Infectious Magazine chats with Brennan Dylan about his first ventures in music, Berklee College of Music, and omens.
Infectious Magazine: Hey Brennan, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. How are you?
Brennan Dylan: Hey, I’m pretty good. I’m just getting ready to play my first show in Las Vegas so I’m really amped about it. I’ll be performing on March 13 at 10 pm at Surrender Nightclub
IM: You actually started off playing Sax and switched to guitar, correct? What caused you to make the switch?
Brennan Dylan: Yeah, I started playing sax when I was 10. I studied jazz, swing and classical and played in Stage Bands into High School. But when I was 14 I picked up guitar. The guys that were renovating our house were nosing around the basement and found my father’s guitar. In about 1980 he saw a Miles Davis concert in Vancouver. He was amazed at how easy the guitar player in the band made it look so bought a used, one piece solid mahogany axe and started taking lessons. That lasted for about 6 months. He quite because he has 10 thumb syndrome and just put it away. Anyway, the workers took it out of the case and started to mess around with it. When they left for the day I picked it up and it just worked for me. So I cleaned up the case, which had about an inch of dust on it and put it under my bed. I had just started to listen to Blink 182 and Sum 41. Their music suited guitar so it was on.
IM: How did you first get into playing music?
Brennan Dylan: That’s a really good question. I joined a swim team and after each practice I’d relax watching The Simpsons. I really liked the sound that Lucy got out of her sax. I told my parents that I wanted to get a sax and start taking lessons. My father suggested guitar but I said no. Two weeks later my parents rented a sax for me and I was in a school band. A few months later I got a used Yamaha, which I loved. It was best I started with the sax and not guitar because the sax taught me to play melodies with individual notes instead of chords. I brought that to my guitar playing right away.
IM: You spoke with your first A&R rep when you were pretty young. Although you didn’t end up taking it, how do you feel about having to deal with so much pressure and responsibility at such a young age? Do you think many young artists get taken advantage of?
Brennan Dylan: Here’s one for you. I was offered a record deal on June 6, 2006 or 666. We had this great flagstone patio with built in BBQ pit, which we had used the night before. My father cleaned up the garden that afternoon putting the dried branches and leaves in paper yard waste bags. He cleaned out the BBQ pit putting the burned wood and soot in a bag with dried branches thinking the coals were cold as ice. Then he put about 5 or 6 filled bags on our deck and came inside. About half an hour later a lady came to our front door and asked, “Do you know your deck is on fire?” The only thing that got destroyed was the deck.
I wanted that record deal so badly because I knew what I wanted to do since I was 14. I didn’t think of the pressure or responsibility. I only thought rock star and no more school. It’s a good thing I didn’t accept because I wasn’t ready musically. My dad and I had a conference call with another A&R Rep who we’d known for about a year and had become friends with. We are still friends today. He told me that I was going to have a long career and that there was no rush. That I should study music at a school like Berklee before signing on the dotted line.
As far as young artists getting taken advantage of. I don’t really know.
IM: What advice do you have for other artists?
Brennan Dylan: Every act and/or artist is different. The only advice I’d give is listen to your instincts.
IM: You recently spoke of talking to a man who had a large presence in the dance scene in U.S. and Europe and how it influenced you to take your music in a direction you hadn’t yet considered. Him aside, what other people/events have influenced you and your music to be at the point you are today?
Brennan Dylan: The first was an event; seeing a Tommy Lee and DJ Aero with deadmau5 show in Montreal in August 2007. That show introduced me to the dance scene and I immediately saw a place for guitar with the music that was blasting throughout the club. So I switched from writing/recording rock to creating rock and neoclassical guitar fused to electronic music the very next day. The second was Larry Baione, Chairman of the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music. I thought it would be a good idea to try recording some jazz for a change. Larry told me that my jazz work was good but that I should stick with what I was doing, what was inside of me and what my passion was. That was fusing rock and neoclassical guitar to electronic music. Larry encouraged that from day one.
IM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Brennan Dylan: You’re welcome and thank you for the interview. No, I can’t think of anything to add. Those were really good questions.
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