On the Couch with J R Brennan

J R Brennan Arts Review On the CouchWho is J R Brennan?
Grindcore vocalist, former parole officer and artist: performer / director / composer.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Microtonal singing in Iran. I have some great friends making theatre in Iran. I met them during my time working for Polish theatre company Gardzienice, where a lot of impromptu songs and celebrations take place. These Iranian friends taught me some very beautiful and very sexy songs about love and war and hunting. Since then I have been pining to go there and bend my voice over these beautiful songs.

Who inspires you and why?
Anti-heroes and their supporters. People who are struggling, and the people who can see this and choose to lend a hand. I have been rooting for the underdog as long as I can remember, and somehow these people have become my heroes. To me they can often appear like angelic scrap heap warriors, scrapping their way to existential success. It is the relationship between them perhaps that is heroic. Witnessing this kindness, especially in the face of adversity, gives me real strength and hope.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I have plans to build a very large sound system hidden in a nondescript truck, which I would park outside prisons and play beautiful music at high volume in the dead of night. For now making art with former prisoners and doing my best at poetic justice.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Sardinia, Italy. Because I was with my darling, the traffic got stopped by goat herders, I drove a speedboat with my shirt blowing in the wind and sang with old fellas at a beach bar karaoke.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Taking a bottle to some dingy magic corner, where no one goes. Because it has great views, there is magic there and we won’t get interrupted.

What are you currently reading?
Rilke poems.

What are you currently listening to?
Death metal, choirs, ambience and pianos – Hirs. Georgy Sviridov. Celer. Liszt.

Happiness is?
Finding myself at the tail end of a long session at a well hidden bush party and getting a 5th wind.

What does the future hold for you?

J R Brennan is a director, performer, composer and producer. In recent years his practice has interrogated ideas of crime & virtue. His work is research led & often performed in site-specific locations. He is currently producing The Chat – a performance created and performed by artists and ex-offenders at Arts House: 27 – 31 July 2016. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: J R Brennan