We're thrilled to announce the release of So It Goes contributing editor Brianna Lance's new album Sensitive Men. Taking the form of an art project, Brianna has collaborated with musicians Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow), Jo Rogers, Ben Goldwasser among others, as well as actresses Dree Louise Hemingway and Rebecca Dayan. Here Brianna talks about the experiences that inspired this album and the process of making it.
When I first started this album the whole idea was to leave my comfort zone. I had been surrounded by women in an all-female band, working for an all-female company, and essentially having men a part of my creative process more as guest stars rather than main characters. This female-dominated work happened so organically I had never really thought about it until it was time to start something new.
The extremist in me went for it and decided to make a record in a completely new way than I had before, and the main ingredient being having not one, but many male collaborators. It was a personal anthropological experiment. How would my creation change if I changed the process of creating?
THE NITTY GRITTY
A quick look into the process, I wrote eight songs and then asked eight different men to work on them. The first collaborator in place was my musical hero Dave Fridmann, known for producing and mixing the likes of Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Cut Copy, etc. Everything he touches has a distinct Dave quality. He was the main ingredient in that it was up to me and him to make it one consistent thing. Next up were the individual guys to work on the songs, Tom Furse (The Horrors), Josh Epstein (Jr Jr), Ben Goldwasser (MGMT), Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow), Freddie Cowan (The Vaccines), Joe Rogers (Bombz), and Laszlo Horvath (Bombz). All of these men were people who I admired and wanted to work with because of the music they made. The process that followed was, I made a song on my laptop, sent it to the collaborator, they got to then proceed however they wanted, remix the track, ask to meet up and work together, basically it was theirs now to do with what they will. Then that was sent back to me and my control again, I added vocals and any changes I wanted to make, before finally that was sent to Dave Fridmann and he was given creative freedom to go wild. The last step was talking then with Dave and my collaborator, making sure we were all happy and there you have it! A psychedelic dance record was born.
LOVE THEM AND LEAVE THEM
The result of this was, to my surprise, exactly what I wanted. The biggest lesson from this was: work with people you respect and trust and get something amazing in return. Another great lesson was love them and leave them. The nature of this being a one time thing was like a quicky musically with each person so it stayed special without accumulating any drama.
After the whole sonic part of the album was done. The feminine energy was calling. I wanted to make a video component for the album and it was back to the babes. I asked seven woman and one gender-fluid dreamboat to each make a video of themselves dancing alone to a track. This line up was Niki Takesh, Rebecca Dayan, Nicola Collie, Anna Gray, Brie Welch, Naomi Shimada, Dree Hemingway and Richie Shazam. My partner in crime for this was my music manager Bec Adams (of female collective Les Filles) who had a tough job in figuring out how to actually do this. I had already learned to trust and let go from making the record and what these babes delivered back was incredible. Trust your gals and they will deliver.
MARS VS VENUS
So, the results of the study. What is the difference between men and women when it comes to creating? All in all it came much more down to the individual than the masculine vs feminine generalisation I was making. The men were much more sensitive and delicate with me than I had anticipated (hence the name of the album). The biggest unifier was everyone just wanted to make their best, but still there was some data to be gained from my study. Men communicate less, women empathise more. The reason I say this is because both are things we can learn from one another. The men I worked with said less and got the same point across, which honestly was really refreshing. It made work easier to know you would not have to do too much back and forth when decisions were made. One point to men. The women had a bigger desire to really understand what I wanted. They wanted to work together and really collaborate in the process. This makes you feel a deeper sense of trust and comfort with the person you are working with. One point to the ladies.
TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
So… seventeen people deep (not to mention a handful of others who helped realise this whole thing) and the project is done. Eight songs, eight videos, one album, and a lot of learning to work with different personalities and people. If you go into a project looking to learn from the people you are working with, you are going to get a lot more out of it than you expected. You also become acutely aware of your effect on others when this many people are in play. My main lesson was, remain calm, listen, and never make assumptions.