23.9 C
Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Pop, tweets and sleeping under the desk

Latest News

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

Other News

TGA obstructs prescription psilocybin, MDMA

Imagine that some crazy professors convince a bunch of participants at a five-day mindfulness retreat to agree to take part in an experiment where half of them are given magic mushrooms, and half of them a placebo.

Constitutional referendum/poll for LG elections for Byron Shire?

Is the wards fight back again? Byron Shire Council staff have advised, in the upcoming agenda, that ‘Council may conduct a Constitutional referendum or poll in conjunction with the Local Government Election, to be held in September 2021’.

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Community bar – not

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I couldn’t believe what I was reading in The Echo: a plan to turn an ‘iconic’...

Man rescued from Upper Wilsons Creek causeway

At about 10pm last Friday a man from Mullumbimby was driving his his car along Upper Wilsons Creek Road and was swept into the creek.

Editorial – Ewingsdale development creep rejected by residents

A petition of 294 signatures against rezoning Ewingsdale farmland to commercial use will be presented to councillors for their upcoming Thursday meeting.

Brendan Maclean is the sparkling glittering and totally fabulous songwriter that Australia has been waiting for.

With a biting wit honed by sharp-edged tweets and flamboyant asides, Maclean is unashamedly pop. He spoke to The Echo from a mattress under the mixing desk in Paul Mac’s studio. Maclean is a free spirit, on stage and off, dedicated to the pursuit of making music.

‘Before I met Paul I had never worked with a producer before. I had done all my recording into a laptop strumming my uke into a $50 microphone. Paul and I met through Twitter. I tweeted some snarky thing on Twitter about loving Silverchair since they were Nirvana pyjamas to when they were Paul Mac and friends.

‘He got wind of it and tracked me down. I gave him a CD and he said I think I get what you are trying to do, and I think I can get that close to the sound in your head.’

Brendan-Maclean--from-FBFor Maclean, who worked at Triple J for six years, and who’d perfected his angst-ridden pout, stepping into the blazing spotlight of pop prince is overwhelming.

‘Pop is a scary thing to do in Australia. I didn’t think it would be so nerve-wracking. Cool is shoe gazing. Cool is angst. Paul Mac has showed me something different and I am learning that I want to make music that makes people happy – and that takes a different approach.

‘You have to be selfless on stage; there is something self-indulgent on stage about being morose. Looking at your feet. I thought that it was harder to do the sad songs but it’s not. When I am fist-pumping onstage and bringing the energy up… I like to think of it like this: sad songs are like couture, they don’t fit on many people and pop songs are like a sweater that everyone can wear.

‘And I love people wearing my sweater!

‘It has been difficult to find honesty in pop music. I come from the Lily Allen world of writing. I am very literal in my lyrics and have a lot of phrases that you would say that aren’t overly poetic. I like that people say that I wouldn’t say that. I am a big fan of Twitter.

It’s wordplay: you have 140 characters to make people laugh, or make a political point or say something meaningful. I won’t lie – tweets have ended up in my songs… like ‘if you weren’t so stupid I could have loved you’; that was a sub-tweet directed at someone…’

Brendan is fast being heralded as an ‘electric’ performer. Something he says has grown with his understanding of how responsive a musician needs to be to his or her audience.

‘Everything matters when you are up there, even what kind of day it is. David Byrne would definitely say if you ignore the context of where the music is being played or created then the music will be ignored. I won’t be doing the same show at midday that I will be at 8pm.

‘I am doing some solo shows in the middle of the day at Woodford where I get the chance to storytell and banter and ask questions – I am really looking forward to that.’

Growing up in the Sutherland shire, Maclean is the only performer in his family.

‘They are definitely worried!’ he laughs. ‘I only just got an address – it’s been a lot of couch surfing! I literally sleep under Paul’s studio desk when I record with him. I caught dad watching my video clip the other day – I walked in and he said I am checking how many views – he was a footballer player of 28 years and I was a ballet dancer!’

Brendan-Maclean-143dpiSo how did Maclean, who claims Billy Elliot was his favourite film as a kid, find his feet as a musician. It was an unlikely zigzag path to his passion.

‘I started doing karate and saw some sparkly things across the hall, so I joined ballet. Then they got me to do a scene in a holiday camp and I loved acting so I started acting. And then when I was acting we did some music and I sang for the first time in year ten. I hated the music of musicals! I can’t stand musicals so I had to start writing my own songs!

‘I love that nonlinear line of my career. It’s been hard to let my voice be louder in Australia – I think, being gay, and not knowing if I need to make political commentary on everything – people come to the show knowing what you think about things.

‘It used to be scary where I grew up. Singing in key isn’t exactly cool; people are into mumbling on stage. Megan Washington and I have this joke that people get onstage and they look surprised! ‘Oh! I am a wilting flower!’ That’s why I adore Kate (Miller Heidke) or Megan because they sing from their heart. It’s fashionable to be Angus and Julia Stone about everything. It’s funny with boys at the moment; this growly voice is popular. Matt Corby started it with his big broad voice; now I see boys try and do this growly I have been smoking and drinking my whole life! My heroes are Iota, and Paul Capsis, the people who take pop and cabaret to the edge. Cabaret is a dirty word in Australia – but isn’t Katy Perry just a million-dollar show that is really a cabaret?’

And as for Brendan.

‘I am just Beyonce on a Budget!’

Solo he does the ‘Rufus Wainwright thing’. In the band it’s the ‘Queen thing’.

But basically it’s the Brendan thing.

At Woodford Festival. For program information go to www.woodfordfolkfestival.com. 27 Dec–1 Jan.

 

Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.

 

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

‘The Great Reset’

Gary Opit, Wooyung I appreciated the letter by Lucas Wright (17 February) on the Great Reset conspiracy fantasy. With our privileged, western, simplistic understanding of...

Letting go

Mary McMorrow, Mullumbimby I respect the parents forgiving the drunk driver who killed their four children (one a cousin) as their way of dealing with...

Ministers misbehave

Keith Duncan, Pimlico Accusations of appalling behaviour by the Liberal Party in covering up misdeeds within its ranks just keep on keeping on. The last...

Transparency needed

Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore. I read with interest Mia Armitage’s front page article in last week’s Echo ‘Electorates miss out on bushfire...