Brett Dennen was backing up a vehicle when the singer/songwriter hopped on the phone with me. "Can somebody spot me? Just yell stop!"
It was a family beach day for Dennen and a few of his relatives, and it had become apparent to him that everyone was still in "vacation mode." As he sat on a deck and looked out into the Pacific Ocean, Dennen talked about his future releases, his roots to the wilderness and what it's been like becoming a father.
- Parkerjh, Wikimedia Commons
- Fun Fact: Dennen says he would love to get into the craft beer scene and open a brewery in the middle of nowhere. Possibly in a desert.
Source Weekly: Congrats on entering fatherhood recently. What's that been like for you?
Brett Dennen: It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but it makes everything better. My cousin and I and some people went surfing today, and he had his kids, and my kid was on the beach and my cousin's kids were out on the water. We were paddlin' around, and everything is just way more special now.
SW: How do you think being a dad will or already has influenced your music?
BD: Definitely the most profound is the indirect. Like I said before, everything is more meaningful now. I used to just make music for myself, but now I'm doing not for only my own art, but as a means to provide for a family. There's definitely a deeper layer to everything.
SW: A lot of your music represents a deep connection to the outside world and nature. Has this always been something you've been really passionate about?
BD: Oh, yeah. Always. I just grew up in a family like that. Outdoor recreation and outdoor stewardship has always been an important part of our family.
SW: You've even held environmental cleanups and other activities on past tours. Especially now, how important do you think it is to be aware of our impact on the Earth?
BD: Well, we're in a time where the environmental issues that have been plaguing us for generations are accelerating. I mean, it's now or never. It's a time where I think everybody who lives on this planet needs to be mindful of our impact on the globe. I think the best way to do that is to actually get outside. Spend some time in nature and fall in love with nature. Keep it wild. If our planet is healthy, we are healthy.
SW: I know you spent some time as a backpacking guide earlier in your life. Do you have any crazy stories from that experience?
BD: Yeah– Well, one time I had a group of teenagers and we were on an 80-mile hike that spanned over six days. We were about 30 miles in and one of our kids, he ran away. He found a trail to hike out of and he hitchhiked the road and got dropped off at a campground. He stole a bicycle from the campground, rode the bike down the mountain and then once he was in civilization he hitchhiked home. It was really scary.
SW: I remember you released– it's probably been a few years now—but you put out these funny wilderness tip videos on YouTube. Do you have any other real-life tips or hacks for camping or hiking?
BD: My number-one tip would just be to go minimal. The less you take with you the more you find uses for what you have, the more important what you have becomes and it's just a better experience all around. It opens you up to having a bigger connection with nature.
SW: You just put out two EPS in 2018. Are you currently working on anything or thinking of putting out an album?
BD: I am, I am! I don't know what I'm gonna' do. I have a ton of music that I'm writing. We were talking about doing an EP ahead of a full-length next year, but we just don't know. I got a bunch of songs and I gotta' record 'em and figure out in what capacity we'll release them. But yeah, I got new music coming down the road.
SW: How often do you find yourself writing? Every day?
BD: I try to, yeah. I try to write every day or when I have time. You're just always writing, collecting notes or information in your mind, on a piece of paper or in your phone. Whenever my mind is free to wander it always goes to something musical. Or when the baby goes asleep, or I'm alone I pick up the guitar and just try to work the ideas out.
Munch & Music: Brett Dennen
Thursday, July 18, 5:30-9pm
777 NW Riverside Blvd., Bend