MEET: Daniel Brashaw
Meet Dan, A.K.A Billy Pilgrim. He used to be a 20 year old Economics Student and now he's a 21 year old Music Production student. I guess you could say he's got a diverse range of skill sets. If he's not helping out at BBC Introducing, or reviewing gigs and club nights, chances are you'll find him fishing. We did warn you that he's got some eclectic interests. He's a charming guy (it's a musician thing we think?) and an even more talented musician. We think this year is going to be a big one for him, but until then, find out more by checking out what he had to say when he talked to us.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Dan, I’m 20, I used to study Economics at Bristol Uni and now I'm a postgrad doing Music Production. I’m really into music. I write a lot of my own stuff, I write for various music magazines and I used to host a radio show as well. I suppose that's why I also like going out to clubs like Lakota and Motion. Coming to Bristol gave me a taste for Dance and Electronic music which I really hadn't really been exposed to growing up in the middle of nowhere.
So, what is your music like?
Well, I used to be in an indie band back in school so we just wrote Arctic Monkeys style guitar music. Since coming to Uni, I started writing music on my own so it became more Electronic. I've got a lot of ideas that I just need the space and time to work on. So, for example, I want to do a thing based on various locations in Bristol. I could record ambient sound from Whiteladies Road or wherever, and then write some music based on that sound. I also want to start a Sunday club-night in the day - it's the dream, you can go out and then get to bed by 11.
How did you start getting into music?
My dad would play The Monkees and The Eagles and Led Zeppelin CDs in the car all the time and me and my brother knew all of the words. Then when I was, I guess year 6, or 10, I asked whether I could play either keyboard or guitar. I don’t know why. I had a really good guitar teacher too, he didn’t make me do grades. He was all about performance and confidence. After a week of lessons he made me do a performance. It must have been the worst thing ever but he helped me develop a passion for music more than specifically guitar.
And now, does your work convey a specific emotion or message?
I’d say, I do it just for my own sake. I hate the idea of, in 20 years, looking back and thinking 'oh I haven’t really done anything uniquely mine'. It's just the idea of not having contributed to anything, even if no one actually listens to it. I like to evidence to myself that I’ve done more than just got a job, worked, etc…
Do you have any funny stories from gigging?
I actually do. It was the first gig we ever played in this place called Stamford. Our guitarist was getting the train over but for some reason he played a drinking game where he had to drink 4 cans on the coach. The game was literally that his friends gave him 4 cans and told him to drink 4 cans. We were trying to tell him not to but he was just like ‘no, they’ll know, I need to drink these 4 cans’. So he turned up, drunk, and he didn’t even really know the songs that well cause he hadn’t had the chance to practise that much. Went alright I think.
What was your favourite thing about being in a band?
I won a talent competition once. Peterborough’s Got Talent. That was good. *Laughs* We played Don't Look Back Into the Sun. I think my favourite part of being in band was when we started writing our own stuff cause then you’re actually making something that no one else is doing, even if it’s not very good. I think that’s what creativity is about. Doing it for the love of doing it.
We agree, tell us more. What does it mean to you to be creative?
I think a lot of people's interests just revolve around just consuming stuff quite passively. That was a gross way of putting it, but, yeah, you can enjoy music but maybe you just listen to it or you just watch films or, I dunno, I just feel like it's about taking that next step and creating things. It can be the smallest things, just like doodling.
And what do you do that helps you stay creative?
Listening to music and watching films, cause I’m then just constantly getting inspired by other people. You hear something or you see something and you think 'I wanna do something like that'. You’ll pick up elements of an artist or a genre and you may not love the music but you’ll hear something you haven’t heard before and you can take that into your own style. It's just developing your stuff using other people’s ideas.
What is something you know you do differently to most people?
I like finding out about the musician and the scene that surrounded it when it came out, so the context is really important to me. I research what I'm interested in.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
I would say, from a musical standpoint, people like Massive Attack and Mike Skinner who wrote albums basically in their bedrooms, which later became classics. They did everything themselves. It's kind of reassuring that people can actually do that.
When you’re feeling down what's your best way up?
Coffee? *Laughing*. No, probably being outside. If you’ve been inside all day and you’re feeling a bit crap, just getting outside and having a bit of scenery. Literally half an hour makes a big difference.
So would you say being outside is when you're at your happiest?
I feel like i’m on a therapist chair. I really like fishing, being on the riverbank. You’re just standing there waiting for stuff to happen. It’s the kind of situation where for some reason I don’t feel obliged to constantly check my phone or think about other things. It’s the equivalent of doing nothing whilst doing something.
What would you do if you knew you would not fail? Would it be music?
Yeah, I'd stop doing anything else apart from music cause I wouldn't need any backup plan. Music is something I really like to do and everything else is kind of a practical thing. So the a degree, getting a job, it’s all secondary in the ideal grand scheme of things.
And why did you choose Bristol?
I feel like you seamlessly become part of the city, it’s not scary, it’s very quickly your city. It's so patchwork too, so for example the Suspension Bridge is impressive but then I also love Cotham Hill. Plus there's loads of great food. There’s a sense of community to the Whiteladies Area that I also really like
Look out for more music and producing coming your way from Daniel Brashaw. We'll keep you updated but in the meantime, check out his Soundcloud HERE.