There’s a lot to like about David Brewis; he writes good music, plays great live shows, and is an inspiring figure in the way he deliberately pushes himself into new creative, and challenging, spaces.
Perhaps best known for the diversity of sound he has helped create as part of a number of musical collectives (School of Language and Field Music) the latest challenge sees David pushing himself in a new musical and song-writing direction as he takes on the pressure of working as a solo artist on his debut solo album. Oh, and he’s also starting a record label, releasing other musical acts, and working on a solo tour.
“Ha yes, it’s been a busy time for sure” confirms David a few days before Christmas “but going into this I felt the time was right to work on a solo project for the first time and to challenge the way I write”.
Purposefully up-ending his approach to song-writing, David started his album with a central challenge; “there’s a certain belief that in music that at the heart of a great song is a song that will still be great if it’s stripped down to an acoustic guitar or piano. In Field Music we often didn’t believe that was true, but with this album I really wanted to explore that idea and challenge myself to write in a different style, one that started off stripped down.”
The outcome of David’s work and exploration is “The Soft Struggles”, a truly remarkable album that strips down Brewis’s unique songwriting to its basics and lightly sprinkles the atmosphere with gentle strings and a jazzy undertone. Imagine the immediacy of Neil Diamonds ’12 songs’ and Kate Bushes’ 50 words for snow’ blended with the jazz-styled orchestral intricacy of Pet Sounds.
Set across ten songs, including recent single ‘The last day’, The Soft Struggles is a lovely, almost seasonal, collection of intimate stories about aging, relationships, and the importance of community. Layered with lush orchestral and brass sounds, Soft moves David out of his traditional palette and into a wider space of musical textures and landscapes – ‘The last Day’ itself accompanied with lovely brass coatings which echo Field Music’s recent work with Durham Brass Band (“that was such an enjoyable piece of work which definitely fed into this record”).
Soft Struggles will be released under David’s new label Daylight Saving Records, which is intended to be a home for all of our non-Field Music extra-curricular projects and push the Brewis brothers into new creative spaces; “I felt that it was an important step for our music and the music we like, so we’re releasing Slug’s Thy Socialite! album in January which we couldn’t be happier about, and then we can start to release more music by me and Peter in various forms which gives us both new possibilities and opportunities”.
To support the release of Soft, a few live shows are planned for early 2023, including a date at the Customs House; “I can’t wait for those shows, there’s a lot of work to do before we play but it’s an exciting prospect and it would be a shame not to give those songs a chance to be played live with a full band.”
As for the rest of 2023, there are already plans in place for what comes next- but that’s for later – you can be assured there’ll be new things to like about David soon enough.