No release of the past year has struck a more
powerful emotional chord with us than highandfragile’s debut outing, an EP
called I Was Not Well. The
four track digital version was put out by the artist, Oakland’s Breannyn
deLongis, in the closing days of 2016. She followed up with a very limited
cassette edition including a bonus track this past June. The EP features drums
by Adam Jennings and production and backing vocals from Kristina Esfandiari of
San Francisco’s King Woman.
Some might chatacterize I Was Not Well as dark or negative. There is plenty of angst here,
and not every moment of the EP is easy to listen to. For us, however, the sound
of Breannyn bravely making art out of a woundedness and vulnerability that we
connect with is glorious and, in its own way, uplifting. There have been days
when we’ve listened to I Was Not Well over and over, finding each passage
through this set of songs thrilling and somehow different from the others.
Rare is music so whole and powerful that it
doesn’t so much stimulate this or that feeling as it magnifies the underlying
capacity to feel altogether. Hearing music of this kind, we feel anything and
everything; we get the sense we are experiencing the full spectrum of emotion,
joy and sadness and anger and more, all at once. While feeling so fully can be
overwhelming, it is also healing and relieving.
For us, highandfragile is this rare kind of music.
We therefore feel especially privileged to present the following depthful
interview, one of the most emotionally candid ones we’ve ever presented. Our
gratitude goes out to Breannyn for the care and dedication that putting this
piece together has required. We eagerly anticipate the upcoming releases that
Breannyn describes at the close of the interview.
|Photo by Mary Manning|
our perspective it’s as if you’ve suddenly materialized with a powerful,
singular sound and artistic voice already developed—but we realize that’s
probably not very accurate. Could you fill us in a bit on your musical past and
I have been fighting being a "musician"
for so long. My dad did sound for a touring grunge band when I was a baby so I
wound up growing up around a bunch of band dudes with ripped jeans, long hair
and drinking problems. I grew up watching them all lose their families, minds
and whatever semblance of a life they had. By the time I could make "life
decisions" I knew I loved music and words but I also knew that I desired
the stability that I hadn’t witnessed as a child and concluded that being a
musician did not coincide with my stable real world aspirations.
I was endlessly frustrated because I couldn’t
focus long enough to sit and type or write out a story. I could
tell you a great story, but I didn’t have the patience to write it down for
you. Adding a rhythmic and droning aspect like guitar helped coax the words out
of me in a more natural and soothing way. At some point
I couldn’t deny how important making music and art had become in my everyday
life. I had to get over my fear of the future not working out because without
being able to make music there was no possibility for a healthy future for me.
Music and art slowly took over every part of my life and without them it’s hard
to function. It’s a very hard process to explain but it has been lifelong.