In our next Artist Spotlight, we chat to Pennan Brae about inspirations for music, film and more.
You’ve got both a film and a new album in the pipeline right now. Exciting times! Was it stressful working on both in tandem?
PB] It wasn’t that stressful as the music was recorded prior to filming. The tracks seemed to have a cinematic feel which might fit right in. The hard work occurred during filming of ‘The Astronot’. We first did 21 days straight & as it was an indie film, we didn’t have a big budget for extra help. Often we would act in a scene & then stop to lift the sand bags & lighting equipment to shoot from a different angle! We also didn’t have an extra producer on set observing everything, so we had to keep track of all details to ensure everything was consistent & on spot. After Day 21 we pretty much collapsed & took a 1-week break. We then got back together refreshed & completed the film over a 9-day period.
What was the core inspiration behind the film?
PB] Growing up, I was always fascinated by space & especially the space race of the 1960s. The photos & film NASA put out then was really fascinating & great fodder for a child’s imagination. A couple years back I was doing a photoshoot in Vancouver & was wearing an astronaut suit. I stood beneath a full moon holding a wooden ladder. Right then it hit me; what if there was a person who longed to be an astronaut but was inhibited in some way? The story then progressed from there.
Which film makers were you looking to as inspiration on The Astronot?
PB] There was only one filmmaker with whom I wanted to work & that was Oregon filmmaker Tim Cash of ‘Far From Earth Films’. I’ve always loved Tim’s work & know he’s a great storyteller & director. I believed he could do something special with this story & feel he did.
Musically, how does The Astronot differ from your previous releases?
PB] This album features many new instruments I’d never recorded before such as cello, violin, banjo, mandolin & pedal steel guitar. The recording process was better & experience helps that. I’d begun recording at Blue Light Studio in Vancouver & this was a great experience for me. The soundtrack also features drummer Steve Ferrone & bassist Garry Gary Beers on 2 lead tracks (Walk With Me & Crashland) so the opportunity to work with such accomplished musicians was mind-blowing. Producer Kirk Kelsey also gave the tracks a real cinematic feel in his mixes.
We understand you’ve so far scored two wins; best actor and best score, congrats! What’s the response been to the film so far?
PB] Thanks! It’s still early on for the film & we’re waiting to hear back from a number of festivals. We haven’t released the film yet & are working to see if we can coordinate a premiere at a film festival.
Are you already planning your next film?
PB] I am. I have a story I’m working on which I’d like to film in the UK. That would be a dream to do, if possible.