BMBSHL is the music project of Brenna MacQuarrie, an Edmonton-based electronic-soul artist combing subtle hints of R&B with layered synths to define her own sound. BMBSHL is scheduled to release her first album on April 24th, and play an album release party on the day of its release with Kris Harvey at The Common in Edmonton. Wanting to know more about the debut, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Brenna about writing from a place of frustration and resentment, what to hear from the record, and Purity Ring.
AMBY: Hello BMBSHL, welcome to AMBY. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
BMBSHL: Hey, my name’s BMBSHL… I’m an electronic artist from Edmonton, Alberta (CA). I play downtempo, hip-hop influenced, ambient electronic music.
AMBY: You soon release your debut album! What was one of the highlights you had while recording it?
BMBSHL: The biggest highlight for me while making this record was recognizing my ability to complete a song from the ground up, single-handedly. When I wrote the track “Pray Enough”, I had an out-of-body experience, and felt like I got to watch myself create art out of nothing, completely on my own. I surprised myself!
AMBY: Bringing in a mixture of synths, hip hop beats, and soul on the album, what were your inspirations or influences as far as songwriting goes?
BMBSHL: My greatest influences over the last two years have been James Blake, Purity Ring, Lana Del Rey and Kendrick Lamar. I’ve also generally spent a lot of time listening to old school hip hop and soul music (The Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, J Dilla) and was excited to explore the style with my own modern approach.
AMBY: What can fans expect to hear from the record?
BMBSHL: Electronic ambient synth patches, Native Instruments plugins (Kontakt, Maschine), a lot of side chain compression, 808s, outside-the-box changes, introspective lyrics, and thick, soulful, emotional vocals.
AMBY: Which songs off the album are your favourite?
BMBSHL: Strike, Safe Place Song, and Stories (it’s completely coincidental that these all start with the same letter…)
AMBY: Taken from the debut, what’s the story behind your electronic track Recover?
BMBSHL: Recover was written about being unable to catch my footing after being heartbroken. It was written from a place of frustration and resentment.
AMBY: Does hailing from Edmonton have an influence on your sound? If so, how?
BMBSHL: I don’t think so. The highest volume of music absorption for me happened while I was in college in Toronto (I went to Humber College). That was when I got further into hip hop and soul music. I feel that Edmonton has a very diverse independent music scene that is currently growing exponentially. I am proud to be a part of it but feel that it has no direct responsibility for my specific musical tastes.
AMBY: Which other artists from Edmonton should we keep our eyes on?
BMBSHL: Nuela Charles, Tennyson, Owls By Nature, Unwed Mothers
AMBY: If you could tour with any band, who would you choose and where would you play?
BMBSHL: I would tour the states with Purity Ring (also originally from Edmonton)
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about BMBSHL that nobody knows yet?
BMBSHL: I’m a pogonophiliac.
Thank you BMBSHL, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout