Excitingly talented and eclectic artist, Brandy Butler, presents ‘The Inventory of Goodbye’, her personal and memorable collection of songs (out February 2017) about love, romance and “feeling terribly alive”….And reveals what’s behind the smoothly enticing ‘Spell’.Do you still remember the circumstances under which you wrote ‘Spell’?
(Laughs) I’ll never forget them! I was in London visiting my ex-boyfriend. We had just started dating seriously, and he was very clear that he did not dig the polyamorous lifestyle and that if I wanted to be together with him, I would need to be monogamous. It felt like a challenge, because I’ve been doing the free-love thing for a long time, but I was willing because I was so in love with him.
So we had planned to meet in London, and I came a few days earlier to get to know the city a bit better on my own. One night I ended up in Floating Points late night, and I was dancing just hanging out with myself, and this beautiful woman approached me. She was dancing closer and closer trying to catch my attention. I got so rigid!! I was like ‘nooooooooo! I can’t!’ but at the same time she was so beautiful and radiating towards me. She beckoned me with her finger to come closer and for a moment I was stunned and obeyed. She whispered in my ear and asked me what my name was. I melted. She was French to boot. She started to rub herself against me, and I was literally like a board. I kept thinking ‘danger! Danger! Get out!!’
Eventually, she leaned in to kiss me and I literally, in the most embarrassingly awkward way, dodged her face.
I excused myself and said I had to go to the bathroom and basically ran out the club. I was flustered and I was sweating. It was hard work!
When I sat in the cab on the way back home that night, I begin hashing out the essence of that experience on paper: Reversing the role of the male as the “tempted one”..the forbidden fruit…the danger of the divine….the sexiness of danger.In the video it seems that you’re exploring gender fluidity beyond just your personal story…
It’s true. When I met Nicole Pfister, the director, for the first time, we spent a lot of time discussing how we perceived love and it’s role in human existence. We completely aligned on this idea that Love is something bigger than us, and is omnipresent and you just have to be aligned with the tools to plug into it.
I really wanted to have this story: Sexuality, how most people view it, in terms of the binary ideal is just one perspective. In my world, which Nicole the director completely helped me create, people exist beyond this ideal of man or woman. Fluidity leads to this transcendental path upon which we discover that when love happens, in whatever it’s form(s), something magical is created.
How does ‘Spell’ tie into the rest of your record? Because it is the first single from your debut full length, correct?
‘Spell’ is the first single of the album, but it is a piece of something much bigger. The album is a song cycle that tells a complete story, and Spell happens about 1/3 of the way in.
You’ve been working as a musician for over 20 years now – why did it take so long to arrive as a solo recording artist?
I like to think of this time, as the time that I have used to hone the crafts that have allowed me to do what I am doing right now. I made other albums, but this is the first album that feels really like a true expression of who I am in such a pure form. I think it also reflects the time I needed to realise my individual potential, what it is that I actually want to do musically, and the amount of time I needed to grow into being me.Do you think that the music world, or the tools that propel, make it hard for artists to actually mature and polish their craft?
There’s an immense amount of pressure on artists right now to be constantly releasing content. I definitely believe in taking your time and being dedicated to the craft and the vocation of art, rather than feeling pressured to mass produce for the sake of just having more.
This however does not in any mean that you shouldn’t output. I absolutely believe in being committed to the vocation, and when you are, you will constantly be producing anyways. I just don’t want to let other people dictate my timeline. This is a lifetime job for me. I am not stressed.
There’s a beautiful twang to the record, something very scorched, dusty and desert like, yet you’re based in Switzerland at the moment.
I am glad you hear it. The majority of the inspiration for the sound of the album came as soon as I hit the Mojave Desert last year on west coast roundtrip. The days were scorching hot and unforgiving, and the nights were cool, yet almost as brilliant as the days with all the stars. It inspired me so much. Actually, when i first conceptualised the album, I drew out a timeline of what one day felt like in the desert. I wrote the qualities that each part of the day had, and then I worked the story and the songs to fit along the arch.
Will we be able to see you live anytime soon?
I’ll be touring as soon as the album drops in February.
I could imagine that you it won’t just be you on stage with a laptop…
hahaha no. But maybe that’d be funny, you know? Wouldn’t you be surprised if you showed up to my concert, and my band, who call themselves “The Brokenhearted” , turned out to be 3 laptops…