[INTERVIEW] Brendan de Cruz talks about 'Evermore' and why he's not Billie Eilish
A folk craftsman of sad, introspective melodies, Brendan De Cruz shares the story behind his latest single and his recently released EP
Throughout his career, Brendan de Cruz has always upped the ante from song to song. His songwriting has always honed the raw viscerality of sadness and heartbreak, whether it's just him and his guitar, or with elaborate productions consisting of strings and vocal harmonies. Although he developed a level of prominence in the singer-songwriter scene in Malaysia since Even So in 2016, de Cruz's EP Black is when he reached his artistic zenith with beautifully sorrowful songs like For Your Eyes.
With his latest single Evermore, the artist goes back to basic with no expense towards emotionality. "Evermore was written sometime last year, and it revolves around a personal friendship experience, the beauty of it, the ups, the shortcomings, and reconciliation. I had personally gone through numerous psychological and emotional moments in the last decade with this relationship, and had finally put it to words and song", said de Cruz. The music video, directed by Bryan Ong, provides context for the song; a "what if" exploration of the romantic possibilities that exist between close friends: "The video was mainly focusing on the amazing friendship/relationship between two people and how two individuals, who are so closely involved with each other and their respective lives, have moments of wonderment about the possibility of romance between each other, and how, if you do not take risks in life, you would not know what amazing experiences lie before you. In this case, the possibility of a more fulfilling “love”. " In the video, Clarisse is my best friend of sorts, and Clifford is her husband-to-be, and the both of us have these like “what if” moments through our friendship about being romantic with each other. And I have missed my chance. And just some extra info, us walking in at the beginning and opening my guitar case, is actually me returning from their wedding, which I had performed at".
Evermore is a part of Brendan de Cruz's latest EP release that has a peculiar name, I Am Not Billie Eilish, which was mastered by Pete Maher, who was involved in his previous EP Black. Maher has also worked with the likes of U2, The Killers, Damien Rice, Nine Inch Nails and have scored for Peaky Blinders and La La Land: "The name [I Am Not Billie Eilish] was my brother’s suggestion actually. I was explaining to him about how I had started recording the new record in my room. I had invested in some recordings equipment last year, and this was one of my first goals to achieve. To be able to record an entire EP in my room. The relation with Billie Eilish is that her multi-award-winning album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was produced by her and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, in his bedroom. I did not have a live-in engineer with me, but my amazing audio engineer friend/brother, Derek Rushe, agreed to come on board the project and sort the mix for the record". Brendan de Cruz also elaborated on the meaning of Evermore along with the two other tracks on the EP, Leave and All Over Me. "[Evermore] talks about the struggle of maintaining friendships over time whilst managing the responsibilities that arise from growing into adulthood. On this track de I contribute minimal synth work and feature Jaime Gunter of local indie outfit, Volatile, on bass guitar". "All Over Me, the second track on the record is where I fill in on some acoustic guitar lines, and Lor Phaik Sim of local fusion-rock band, Nadir, on keys. The song speaks of the unexpected experiences you face whilst having to challenge and evolve your already developed principles".
"The final track, Leave, is the only track on the record fully performed, produced and recorded by myself and displays a darker side to the record. I accompany my vocal work here with the acoustic guitar and some ambient synth keyboard work".
It's clear from the descriptions that Brendan de Cruz is finding more ways to add substance to his musicianship, his DIY effort during the COVID-19 pandemic not being the least interesting part of it:
"It is my most personal project yet".
I Am Not Billie Eilish is out now on all major streaming platforms: