In the spotlight

In the spotlight – bryden

todayApril 14, 2023 206 9

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Bryden is a 23-year old singer from North West London (UK). With the release of his debut single ‘Blood’ and his EP ‘The Rites’ produced by Oscar Moos (Eyelar, Coults, Kid Brunswick), bryden looks to introduce the listener to his unique world of occultist indie-pop and alt-rock. Read more about what inspired his EP in this interview.

“It’s not indication of any personal dealings with Satan or blood! It’s just a metaphor!”

What else do you do besides music? Do you have other interests and passions?

“I’m an actor as well so I have been auditioning for various stage, TV and film roles over the past 18 months. I’ve done an advert for Lotus and a well reviewed play on the London Fringe so far and hoping for a bigger break soon.”

“I’m a huge Tottenham fan, and go home and away whenever I can, I’ve also sung in a couple pubs before the games on the high road. I’m also big into literature and I’d love to go into screenwriting and be a novelist at some point.”

How did you get into music in the first place?

“I was always surrounded by music because my mum is a dance teacher, and I think despite the fact I can’t dance to save my life I’ve always had that innate desire to be a performer – and I’m a Leo too. I started by recording bad demos with beats ripped off YouTube in my bedroom and was too scared to show anyone whilst at school, but sung in school shows and competitions and gained a lot of confidence from that.”

“I then met my current producer Oscar when I rented cheap studio time in Kentish Town in 2017 and kept working on refining my sound over the years with him and a few other producers. I recorded tons and tons of songs and ended up putting a song called ‘Tempted’ out on SoundCloud and selling out a student gig whilst at university.”

Growing up, who were the artists that were the most impactful for you as a listener?

“Frank Ocean and Odd Future came out at a really formative time for me, and I think Nostalgia Ultra re-wired my brain when it dropped. Blonde also guided me through the awfulness of adolescence almost single-handedly. Honourable mentions to the Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, Tallest Man on Earth, Sampha, Blur and Kendrick Lamar who were ever-presents on my iPod Nano.”

Recently you released your debut single ‘Blood’. How is it to have your own song released?

“It was kind of surreal seeing it up on Spotify and Apple Music, but I think the main feeling was just relief. I’ve been wanting this for so long and you can get so caught up in the comfort of planning, and tinkering with tiny details in tracks and waiting for the perfect moment. To just commit to the release and to do it, it really feels like a huge burden and sense of imposter syndrome has been lifted.”

“I wanted this EP to serve as a cohesive story and sonic package and a consummate introduction to me and the different genres I can exists within.”

How did you experience the complete process of writing and recording?

“For this EP I began with around five short poems that centred around a central narrative of falling in love / undergoing a seance. I then condensed and edited down a lot of that on my own, on my little 3/4 acoustic guitar, really prioritising melody and feeling rather than the story. I then brought a embryonic form of the songs on the EP to Oscar and we played around with structures and fine-tuned the songs over a few weeks in Urchin Studios, Hackney Wick. I had more of the melodies and lyrics pre-written before approaching the sonic tapestry behind it that I usually had, but for these songs I really think it worked out.”

“Me and Oscar then wanted to create a real ‘band’ sound, but one that was ‘really weird’. We had a massive array of references for the sounds behind, and were attempting to access something that sounded like it could have been made in the sixties, like an abandoned tape but pushing at the boundaries of that imaginative space.”

“I wanted this EP to serve as a cohesive story and sonic package and a consummate introduction to me and the different genres I can exists within. I also wanted it to feel kind of timeless, like it could be a lost collaboration between Don Mclean and Captain Beefheart. It was really important to me that the sound was right and we ended up taking our time and coming back to re-record the drums and guitar with some incredible session musicians like Josh Darby on drums and Eik Petterson whose guitar lines on Leap are unreal. References we listened to were artists like: Mitski, Frank Ocean, serpentwithfeet, Billie Eilish, Angel Olsen, SuicideBoys, Butthole Surfers, Warpaint, Grimes and The Weeknd. You can hear what I’m currently listening to on this playlist.”

With ‘Blood’ being your debut single, what was the process like deciding what would be your musical introduction?

“It was a tough one actually, because I think the EP really shows all sides of myself and to pick one as that first slice felt quite limiting. But, ultimately you can’t exist at all without becoming finite, so I picked ‘Blood’ because I think it’s just got the catchiest hook of the three songs and it felt like it afforded quite a lot of energy and visual inspiration for a music video alongside it. There was also a lot of deliberation with my friends and collaborators and ‘Blood’ just ended up being pretty unanimous a choice because it sits in the middle of the EP’s story and I think it tells quite a nice self-contained story in its own right.”

Is there anything you would like us to know about your single?

“It’s not indication of any personal dealings with Satan or blood! It’s just a metaphor!”

“Also I’d say it leans into the poppier/R&B side of my musicality so if you like guitar music or it isn’t rock-y enough for you listen to the rest of the EP! I fell in love whilst studying occult rituals and satanic poetry for my dissertation, so that was the genesis of the emotions and imagery which inspired the EP. The intensity of my feelings felt inextricably linked to the study of rituals, masks and satanic melodies which I was reading about and I wanted to re-create the genuine magic which Alasteir Crowley, WB Yeats and Madame Blavatsky created in their meetings to reflect the unprecedented rushes of love and beauty and fear which I felt at the same time. Basically I was running off no-sleep, coffee and hangovers, whilst burying my nose in haunted books in an old library and I fell in love at the same time.”

Can you tell me more about the upcoming EP ‘Rites’?

“It tells the story of undergoing a ritual, which was typical of Victorian occult societies such as The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn & Theosophical societies. Over the three songs a spirit appears, the protagonist falls in love with the spirit, is consumed by it and then decides whether to stay in its seductive, devilish grasp or leave.”

What is the most surprising thing you think people are going to hear or get to know about you from listening to your EP?

“I think my vocal textures and tones are quite varied on the EP as a whole, so if your introduction to me was just ‘Blood’ or my Soundcloud single ‘Tempted’, the more syncopated trappy cadences in Pearl’s post-chorus or frayed rock vocals on Pearl’s outro and ‘Leap’ might take you off-guard!”

“That’s I the dream really, to create something where you can scratch beyond the verbal into the purely human through manipulation of the voice and melodies, while matching them with lyrics which function as poems in their own right, which deserve to be re-listened to and understood in myriad ways.”

You studied English and Creative Writing, how important are lyrics to you?

“I mean I think lyrics for me have always been the thing which elevates a song from a passing, passive enjoyment to a piece of art that really sticks with you, transforms you somewhat. I’m a massive poetry guy and I adore poring over my favourite artists lyrics and parsing out hidden meanings or interpretations. But there’s something unique about good songwriting which elevates it above poetry. I mean I absolutely love artists like The Cocteau Twins and Young Thug where the lyrics are less important than the non-verbal communication in the vocal delivery. When the two are combined though it’s genuinely a form of magic to me. That’s I the dream really, to create something where you can scratch beyond the verbal into the purely human through manipulation of the voice and melodies, while matching them with lyrics which function as poems in their own right, which deserve to be re-listened to and understood in myriad ways.”

Favourite lyric of all time?

“Best full lyrics to any song would probably be Leonard Cohen’s ‘Waltz in Vienna’ or ‘Rocky Racoon’ by the Beatles but that’s kind of cheating. God it’s impossible to just say one, maybe I’ll say Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover You Should Have come over’ when he says:

It’s never over,
all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
It’s never over,
she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever

That always gets me to choke up.”

To what extent do you draw influence for lyrics from areas outside music? I always love hearing about the song writing process. What can you tell me about yours?

“Yeah, I’m always massively inspired by other forms of art; be it books, movies, paintings, poems or just something people have said in the course everyday of life. My notespage has thousands of entries on it which I’ll use to start a song off or transform something I’ve already got. Sometimes I’ll start with a guitar line or a set of chords and just wail gibberish taken from combining personal memories and a chunk of completely unrelated literature that I love, record that on my voice memos and then pick out any lines that stick out to build a song around. For example, the pre-chorus to ‘Pearl’ which comes out on Friday the 14th is adapted from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and that melody has sat in my voice memos for like three years before I found a home for it in this song.”

What does the rest of 2023 look like for you?

“I’ve got this debut EP out on the 14th of April and then my first headline show in London at Spice of Life in Soho on the 19th of April. So I’m super excited for the next few weeks. Then I’ve got three singles or so which I think are almost ready, so I’m hoping to get a few more of them out by the end of the year and to get consistent with gigging!”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“I really liked ‘Knock You Down’ – Snowflake Generation. The voice and riffs felt really transportive and nostalgic. Something distinctly contemporary but reminding me of how I felt listening to the best Snow Patrol, or Paolo Nutini in my Dad’s car in like 2006! lovely!”

What song would you like to add as a bonus?

“My bonus track is San Vito Ryder’s ‘Tree Lily’. Unreal musicianship and distinctly unique aesthetic railing against religion with refined swagger. He’s also opening for me at my gig at Spice of Life in Soho on the 19th of April!”

Written by: leancool20

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