To describe Brett Gleason as a “singer-songwriter” may be a bit misleading. His music combines the piano-based approach of the singer-songwriter with dark electronics to create a sonic landscape that is at once high-brow yet accessible, cerebral yet emotional, and which challenges the listener to check their expectations at the door.Brett got involved with music early after a childhood accident left him with a severe speech impediment. A life of solitary contemplation filled with music lessons and literature earned him not only an arsenal of instruments at his command, but a truly original and developed perspective.
After finishing his studies in music, writing and philosophy at the New School University in Manhattan, Brett dedicated himself to the recording process and now at the age of 26, has not only completed his first solo effort – “The Dissonance” – but written, played and recorded everything on it. The result is a unique fusion of alternative rock and electronic music that pushes the boundaries of both genres, and bodes well for the future of this emerging artist.
1. What is your hometown?
Long Island, New York. Good research!
2. With what fictional character do you most identify?
I’m sure every artist says this and it sounds pretentious every time but Howard Roark from “The Fountainhead”. Art is a battle, music a weapon and the objective not just getting it heard but standing by the vision proudly.
3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.
– Ooh, I’d like to do that: Does it pay? Anyone can play me. I have a very generic look.
4. What work of art speaks to your soul?
I love fiction. Have to call a close tie: Edmund White’s “The Farewell Symphony” shows the beauty of every day life, exposing existence as art whereas David Wojnarowicz’s “Close to the Knives” expresses the anger that emanates from living in a world that does everything it can to clip the wings of every original creature. One is redemptive and one well…not. Both great works!
5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?
Just finished “Ape & Essence” by Aldous Huxley which is a sort of futuristic, apocalyptic book where man has created horrible birth defects through constant use of cellular technology only instead of using science to understand the problem, man has become increasingly religious and blames the devil, brutally and ceremonially sacrificing each deformed child to him. Love Mr. Huxley! I’d have to recommend his final novel, “Island” as my favorite however. A sort of Utopian, enlightened island is risking its isolation by flirting with the sale of its oil. These were written over half a century ago but are bizarrely relevant.
6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?
Never have a good answer to this question, much more a producer than a consumer but I will say I’m super psyched for Bjork’s new album. Have also been rocking out to a lot of Amanda Palmer lately. Saw her in Brooklyn last month and after she pulled me on stage to dance and play shaker, she became my new hero, an indie inspiration.
7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?
“The Hours” – I know it’s not current but I saw it a few months back and for a huge Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham fan I had a lot of pent up emotion waiting for release. Not easy for a movie to dramatize such an existential crisis, it wasn’t until the end that all the nothing hit me from nowhere.
8. Cat person or dog person?
Dogs all the way, love animals in general but cats show less back, at least to me. I do however love all the adorable cat memes but am yet to meet such sweet pussies. If cats could talk I’m sure they would have excellent grammar.
9. What is more important, truth or kindness?
All these either or questions! I’m a big believer in the duality of all existence but if I had to, I’d say kindness is most important in dealing with others. It’s not our job to go around blasting reality in the faces of those who may be happily ignorant. In dealing with myself I aim for truth but not at the expense of my wellbeing.
10. How do you define sin?
A silly word! It implies that there’s someone judging everything you do, that there is an objective value to each action. Sin is for simple minds that can’t take into account the complexities of specific situations and need to have things put in ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ lists for them. I believe in respect for others, doing no harm and staying under the radar.
11. How do you define virtue?
Standing up for yourself, being fully present for every situation to use your voice. Nothing pains me more than to see I’ve toned myself down, nodded my head in implicit agreement with fingers crossed behind my back.
12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?
I’ll pretend I’m not going to be cremated and don’t believe headstones are egotistical and say simply, ‘Worked hard, held high standards’ – I’d like to think there’d be some sort of personal moniker but right now I can’t think of anything personal about me that matters.