Hey guys and girls!
Today, I am with Brennan Dylan, a very interesting musician from LA – recently from NYC though. He plays the guitar and he plays it good. But that’s not all, he puts a lot of different things together, bringing rocking heavy metal guitars, electronic and dubstep all at once to the table!
Lady Obscure: Hello Brennan. Let’s start with how your journey started…
Brennan Dylan: The sax started me on this evolutionary journey when I was 10. I played jazz, classical and swing in stage bands. At 14 I picked up my Dad’s dust covered guitar and it was like I’d found the secret to eternal youth, it was that magical for me. I started by studying rock for a year but switched to classical guitar when I was 15. Sure I studied classical guitar but did so to make myself a better player and to give my rock compositions a different dynamic. That same year I started performing rock, blues and jazz improv guitar with local and touring acts at The Rainbow in Ottawa and did that 2-3 times a week all through high school. I also started recording my music then which lead to me getting radio play on 2 California college radio stations when I was 16 and a record deal when I was 17. I turned the deal down and went to Berklee College of Music to study Performance Guitar instead. And that is how this party got started.
LO: Yeah, certainly a good mix going on there! So, what drew you to metal?
BD: I think what draws me to metal is that it is really heavy. I like the sound of thunder ricocheting around a track. Also my favorite drummers are The Rev, Tommy Lee, Mike Portnoy and Vinnie Paul because they are heavy hitters and know what they are doing. Unfortunately, The Rev is dead but I still listen to his music. Also, when I was in L.A. and was playing The Whisky a lot, I was paired with metal acts who gave me a warm reception as did the fans. So a lot of my fans are metal heads.
LO: Not very traditional metal though – how are the fans’ reactions?
BD: Very good. People really like my live show unless they are totally into the accordion, are funeral directors or like the folk scene.
LO: You’ll keep at live performances then? Is more coming? What about a tour or an album?
BD: I try to have at least 5 or 6 shows booked ahead all of the time mainly because I love performing. As for touring I’m talking with an agent who is really interested in me so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully, touring will be happening soon. As for my next album, I’m in an out of the studio all the time anyway so am always working on my next album. Creativity is there when its there.
LO: What’s happening currently then? You moved from LA… Is everything coming together?
BD: I moved to NYC on January 1 of this year and lived in a hotel for a month until I found a place to live, then spent a few weeks getting furniture and my studio set up. I haven’t been here very long but have made some excellent connections. A recent connection I made is talking collaborations but who knows.
LO: Yes, about that, how’s the future looking?
BD: I wear shades most of the time. In fact most of my photos are of me wearing shades. What’s that tell you? LOL.
LO: lol… Back to your music; how do you write your songs? Do you decide on the concept first for instance?
BD: I don’t really think about writing or sit down to develop a theme to my writing. I create when its there and let it unfold. Generally, it takes me about 20 – 30 minutes to write a song but that is just the bare bones. When I have time it usually takes about another 2 weeks to put the final product together.
LO: Who are your heroes then? Who inspires you?
BD: Certainly, I am a product of all that I have listened to, studied and practiced. Even my dog Jody’s bark is on one of my recordings. For guitar my main influences are Malmsteen, Joe Stump, Satriani, Motely Crue, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Jeff Beck and Megadeth. On the electronic side my main influences are Deadmau5, Tiesto, Skrillex, Knife Party and Nero. But I also count Dick Dale, The Ramones, Benny Goodman, Mozart, Bach and Paganini as major musical influences as well. These guys inspire me also.
LO: What do you focus on more? Catering to your fans? Or, do you focus purely on where music takes you?
BD: You do have to cater to your audience because your audience is your fans. They are your fans because of who you are. However, you must do whatever you can to engage them but that doesn’t mean playing country if you’re metal to the core. Sometimes a promoter will put an artist in front of the wrong audience. Whose fault is that? That has happened to me twice in approximately 400 performances. I tried my best but no matter what I tried it didn’t work so wrote both shows off as a bad cup of coffee.
LO: You’ve created a new and unique music genre; rock, metal and neoclassical guitar fused with techno, industrial and dubstep… Quite interesting, I should say. How did the idea come about?
BD: In a word it came about because of evolution. I started out with a sax playing and listening only to jazz, swing and classical. I picked up the guitar and immediately started listening and playing hard rock, blues, metal and neoclassical. That isn’t to say that jazz, swing and classical didn’t influence my playing and compositions because it did and still does. Then in August 2007 I saw a Tommy Lee/DJ Aero show with Deadmau5. That show had the most profound influence on me of any musical influence I have had to date because I saw an opening, a means to fuse analog to digital or guitar and electronic to one another. Immediately after the show I set about fusing hard rock guitar to electronica. That evolved into fusing rock, metal and neoclassical guitar to techno, house, dance, electro, trance, ambient, industrial and dubstep individually. From all the experimentations of fusing genres it has evolved into rock, metal and neoclassical guitar fused to techno, dubstep and industrial. It started with a 3 song demo in Oct./07 called “Paris at the Hilton”. That was followed by another demo called “Paris for President” in May/08. Then there was “bring on the thunder” in 2009 followed by “Escaping to LA” in the same year. May/10 saw demo “Escaping to Vegas” come and go as quickly as it appeared as CD “Bullet Ride” took its place in Aug/10. By November 2011 “Broken Glass”, was pressed into 2000 CD’s. I’m in a different place today because I never sit still. To get here I bent the neck right out of shape on 2 guitars because I’m a very aggressive player. I broke a ton of strings and improved to everything electronic that showed up on my laptop. That and I tend to improv with a new guitarist every 2-3 weeks; artists like Eric Johnson, John Petrucci and Joe Walsh. But I also study classical guitar almost everyday and dig up new electronic artists to improv to as well. But I’ve always done this in one form or another since I was 10 so its no big deal to me. But where would we be without music lovers like Lady Obscure? We’d be on “The Highway to Hell” sung by Justine Bieber that’s where……….and we’d all be fucked. So drop her a note saying thank you for promoting the artists drinking daylight.
LO: The media acknowledges that you have singlehandedly created a new and unique music genre, one you call “Dracula Drinks Daylight”. So, what does that mean? I smell a story there…
BD: Its like this. When I auditioned for Berklee in March/07 I knew I’d been accepted because I improved like a bandit to a guy hammering out blues on a grand piano. So when my acceptance letter came in May/07 it was no big surprise to me. What was a big fuckin’ surprise was my guitar placement exam in Jan/08. I performed hard rock and neoclassical guitar fused to electronica for 2 blues dudes. My placement was in the basement when I should have been seeing daylight. Oddly, the Moog had been gradually replacing orchestra musicians since the ’60s so my fusing of analog and digital shouldn’t have come as a shock. Strangely however it did. So I sucked it up and worked twice as hard. Studying and practicing my Berklee work by day and fusing my hard rock guitar to various genres of electronic music by night……sometimes into the wee hours. Therefore “Dracula Drinks Daylight”. Larry Baione, Chairman of Berklee’s Guitar Department, really encouraged me to follow what I was creating as did my friend and teacher Joe Stump.
LO: Do you see a significant difference in the audience’s reaction to what you do as opposed to a more “standard” rock stage performance?
BD: Oh yeah, big time. For one thing very few people have seen a guitar player like me. I do not mean to be arrogant at all because I’m not. I keep learning and growing but when I performed my first Whisky A-Go-Go show there was an A&R rep in attendance that came up to my manager 3 or 4 times during my performance flipping out at what I was doing. He wanted to do something with me but because I was so “obscure” he really couldn’t grasp what to do with me. That happened a lot when I was in L.A. When I’d walk into a club to do a gig with DJ gear, an axe, an amp and a cab I’d get the gears because the other bands saw me as a lame ass press play DJ. That all changed when I plugged in to do a sound check however. I played 5 sets between acts for Namm 2011 at The Whisky.The acts included metal names like DeathRiders and Michael Angelo Batio. The DeathRiders lead guitar player and a few of his students thought I was the craziest they’d ever seen. During the first 2 minutes of my set opening for MAB I broke a string. Since I don’t carry a spare guitar I transposed everything in my head and ripped like a mad man for another 28 minutes. What is different with me is I weld rock, metal and neoclassical guitar to techno, industrial and dubstep. The audience likes it that I’m naturally an in your face guitar player to groove to. But when it comes down to it I still have an infinite amount to learn about the guitar and I’ll always study guitar players new to me. I’ll never stop learning.
LO: Is there a difference to the response to what you do in NY as opposed to LA?
BD: Yes and no. No because I get the same response from an L.A. audience and a NYC audience. Yes because NYC clubs like what I do much more than L.A. clubs. By that I mean I get way more shows in NYC than I got in L.A. I just think a lot of L. A. club owners smoke too much weed which clouds their judgement. LOL
LO: Haha! Thank you for the lovely chat Brennan! Will be watching you closely!