We caught up with Brolin, to talk collaborations, cute music videos and his new tune, Swim Deep
Romantic and alive, Brolin’s latest offering Swim Deep comes from a fresh place. The result of collaboration with producer Raffertie, Swim Deep is a great follow on from EP Flags Mixtape, released earlier next year, and is the first track from Brolin’s first album – coming in early 2015. We’re getting excited already. With an adorable video featuring real couples waking up, directed by Phoebe Arnstein, everything about Swim Deep sounds like a success. We caught up with Brolin and talked collaboration, emotion and anonymity.
How did you start making music?
I needed a creative output, a way to express my internal monologue. Songwriting and music production at home allowed me to do this at my own pace without having to compromise. As a result, these disciplines developed naturally over time… which has given me autonomy and freedom to express myself.
You burst onto the scene with your debut track “NYC”. Were you surprised by all the attention it received?
Definitely. When it premiered I was just pleased to have my 1st vinyl release in place. I never anticipated such a lovely, organic response to the track. To watch my music connect with people all over the world is very humbling, but exceptionally exciting at the same time.
What inspires you when you’re writing?
Like most songwriters, day to day life experiences heavily influence my lyrics. I keep a note of concepts when I’m ambulating from place to place, as that seems to be when my strongest ideas creep into consciousness. However, strong coffee also facilitates the writing process 🙂
You’ve taken your time with your releases, was it important for you to make sure your album was perfect before you released it?
Personally, I fail to see the benefits of rush releasing your music. Its good to allow yourself distance from a finished track and then come back to it with fresh ears, as it allows you time to reassess certain aspects and make additional tweaks if required. Of course, being hypercritical and precious can be counter-productive, but there is no harm in exercising patience until you’re comfortable and confident with the work you’re set to release. Allowing it to brew a little longer can get the most exciting results.
What was it like touring with Gold Panda?
Wonderful. Derwin is lovely, and I got a very warm response from the audience. The best crowd of the tour was Glasgow, as they were so responsive and engaged, and my favourite venue of the tour was St John at Hackney church. That venue is epic, and worked so well in December with everyone cocooned inside – wrapped up warm and in high spirits, with Christmas just around the corner.
You’ve maintained a certain amount of anonymity thus far, why? Is it hard to do?
I feel the music I write is autonomous; who I am isn’t relevant for the perception of my music. Retaining anonymity allows me to be defined by my music, only.
It’s not realistic to remain completely anonymous though, due to various practicalities involved in the industry. That’s just the way it is. My anonymity isn’t sacred; it’s just a way of avoiding unnecessary distractions from the music.
Who would you like to collaborate with in future?
Earl Sweatshirt and Ian MacKaye, they’re both brilliant.
What can we expect from your live shows?
Performing live allows me to explore the subtler aspects of my recordings, as the darker undertones in the lyrical content can seem more apparent. It is something I truly enjoy.
Do you feel like you can convey emotion in songs in a way that you wouldn’t want to speak about publicly?
My music is catharsis. I wouldn’t say I am an exceptionally stoic soul, but there are elements and moments in my lyrics that wouldn’t normally see the light of day in an everyday conversational setting.
You’re working on a debut album – are they any exciting collaborations on it? What can your fans expect from it?
I have been working on this record for 2 years, writing and demoing every track in my front room, then tweaking certain aspects with other producers in London, Hamburg and L.A. Raffertie is currently mixing the record… its sounding slick. I am so excited to share this collection of songs with the world.
Your video for “Swim Deep” is very touching. How did you come up with the concept for that?
The concept was conceived by talented director and producer, Phoebe Arnstein. We cast the video together and bounced ideas off each other before she shot and edited the piece. I’m so pleased with result.