Brendan Miller is a very talented singer/songwriter, a bass guitar player at Bandaid Brigade, and a super nice guy. He recently released his debut acoustic solo recording at Joey Cape’s One Week Records. It’s definitely worth checking out, so make sure to listen to it once you read this interview. Enjoy!
01. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How have you been?
Brendan: Thank you for asking them! I appreciate it. I’ve been pretty great thanks. I just wrapped up a tour, playing bass in Bandaid Brigade with some of my favorite musicians. Things are good!
02. You recently published your debut acoustic album? Is that was something you’ve been planning to do for a long time, or does it come spontaneously?
Brendan: It was completely spontaneous. Both because of how it happened and the fact that I’ve never considered myself a singer/songwriter. I’ve always played in bands.
03. Could you describe your songwriting and composing process?
Brendan: It varies but usually the music and the lyrics start as two completely separate entities. If I write a guitar part that I like, I’ll play it over and over until it becomes second-nature, adding and subtracting parts as the song builds. That is the easy part. As far as lyrics, I have a notebook full of ideas, phrases, quotes, book references, etc. Combining the two is the hard part. I usually record a rough guitar mix and compulsively listen until something happens that makes sense to me. Every once in a while, I’ll get lucky and something will happen quickly and naturally.
04. Acoustic/singer-songwriter/indie songs are usually personal and deal with the artist’s surroundings. Is that the case with your debut material? What are the themes you included in your album?
Brendan: Very much so. I have to write what I know. Some artists can write from other perspectives and it’s amazing to me. I’m just not much of a story teller. Love, loss, and gratitude. As generic as it sounds, I was consumed by the three throughout the production of this album. It feels much more natural for me to write about what is front and center. So I did.
05. Do you have any guest musicians on your album, or it’s performed all by yourself?
Brendan: I did everything on my own. I didn’t use any recording gear or external microphones. Everything was played directly facing the computer so if you listen closely, you can sometimes hear my roommate laughing on the phone or doing the dishes. Does that count?
06. You decided to release your recordings on Joey Cape’s One Week Records. How did that collaboration happen?
Brendan: Zach Quinn (Pears, Bandaid Brigade) is one of my favorite musicians. I randomly checked in with him via Instagram and ended up sending him Tripped. He gave me his phone number to send him the track. ‘Sure, Zach Quinn.’ He told me that he was going to send it to Joey Cape. ‘Ok Zach Quinn. Here’s a song for you to send to Joey Cape.’ It was surreal. I’ve been a Lagwagon fan since my early teens. Within minutes, I was texting with Joey and the rest is history.
07. One Week Records has such a distinctive routine when it comes to recording/publishing artists. Everything has to be done in one week, so how is that reflected in your songwriting/composing?
Brendan: Because of Covid travel restrictions, I wasn’t able to actually record with Joey. We did everything remotely. One of the few advantages is that we were able to take our time. I’d record every day (usually doing vocals in my car), send a mix to Joey, and we’d go from there. It’s more of a ‘Few Months Record.’
08. It is your first acoustic album. Do you have any previous experience working with bands, performing gigs, and rehearsing? If so, what are the pros and cons of performing solo and playing with the band?
Brendan: I’ve played heavy, fast, and loud my whole life. Always in bands. Always with close friends. As far as performing and writing go, I would much prefer that. Not necessarily the genre, I just miss connecting and collaborating with other musicians. As far as recording goes, I prefer the solo process. I had full control, I could record on my own time, and I didn’t once have to wait for the drummer to show.
09. Are you satisfied with how the album turned out at the end of the recording process?
Brendan: Very much. There are some things I’d change but I’m not losing sleep over them. If I could do it again, I’d buy a microphone. Luckily, in this case, I think the raw, demo sound worked in our favor.
10. What are the reactions of the crowd so far? Do you have any insights into how the people reacted when the album came out?
Brendan: I don’t have too much of an insight other than friends and family. Everyone was very supportive and had nothing but positive feedback. I’m spoiled by a very strong support system though. Hopefully they are telling the truth.
11. Like most of the artists, I am pretty sure some musicians inspired you while writing this album. What artists inspired you the most to start a singer-songwriter career?
Brendan: I’ve always been a huge Neil Young fan. He might be my all time favorite. This album was a bit of a last resort as opposed to a product of influence. I lived in Colorado at the time. I was there for three years and was very isolated. I had trouble making friends and meeting like-minded musicians. I had also sold most of my gear to help pay for the move. This was an attempt to fill the void that always forms when music is not a part of my life. I was depressed and self-destructive. At that point I had to utilize a healthy, creative outlet as opposed to other options so I started writing.
12. What are the artists/bands that currently spin on your turntable/Spotify? Any good songs, albums, artists, or bands you would like to share with our readers?
Brendan: This is a musical identity crisis but I’ll go through my ‘liked’ songs on Spotify: Sheer Mag, Bongripper, Pixies, Billy Joel, Gray Matter, Ky Voss, Bandaid Brigade, PEARS, Lord Dricipher, The Cure, Unfun, Dag Nasty…..BRENDAN MILLER…the list goes on.
13. That’s it. Thank you so much for your time. Anything you would like to say to our readers at the end of this interview?
Brendan: Thank you for including me and for YOUR time! I really appreciate this.
Take care of each other. @hngry_ghsts