Based in Dublin, Ireland, but born in New York, USA, Brew is an interesting alternative rock artist. After moving to London a while back, Joe Strummer gave him the confidence to form his band Blue Sun; however, we want to focus on his latest solo project. We had a chance to speak with Brew about his debut solo single ‘New Direction’, staying motivated and discovering new music.
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
After seeing my first concert at 18 I knew no other job would exhilarate me and I’ve stuck to it decades later. Plus, it keeps me youthful and not jaded. Music gave me a life and allowed me to see the world.
Can you tell us about your single ‘New Direction’?
It’s my first ever solo record written when I was 19 with barely two years of guitar playing ability under my belt. The producer said the riff is the hook and how I was ahead of my time. The title alone is very apt for a solo venture and when I wrote it I was not in a solo career mode; it was just another song to me about desiring change. To my mind, it’s a cross between The Beatles and Garbage sound-wise.
What was the recording and writing process like?
I worked with Irish producer/engineer Ray Traynor of The Script, Aslan and One Republic fame. He brought in high-calibre players, particularly Tony ‘Macca’ McGuinness who wrote the hits Aslan are known for. He laid down like 40 different bass patterns just to have in case we needed them. Gary Reddy laid down interesting guitar tweaking and an almost Celtic sounding guitar solo with amazing backup vocals. Drums were computerised. I, of course, laid down the main riff and rhythm guitars.
The process took about four months, but we had been in talks for three years! It wasn’t your typical live recording and I’ve never really worked with session guys in that capacity as I’m a traditionalist – I like rehearsing the parts as a full band. So, this was an interesting change.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
On the surface it feels like a love song, but is it love for a place or a person? Keep you guessing, but I can say I was longing for some kind of change personally. I’ll let the listeners make up their own minds.
What do you hope people take from your music?
I want people to feel uplifted and happy to be alive. I don’t understand the point of making overly aggressive music only to bring your audience down and offer no hope. Music is meant to be an escape from the shite. If you must sing about negative things, offer some hope at the same time.
What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
My music and lyrics go 50/50, especially since I write everything on the guitar. Lately, I would say lyrics have become challenging because you want to try and avoid using the same words or themes, etc. My personal challenge is anybody liking my song really.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Well, hanging out watching other bands on a nightly basis inspires me. I read about my musical heroes and still buy their records, as in actual vinyl records! I remind myself there is no other alternative in life that could come close to matching how I feel doing music.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s deffo eclectic. You’ll never see me in a band where all the songs sound the same. I equally love punk, hard rock, reggae, indie, country, anything that has a melody. I don’t stick to one genre and have been known to combine metal, reggae and punk within the same song.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
I still go by radio, but I suppose there is always Spotify. If you’re a traditionalist you just venture to your nearest record shop, peruse the racks and see what jumps out at ya.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, I have a five-year plan that ultimately culminates in me doing endless touring of various musical markets. You could spend a year alone touring California by itself! But, yeah, because I am a live person first, it’s all about doing shows with a band.
I do foresee follow-up singles and/or perhaps returning to my usual band BLUE SUN and keep that going, but I need to be on the road. All I discovered since going off the road was that next time I get on the road just STAY on the road. As they say, keep livin’ the dream. No point going to my grave bitter.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Please support your local scene! What can be more exciting than going to a gig, especially if they are free! If you’re in a band, it’s important to support your scene and attend each other band’s gigs because that keeps a scene alive. Selfishness is not cool and leads to nowhere. Cliques suck. We are all in this together, it’s not just a boys club.