There's always been a very concise image when it comes to pop music. By this, I mean that people always associate "pop" with "happiness." This is not always the case. Sometimes, the best pop songs can have darker lyrics and themes. Subsequently, some of the darkest sounding songs can have the most uplifting, positive lyrics.
Singer/songwriter Liz Brennan is making sure that people understand this concept. And since her music has been coined with the term "demented pop", I think she's a good frontrunner for making sure that a new legion of fans knows this. I spoke with Brennan recently about her new music, the making of her track "Expected To Fly", and the various collaborations with musicians that took place on her EP!
I learned that you’ve kind of branded your own sound, with the title “demented pop”. Can you explain that a little bit more? I love the sound of that. I love bright imagery, but I also love dark imagery. I like the mix of light and dark.
Yeah! That’s kind of what it is. I’ll go either way with it. If it’s a dark theme, I’ll make the lyrics really light. If it’s a light theme, I’ll make the lyrics a little darker. It’s always just a play on the mood. So that’s kind of right on! (laughs) I used to write much more twisted lyrics, so that kind of worked with it.
Can you walk me a little bit through the process of the writing session for “Expected to Fly”? Essentially, what was the biggest thing you wanted to accomplish with that particular track?
The writing process for that one was harder than any of the other ones. I wrote the chorus in a very specific mood, and I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with any of the verses, so I actually wrote the verses a year and a half afterwards, because I had no idea what I wanted to say.
It was a very dark thing, but I wanted to make the song more about friendship and uplifting verses, so I think that was the hardest part to nail for that song.
You worked with Kevin Killen. What did he bring the table as a producer that helps you with crafting these songs, particularly with “Expected To Fly”?
He’s the most patient person on the planet. (laughs) He’s awesome. He’s very calm, so he put up with a lot of my crazy ideas for the time that we worked together. I think that was something that I really needed as a producer. He said I was the third craziest person he’d ever worked with. (laughs)
Still on the topic of the EP, you’ve collaborated with a lot of different musicians: Gerry Leonard (David Bowie, Suzanne Vega), Zev Katz (Hall & Oates), Mark Copley (Roseanne Cash), Everett Bradley, and Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen). They all have great backgrounds, particularly in rock music. How did the process of choosing these people come about for you?
I’m the biggest Bruce Springsteen fan, so I kind of demanded that there at least be at least a couple people that were in the E Street band on the record. (laughs), who were Everett Bradley and Charlie Giordano. I wanted to go for a 70s, classic-rock vibe. So we found musicians that fell into that style a little bit. He just had to have me trust him that they would work for the album.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I think just an element of bringing fun into music, and bringing a twist into the music is something that I’d want people to walk away with. I’d like them to have fun with some different types of songs and moods, and stuff like that.
What does music mean to you?
Even though this is cliché, it’s everything. It’s every stage of your life, and there’s always some sort of song that you can connect to. I think that’s why it’s important to write in different styles, so you don’t just limit yourself to write in one way; you can just kind of write exactly what you’re experiencing even if it’s wildly different from all of your other songs.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.