Peachy Magazine had the opportunity to speak to Brookfield, the multitalented English artist who, after working with great names in the music industry (and not only), has decided to tell his own stories with his new double-single Fallout/Swim Deep, which fits perfectly with the moment we’re living in. Read the full interview to find out more about his ideas and how our experiences, inspirations, weaknesses, and dreams play a role in shaping our paths.
Your career includes a strong portfolio, a great talent, and experience with several instruments and many trips around Europe and America: you are now a complete artist, with a broad perspective on the music scene, from a cultural and technical point of view. How do you think your experience has influenced your current work?
That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me! Thank you!
I think for me, gaining experiences like that help me draw the fine line between being jaded or cynical and the right side of being self-critical and open-minded… when you go to different places and are thrown into situations really far out of your comfort zone, you learn to adapt and do what you can about the things you can change, and be open to getting used to things you might not be so comfortable with, even on a minute technical scale, like having a different piece of hardware in a new studio? I think that’s been the best thing for me in working on my own stuff – just get on with it, and it’ll turn out fine, and if it doesn’t, let it be a nugget of time you enjoyed.
That’s ignoring all the enrichment I get culturally, visually, musically, culinarily, travelling, and working with new people in new places. It’s crazy what you find as the new normal. I love it. Also, ignoring the more assholes you meet, the better you learn to deal with them. There’s quite a few of them in the entertainment industry.
Listen to Fallout // Swim Deep while reading the interview:
What motivated you to come back to compose and show your own work, after shaping a very rich portfolio in the background of relevant artists and brands in the market?
I have absolutely LOVED working with artists as a writer and producer and will love it for the rest of my life. Almost nothing beats it. To help visualise someone’s story is a privilege. I also love working to a brief and having a clear goal – otherwise, my creative mind travels a bit too far… haha! I guess for me, releasing new BROOKFIELD music gives me the license to let my creative mind travel relatively unhinged. I definitely have my own idea of what my music should sound like, but I think that’s a good thing. It helps to keep me flowing even if I go off on one in my head..!
I think I was also craving the opportunity to tell my own stories, as I’ve had an interesting few years since I last released – it’s been cathartic for me.
What would you say to someone who also works in the musical background, but dreams of having his own productions and compositions?
I think for me, it’s about playing to your strengths and either admitting your weaknesses and asking for help or taking the time to develop those skills. I am by no means a very good mixer, but I work with instruments and sounds I know and love and know how to get sounding the way I want them to – that doesn’t mean anyone else will like them… but I know I do, and I hope the music finds its way to people who like it too. If you’re not very good at mixing, invest in it – it’ll be worth it for your peace of mind. If you can’t drum, find a drummer – invest, even if it’s not much. Everything is negotiable. Can you take photos? Can you arrange a skill swap? As much as I like to do as much as I can alone, collaboration is wonderful even on a minute scale. Acorns grow into big fat oak trees.
Also – I obviously take influence from artists I love – we all do – but finding your own version of events is really helpful to not fall into the trap of chasing someone else’s sound. You’ll be better at your own – so take the time to go and find that, be it through writing, experimenting on DAWs, working with writers and producers… even just talking to friends. It always sounds better than you think.
Your latest double-single Fallout/Swim deep reflects your own struggle with depression – a common scenario to so many people nowadays. What message do you want to convey to those who listen to them?
It’s scarily common, isn’t it? I’m so glad the conversation is more open now and have seen big changes in attitudes, especially in men. It’s been really refreshing.
For me, it really just started as documenting my experiences with depression and self-harm – I don’t think there was any mantra behind it, no message – but I think I’d be daft to ignore that there’s some moral to it. I think fallout says that a lot of people don’t understand what you’re going through and might seem complacent and just watch you spiral, and that can be really difficult- I definitely think there’s a parallel between how much our generation craves validation through social circles and online, and how much we want to be listened to when we suffer. I didn’t get the help I hoped from my nearest and dearest, and that was hard.
Swim Deep started as just a conversation between two friends and myself whilst I was making the track, and it turned in to whatever it is now… it’s holding your breath, staying afloat… knock yourself out of that funk, Even if the voices are loud (at the end I’m just shouting ‘you’ll never be good enough’ which I tell myself a lot), but it’s weirdly uplifting – at least, so I’ve been told. The music tells the story a lot in these tracks. Sit in the dark and listen – let it be a little cloud to float on or something.
Who are your top 5 inspirations in the music scene? Why?
Bon Iver has always inspired me. The way he blends the artificial with the organic is soooo fucking good man. I saw him in London a couple of years back and cried like a little baby.
I love how the 1975 comment on society through their own experiences and blend genres with some tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Kevin Parker of Tame Impala has been a huge inspiration to me.. his attitudes to production and again, his blend of artificial and organic, are amazing. I love that he lets his compositions run as long as they need too. I fucking hate the 3:30 radio rule!! Recently I’ve fallen in love with Jeremy Zucker’s album – it’s so immersive. I love Eddie Vedder’s work in film (Into The Wild) and the way he’s started different projects based on where he’s at that moment in time. Ask me next week, and this list would probably be completely different!
How do you see yourself in the future? (Get your feet off the ground to answer this one!)
Married with a kid? I dunno? That’s the first thing that came to my head? I really believe in a life partner, where you don’t have to share EVERY experience together, but unconditional support with your endeavours BUT will also tell you you’re being an idiot… contradictory, I know.
I could die easy if I was given the opportunity to score a movie I loved, and release but as an album, that’s like the DREAM. I’m so bad at visual stuff; it’d be a pleasure to accentuate someone’s talent in that field. I’d love to have my own house with a studio in that I can create whenever I want. Honestly, I just wanna make a living making music and to see some more of the world. Next up for me is Vietnam and Mexico. Fancy a trip?