Words by Keane Fletcher
Election anxiety getting you down? 2020 not evening out the way you thought it might? Never fear, North Carolina-born Melbourne-based artist BREV. is here, delivering his unique brand of 'millennial, mellow-pop' to ease your Armageddon blues.
'Music to me has been a way to work through hard feelings or feel empowered or inspired. I think it has introduced me to new ideas and helped me fight through anxiety...To me, undeniably, music breaks down the barriers that normally would disrupt a relationship from forming, be it politics, class, age, etc. To regain consciousness through music, to me, is to understand yourself better, reflect on your past, and push yourself to keep going.'
And keep going he certainly has. Despite spending the majority of his time in Australia in lockdown, BREV. has made the most of 2020 by honing his craft and his sound, with his new single 'Portals' slated for release later this year. And just in time too. With the state of the world looking how it is, with another day of anxiety-inducing news just around the corner, we could all use a dose of pure, unadulterated, pop-dopamine. And that's exactly what BREV. has to offer.
We recently sat down with BREV. to talk music, inspo, and 'regaining consciousness through music'. Check it out below!
1- Where are you based at the moment?
I'm currently based in Melbourne, Australia, and moved here in February 2020 (great timing, I know), from North Carolina.
2- How would you describe your sound? Who are your musical influences?
I once had a producer tell me my music is "PBR&B" (or hipster r&b), it's a blend of pop melodies, synth, beats, and veering towards downtempo dance music. I want to create connections through music, whether that is to the earth, to people, or to yourself. I've been on this journey as BREV. for about 3 years now, and it was heavily influenced by the likes of Chet Faker (Nick Murphy), Flume, Kimbra, and Kllo. I've always loved hooks and melodies and growing up my influences ranged from Alanis Morissette to Fall Out Boy and Cibo Matto.
3- How does the songwriting process usually work for you? Do you have a routine when it comes to writing, or does inspiration usually take you by surprise?
It definitely changes depending on how or when inspiration strikes. I have hundreds of voice memos where I wake up and suddenly this melody or idea is in my head so I try to get that down right away, but when I sit down to write, it usually encompasses creating a cool sounding synth or atmosphere and then building around that. For me, writing lyrics is one of the hardest parts, because I feel like what I write on a daily basis (sad, introspective) doesn't fit the mood of many songs I'm working on. One thing I love doing is going for a bike ride or drive and just improv-ing along to a new song and figuring out the words and melody... and it often just comes to me.
4- Your motto is ‘regaining consciousness through music’; tell us a little bit about that. What does making music mean to you? In these troubled times, do you believe it can be used as a tool for connection? What can music accomplish that other mediums can't?
Music to me has been a way to work through hard feelings or feel empowered or inspired. I think it has introduced me to new ideas and helped me fight through anxiety. Some of my most profound moments growing up were going to shows (sometimes by myself) and making friends and creating a connection with someone through our shared experience for music. Having a personal story with a song - seeing it live, and meeting new people who love the same song but have a different experience is amazing. To me, undeniably, music breaks down the barriers that normally would disrupt a relationship from forming, be it politics, class, age, etc. To regain consciousness through music, to me, is to understand yourself better, reflect on your past, and push yourself to keep going.
5- You've been stuck in lockdown for the better part of 2020. How has it affected you and your creativity? Have you enjoyed having more time to create or have you found the circumstances stifling?
2020 has been a weird time for me, moving across the world and integrating into Australian life, and making new friends. It's been pretty rough, but the lockdown has had some benefits for me. It's given me time to sit with my songs and my sound and continue to cultivate that and learn more in the music world. It's also been a time for self-care and allowing moments for distraction. I think if there's one thing I would say I've learned, besides more polished music and new songs, is just to not be too hard on myself. That's some of the best advice in this productivity-centered world.
6- How do you feel the internet has affected your career as a songwriter? Do you believe streaming services like Spotify and Soundcloud are making things easier or harder for up-and-coming artists?
The internet is amazing for networking, meeting new artists, and finding new fans. I specifically love Instagram for staying connected with artists I like or have played with, and it's an awesome playground for visual content (Lately I've been making some glitchy content on my page). The internet has an abundance of information that has helped me reach grow as a musician and has given me access to people I would have never met otherwise. As far as streaming services are concerned, the amount of music available is astounding, but the ability to go independent and market yourself and hustle for your success is one of the huge advantages of them.
7- What's next for you? Any new singles in the works?
Yea, as I mentioned I've been working on my craft and sound a lot this year, and making this new single - Portals - has been one of those exciting moments. This will come out later this year or very early next year, and it's about my experience being on the other side of the world from the people I've cared about most my entire life. Super excited to share these new works and build my audience in Australia.
8- Anything else?
I'll be in Australia for another year or so, and super excited to get to play shows and connect with Australians through this music - I love this place and can't wait to see people in the near future.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!