Local musician Brennan Henderson (aka James Deen) has landed a coveted gig at the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival in Calgary and all from the evenings he spends toiling at the computer in his basement.
Henderson is an electronic musician. Three years ago, he started developing music and publishing it himself on SoundCloud.
“I take a song and rip it apart and make a new one out of it,” he told the Capital News in December of 2012 when he first started attracting attention.
In very little time he had a collaborator in Los Angeles and hundreds of followers. Applying to a few festivals this year, after turning gigs at Habitat, opening for electronic maestro Sam Klass, and the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Arts, he found out two weeks ago he will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Neko Case and Joel Plaskett at the Sled Island festival in June.
The only challenge now, he said, is trying to figure out the lineup.
“It’s definitely taking me more time. I just keep working on it, really thinking it through.”
While there has been plenty of thought put into making his music, Henderson fully admits it’s taken very little energy to develop his career. Thus far, it would seem, the new connections and achievements pretty well arrive on his doorstep—or in this case, his Inbox.
From collaborating with Imprintafter in L.A. to landing on the French label Cosmonstro, based in Brooklille, France, he’s found serious play by simply putting his work out there in published form and letting the fans do his bidding.
Music is still a finely-tuned hobby for Henderson. Spending two or three hours a day on it, after working in a local board shop, he’s dedicated to his craft, but not ready to earn a living from the affair.
Even his Sled Island bio makes note of how literally homespun his sound remains.
“Indulgent computer beats seeping from Brennan Henderson’s very own bedroom,” it reads. “His strain of electronica is both sensual and saturating, as minimalist pulsations wed luxe beads of sound coalescing into savoury euphoria. You can transcend all this. In fact, you already have if you’ve been listening.”
All of this said, the young man who goes by the moniker James Deen, isn’t letting the attention go to his head.
If the music takes off and becomes a full-time vocation, all the better, he said. If not, he’ll still be in the basement making music for his own gratification.
Sled Island is a multi-venue festival running June 18-22 in Calgary with artists scheduled to perform at unique haunts and favourite music stops throughout the city. The schedule has yet to be released..