone, and my fingers shook. But I got over it. You have to get over it. It’s a lot easier to play in a studio than play in front of a crowd.
PEV: What can people expect from your latest release, "So Much More"?
BD: Sincere lyrics, warm tones, happy melodies. It’s a good CD to listen to when you want to think about things.
PEV: How is So Much More, different from your first release of the self title album, Brett Dennen?
BD: A lot better production and better players. But the sentiment is the same.
PEV: How has life on the road been for you so far?
BD: It is pretty tiresome, you don’t get a lot of private time, but at the same time it is exciting and inspiring.
PEV: You have traveled all over the world. Which city do you think offers the best environment for music?
BD: I haven’t traveled all over, but from my travels I would say that London is the best for the folkie balladeer in me.
PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere you surround yourself in when you write music?
BD: I have to be alone, with nothing to do, plenty of time, and it is always best if it is raining, or there is a body of water near by.
PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your success?
BD: They won’t be impressed until there is an ice cream named after me.
PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
BD: Bjork; No one sings like her. I would love to hear her voice with an acoustic guitar.
PEV: What helps fuel your drive to create music?
BD: Things that I want to help the world change; War politics, the American government.
PEV: If I were to walk into your house right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?
BD: I drink a lot of yerba mate, and have quite a collection of mate gourds and have a very large supply of Guyaki yerba mate.
PEV: When you are not working, what do you like to do?
BD: Ride my bicycle, skateboard, fly fish, backpack, and yoga.
PEV: People can download your music from your website. What is your opinion on the heated debate over downloading music off line?
BD: Go right ahead. There are still plenty of people who want to buy an album themselves, to have the artwork and the whole package. I think artists need to accept that it happens and not get so bent. Change is inevitable.
PEV: What can someone expect from a live Brett Dennen show?
BD: Sing alongs, booty shakin’, and a lot of love.
PEV: What is the best part about playing live?
BD: Hearing people sing along with the songs.
PEV: When you’re live, anything can happen. Any crazy or embarrassing “live” stories?
BD: Once, in Cincinnati, I was sick as a dog, and I had to run off the stage in the middle of the set to puke in the alley. I finished the set alone, because the drums and bass were too loud and intensified my nausea.
PEV: What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
BD: I don’t have a sense of smell.
PEV: So, what is next for Brett Dennen?
BD: A little break, and then back out on the road for the rest of the year.
For more information check out www.BrettDennen.com