Relevant Noise: A Dreamy Disconnect, Past and Future Workings of Brett
Written by Kalyn Oyer
Direction by Rob Leonard
In anticipation of Brett’s upcoming EP, On Account of Your Love via Chill Mega Chill Records we are looking back at their 2014 self-titled debut that was released on Cascine Records. The eight-song compilation involves a balanced blend of sonic and lyric escapism amidst an intoxicating undercurrent. The project is a paradox in it’s very nature with troubled lyrics that explore the themes of loss and loneliness masked beneath lighthearted pop beats. Deeper insight arrives in an encompassing sense of disenchantment that floats between toned-down pop beats and spacey vocals. One thing that is not lacking is emotion, though you may be tasked with interpretation.
“Chalon” shines as the disc’s first and most emotionally captivating track, whispering of a relationship laced with jealousy, trust issues, and disconnect. The lyrics begin, “I know you remember what you said in Baltimore / Ok, just forget it, let’s turn on the TV show / I can’t bear to take you places you already go / Kills me when you’re laughing with those guys you hardly know.” A subtle synth beat and soothing tone steadies lyrically frantic emotions, escalating into a dreamily melodic portal of bitter discovery interlaced with distorted electronic waves. By the end of the chorus, there is strained acceptance and an attempt to emotionally move on. The breakthrough arrives in lines, “I swear I thought I knew you well/ When I piss you off, I can barely tell,” which reveal a shift in the dynamics of the relationship or perhaps a realization of the disconnect that was present all along.
“Lovers” takes things up-tempo, building on the previous theme, but shifting moods into something blissfully reminiscent yet subtly regretful. The song hums of dwelling on summer memories and living in the moment, begging one’s partner to submit fully to the present yet realizing her inability to do so. “Close your eyes for a moment and find your life is love / Realize time flies faster than you ever thought” divulges not only pleasure but self-discovery in carefree innocence. Yet, the second line offers two interpretations: the dark reality that these pure moments are fleeting in the brevity of a lifetime or the brilliant comprehension that, in these pure moments, time doesn’t even matter.
“Confidence” arrives upbeat and catchy, synthing out with ‘80s inspired rhythms reminiscent of a Michael Jackson backdrop. Vocally, however, it’s much more in the vein of The 1975 with higher-pitched staccatos before an electronic fade out that leads straight into the darkest track of the disc, “Inside.” In this song, the intro builds in a dismally bittersweet pattern, mixing with soprano blips before entering into melancholy, fuzzy vocals that match the subject matter of disillusioned soul-searching. “Look like myself but I feel like I’m somebody else” echoes bleakly in a spacey trance that seems to be trapped by its own feelings of confusion and failure at self-discovery.
“Goon” and “Always” both have an angelic quality to their sound that ascends into an enlightening daze. The latter’s lyrical content includes memories of love, sleeping in the daytime, heartbreak-fueled car rides and the inability to escape past emotions, all siphoned through a pop-driven chorus and arriving at the sentiment that “It was just a dream” that never fades away.
“Golden” best embodies the disc’s theme of escapism with a vibrant, youthful tone and offered opportunities to break away from reality in recklessly carefree moments. “Hey, do you wanna get high?” and “I wanna dance with you tonight” highlight this in-the-moment state of mind. There’s also a sense of being beside that one person who makes you forget everything else in the world, even amidst personal struggle and hardship. “I want to come alive but everything is drenched in black and white / It makes me want to shout / Come run with me tonight…It doesn’t matter where we’re going just as long as you’re there.”
Last track “Thrash” furthers both sentiments of invigorating love and running away, whilst searching for some kind of salvation. There is a slower, faded sonic texture among tinny drums and an anthemic lead-up to the chorus highlighted with floating background harmonies. The sentiment that arises from the ashes of broken hearts and a disenchanted past is a longing for what once was that we can never quite get back and an overall declaration that the harder life gets, the more we long to escape.
Brett recently released the new/never heard track “Dual” via Surf Collective NYC – it doesn’t seem as if it will make it’s way to this summer’s upcoming release On Account, as its not listed on the tracklist but if the album is anything like “Dual” it will be beach soaked, sand encrusted, pop shoegaze – you need this track and you need it before the sun takes a few steps back and moves us indoors.
As of now, On Account of Your Love is slated for fall release, October specifically, but with not hard date – at least publicly stated. Check out the tracklist along with some Q&A’s with Chill Mega Chill and Mick Coogan of Brett below.
1. Street Cleaning
2. On Account of Your Love
5. On Account of Your Love (Club Mix)
Q&A with Mick Coogan of Brett:
What drew Brett to Chill Mega Chill?
We made a bunch of songs in the winter and the fall and shared them with our label Cascine and they were really stoked, but I had a sequence of songs that I felt really went together well. It was like 4 or 5 songs, and I asked Cascine that even though our second LP is scheduled to come out in January, if we could put something out on another label in the meantime, because I feel these songs work really well together and people will connect with them. I wanted to work with an LA label and was put in touch with Tim of Chill Mega Chill through one of my producer friends who put out some stuff with them on cassette. He was a fan of the band, and so things just kind of happened from there.
Tell me about the making of the new EP.
They’re kind of California songs. I was living in DC with some of my bandmates and moved out here to do more music stuff, which was a transition. These songs are grown here in LA and based on experiences. There are two songs on the EP that are really pleasant and bright, you know youthful and innocent and happy, and then two songs that are really heavy. Thematically, it’s a good counterpoint. They represent new relationships, since I’ve been out here and coming to grips with having to leave certain people behind on the East Coast. There’s all these happy new beginnings, but things come to an end at the same time. The EP is really an intense dichotomy of emotions I was feeling, and it expresses that for me.
How have you evolved since the first album?
We’re always going to have melodic pop songs, but the EP is a little bit more organic and fuzzy. The album was very cold and a little farther on the electronic side of things and more minimal. The EP’s buzzier, hazier, with fuzzy guitars here and there, more acoustic guitars. I wanted a more warm texture of sound.
What projects do you have coming up: any shows/tours/etc.?
I think we’ll play west coast stuff this fall and if the album works enough, we’ll definitely hit east coast markets too. We’re not a huge band by any means. If people want us to play, we’re always down to get out there if it’s the right opportunity. We did a summer tour last year, and that was pretty fun.
What stands out about the artists at Chill Mega Chill?
When you’re on bigger label and companies, your story can get diluted and then people can’t connect the dots. I love this project because we vibe together really well and the art’s going to be cool for the EP. We got a photographer who brings the feminine nature of a woman out without sexualizing it, keeping it very pure. We got her to do a shoot, and it came out with really striking images. For the EP cover, there is no text, just a shot- an alluring, mysterious shot -that hopefully captures peoples imaginations and draws them in. We have a very big art project rolling out with the LP as well. It involves deconstructing a painting for the album cover. With both projects, we want to present music a new way so people can get into it.
Who’s your favorite artist on Chill Mega Chill?
Ricky Eat Acid- he is pushing boundaries for sure and has been doing it for a long time. I was really drawn to it. That’s awesome electronic music done in a tasteful way. He as an artist grows and changes, and it’s nice to be a fan of something like that. Every time it will have an essence of the artist but the artist is challenging themselves, and that’s all you can hope for.
Q&A with Chill Mega Chill Records:
What drew Chill Mega Chill to Brett?
We have this mission, I guess central doctrine, wanting to represent artists who are underrepresented so they don’t feel like they have to pay a lot of money or spend a lot of time convincing people to like them rather then us just doing it because we like their music and want to tell people about it. None of the stuff we do is for profit, so all of the money we make goes into the next release so it’s purely to give exposure to artists. Brett fit that mold we wanted to represent…Brett found out about us through Tim. Chill Mega Chill consists of me (Tripp Mostertz), Ian (Stanley) who ran a blog called Cactus-Mouth, and Tim (Thomspon) who ran a blog called Smoke Don’t Smoke. Then we all contribute to Portals. Tim is our LA contact, so he makes a lot of connections out there and hooked up with Brett when they moved from D.C.
Tell me about the making of Brett’s new EP.
How we handle releases, and with Brett in particular, is usually conversations that happen online. A lot of time we do what we’re doing- meeting in a coffee place- or you know friends of friends who read the websites we write about will approach us with music. We end up providing money to create the product they want to create. So this one’s going to be vinyl, normally we do tape. Basically how it works is whatever money we make, they get half of what we make overall. The artist gets more exposure, we are happy because we are making a difference in their lives, and then we get to contribute to the next person down the road so it’s like a collective thing for everybody, very democratic.
How has Brett evolved since the first album?
They sound so similar to Pure Bathing Culture to me, like their songs “Pendulum” and “Scotty.” We absolutely love that album, and when we heard these new tracks, we know we wanted to be a part of this project. I can’t necessary say how they evolved, but with the new music- it was such a beautiful sound of like home recording feel but like big sounds. They just sound very expansive. It’s electronic, five instruments, I don’t know, it just sounds more kind of bedroom-y, large, vast, a bigger concept this album.
What projects do you have coming up with Brett: any shows/tours/etc.?
The way the label works, we don’t necessarily represent the artist on the tour level. It’s more of like helping them create a product they can be proud of. It’s very collaborative- we provide input, create the product, but it’s totally artist-driven…it’s more than just downloading an mp3. We’re doing something more tangible, something you can add to like your personality, more toward who you are-for the artist and for the people who are listening to enjoy it.
What about Brett stands out from the other artists at Chill Mega Chill?
Their music is very in and of themselves. Nobody on our label sounds like them. We like variety, and it’s a reflection of our musical interests. We don’t want the label to be cornered into a certain concept, genre. They just bring something nobody else quite brings: beautiful sounds, bedroom sounds, guitar sounds. We love having them on the record label.