A Chat with Pennan Brae (21.07.2020)

Pennan Brae is a Vancouver-based singer-songwriter who has always been fascinated with planets, solar systems and the galaxy. He has channelled this fascination into his work including the album The Astronot. He is now back with his single ‘Pay Dirt’. We sat down with Pennan Brae (PB) to talk about this single, his future plans and much more!

OSR: If you had not become a musician, what would you be doing right now?

PB: I have no idea! I suppose my own small business of some sort, something personal, but I don’t know what. I have done other jobs in the past but have not enjoyed them and always gravitated back to music.

OSR: Is there a backstory for ‘Pay Dirt’?

PB: I was just feeling angst when I wrote it. Some financial frustration, some sexual frustration, you name it, I was feeling it. So that sense of frustration channelled into the guitar chords. The piece reminds me of the punk-rock scene of New York City in the 1970s in the arrangement and guitars. I coloured the piece after with lyrics, but sonically, that represents how I felt at the time.



OSR: Why this single and why now?

PB: ‘Pay Dirt’ is the lead single off my new album 2 Below 0 and we felt it would be a good introduction to it. There are 12 songs total on the album, which serves as a soundtrack for the independent film of the same name that I wrote. Filmmaker Tim Cash & I teamed up to film the 48-minute dark comedy, which is on the film festival circuit right now.

OSR: Are you skilled in any other creative disciplines?

PB: I enjoy screenwriting a lot. At first, I imagined the writing process would be dull, with just words on a blank piece of paper and no music involved, but I quickly learned otherwise. It’s a real creative high. I’ve written 2 feature-length films that we’ve shot; ‘The Astronot’ in 2018 and ‘2 Below 0’ in 2019. I also really enjoy writing music videos. I’ve written other screenplays but have not yet filmed them.

OSR: You have released a lyric video for this track, are you planning on any other videos?

PB: Yes, we’re currently working on other lyric music videos for songs off the 2 Below 0 album. At first, I wasn’t keen on lyric videos but now I love them. They’re fun to make and it’s great seeing the lyrics splashed across the screen. From a production standpoint, they’re more efficient also as you don’t need to travel and purchase props.

I still want to make standard music videos, but right now, lyric music videos are a great focus. We also have a couple of lyric music videos planned for songs from ‘The Astronot’ soundtrack, they should be out later this summer.

OSR: Would you like to collaborate with any other artist? If so, who?

PB: Well, the ultimate dream would be writing a song with Keith Richards, but I know that’s a pipe dream of course. I love his guitar playing and am a fan of open guitar tunings, which he incorporates a lot. Or writing with Mick Jagger, I love his lyrical style.


Pennan Brae

OSR: If we took a peek at your personal playlist, what is some of the music we would find?

PB: Lots of classic rock from the 1950s to 90s! Some Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, lots of Rolling Stones and Beatles, along with Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Eagles. Also the Red Hot Chilli Peppers of course with a good dose of AC/DC!

OSR: If you could have people remember one thing about your music, what would it be?

PB: Just that it offered some type of enjoyment or escape to people; that’s the ultimate goal of any musician. I’m beginning to write more guitar tracks, without any violins or piano; they’re more classic rock-based. They swing a little bit and I hope folks might enjoy those!

OSR: What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your career?

PB: Just to keep going when there seems to be nothing on the horizon. Just to continue on.

OSR: What are your plans for the future?

PB: In May, I released the 2 Below 0 album. In September, I’d like to release a new 11-song album called Cinema. Then if it’s possible, in December or January, I’d like to release 1 more. Those are the plans for the next year anyway. After that, we’ll see where we’re at to determine what to do next!


Thanks to Pennan Brae for chatting with us! You can find more about him on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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