Toronto’s Brocoy Captivates with new album ‘Brightest Light’ and lead single ‘Needles’

"The whole concept of Brightest Light is the idea that when you’re in the dark, that’s when a light can feel the brightest"
15 May 2024

FM Premiere

Emerging from the vibrant music scene of Toronto, independent artist Brocoy captivates audiences with his latest release, Brightest Light. Known for his multifaceted approach to music, Brocoy meticulously crafted each track within the confines of his home studio, embedding deep personal insight and creativity into every note and lyric.

The album’s lead single, Needles, serves as a poignant introduction to the diverse and emotive soundscape that characterizes the entire LP.

In an exclusive interview, Brocoy shared insights into the creation of Brightest Light. He explains, “The process involved laying down fundamental tracks—piano, vocals, and drums—and then giving myself the space to experiment with synths, strings, and various production tricks.” This approach enabled him to create textured, unconventional soundscapes that reflect a broad spectrum of musical influences, giving each song a distinct energy.

Brocoy’s music navigates through introspective ballads and upbeat pop-infused anthems, conveying themes of self-acceptance and resilience while tackling mental health issues with candor and compassion. The album’s production reached new heights with the help of JUNO Award-winning engineers Beau Cassidy and Kristian Montano, who meticulously fine-tuned each track to perfection, maintaining Brocoy’s unique artistic vision.

As a fully independent artist whose creative journey spans beyond music to include visual artistry and storytelling, Brocoy invites listeners to join him on a transformative voyage through human emotion and artistic expression. ​ Brocoy’s work on Brightest Light stands as a testament to his ability to blend personal experiences with innovative sounds, making it a landmark in his ongoing artistic voyage. 

Struggles with mental health and illnesses have long been a topic of conversation throughout my discography. You can hear me wrestling with it quite intensely in my earlier material

How did the process of creating Brightest Light in your home studio influence the sound and feel of the album compared to working in a professional studio?

What I loved about working on the album in my own space was the time it allowed me to really nitpick specific sounds, tones, and textures. Getting those right was super important to me, and you don’t always want to be spending too much time on stuff like that when you’re on the clock. Having the time and space to pay close attention to how the sounds interacted with each other really gave the album a unique and homemade sound.

In Needles, you introduce listeners to a diverse mix of genres. Can you discuss how you blended these different musical styles to create a cohesive sound?

Needles is definitely the emotional centerpiece of the album. It’s as close to a straight-up pop ballad as the album gets, and while contemporary pop was a huge influence on this record, I wanted to make sure I approached things in a non-traditional way. My earlier material was much more emo and punk-focused, and I’ve always liked experimenting with different rhythms and drum patterns. Putting Needles together required surrounding the delicate, melodic piano sound that drives the song with a more energetic, syncopated drum beat. I also layered a very deep, guttural synth in there to give it a darker atmosphere. The end result is a song that captures both my past and present: an affinity for emotionally devastating songs, but with unconventional framing.

You mentioned using a variety of production techniques and instruments to craft the album’s unique soundscapes. Could you share some specific examples of how you experimented with these elements in one of the tracks?

Closer is definitely the most experimental track on the album. A curator that heard an early version of it called it “avant-garde”, which surprised me but I chose to take it as a compliment. There’s a lot of experimentation with vocal processing throughout the album, but Closer in particular uses a lot of pitch shifting, octave doubling, and looping/reversing to create a “glitchy” sound. Artists like Frank Ocean, James Blake, and Dijon were huge influences on this track in particular.

The base of the song is this stacked, multi-layered synth that’s big, warm, and spacey, but also very delicate. I spent a lot of time getting that right and I think the end result just sounds fantastic. To me, it almost feels like a space-age fantasy love song.

With themes of mental health woven throughout Brightest Light, how do you hope your music will impact listeners who may be dealing with similar issues?

Struggles with mental health and illnesses have long been a topic of conversation throughout my discography. You can hear me wrestling with it quite intensely in my earlier material. At some point a couple of years ago I felt like I turned a corner on it. I think I started to realize that if you’re someone that struggles with a lifelong illness like depression, anxiety, BPD, or anything similar, then making the best out of life isn’t about fixing yourself or finding a cure. For a lot of people, some issues never go away. You have to learn to live with it and manage it every day, or else it’s going to control your life. That requires a complete shift in perspective that takes time to rewire in your brain. You have to change how you look at this thing that permeates your life.

The whole concept of Brightest Light is the idea that when you’re in the dark, that’s when a light can feel the brightest. We’re all searching for a light in the dark sometimes, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that you actually don’t find that light – you make it. Once you learn to accept and even embrace how your mind works, you can start to make small efforts towards shifting how you look at things. You can find beauty and happiness in everything and have gratitude for so many things around you. And I always try to keep in mind that old saying that there is no light without darkness. We wouldn’t feel the highs of life without the lows, just like how the light wouldn’t seem as bright without the dark.

Having collaborated with JUNO Award-winning engineers on this project, what was the most valuable insight you gained from working with Beau Cassidy and Kristian Montano that you’ll carry into future projects?

Beau and Kristian were both great in taking these songs to the next level. Beau in particular added some new things to some of the mixes that I loved and it really re-energized me when I was starting to get tunnel vision with the album. I got pretty exhausted working on the record after having spent almost two years working on it, so my biggest takeaway would probably be to collaborate more with other people. I’m so used to doing everything myself, but the best records I’ve put out were the ones that had multiple brains working on it. Letting other people work on my music took so much off my plate and gave the album another dimension that I wouldn’t be able to create on my own. Music is such a collaborative art, and it’s a privilege to have talented people work on your pride and joy.