Brett Newski takes less is more approach on ‘Life Upside Down’
Brett Newski is venturing into the more minimalist side of indie pop on his latest record, “Life Upside Down.”
Newski (born Brett Wisniewski) said his latest band, No Tomorrow, a duo project with drummer / keyboardist Matt Spatola, lives only on what it needs.
“I am a workaholic, which is a blessing and a curse,” Newski said. “During a work day, you hit a point of diminishing returns where your work turns unsatisfactory. With this album, I wanted to find the sweet spot and not overdo it. My aim was to try less hard while making ‘Life Upside Down’ and to think about it less and just let it rip. The production doesn’t have sparkles or shiny stuff, just healthy bones. When you think too much, you psych yourself out.”
The album was produced by Hutch Harris, former lead guitarist and vocalist of the acclaimed Portland, Ore., act The Thermals. The album was engineered by producer and engineer Beau Sorenson, who has worked with Bob Mould, Superchunk and Death Cab For Cutie.
“Our 1970s tape machine broke down mid-session and Sorenson tore the thing apart and rebuilt it within 25 minutes. He delivered under immense pressure. He is the master,” Newski said.
Newski has been writing and recording music for more than six years. When he was 25, he entered into the nomadic lifestyle of a full-time musician and has lived in Vietnam, South Africa and Germany. He has shared the stage with such acts as Violent Femmes, Pixies, The New Pornographers and Chuck Ragan.
His discography includes “In Between Exits” (2011), “Saigon At Night” (2012), “Tiny Victories” (2013), “American Folk Armageddon,” (2014), “Hi-fi D.I.Y.” (2015), “Land Air Sea Garage” (2016), “The Worst of Brett Newski” (2017) and “The Stars Are as Good as a Nightlight” EP (2018).
Newski said that while writing and recording “Life Upside Down,” he was listening to heaps of classic ’90s alternative acts like Nada Surf, Better than Ezra, Counting Crows, Beck, Cake and Letters to Cleo, along with the ’80s college rock sounds of Violent Femmes. He describes “Life Upside Down” as an underdog record.
“Once I stopped worrying about what other people think and accepted the fact that I’m not one of the ‘cool kids,’ life began falling into place,” he said. “Currently, ‘Sucker Punch!’ is my favorite tune on the album. It’s about finding a community that you have a heart connection with. We all need good people around us to be happy. We also need to distance ourselves from negative people.”
Newski is touring to promote “Life Upside Down.” He said that there are two modes when it comes to creativity — creation mode (writing, drawing, conceptualizing) and show-and-tell mode (getting the work into the world).
“We are in show-and-tell mode with ‘Life Upside Down.’ This is the easier and more fun mode where you get to display the creation you’ve struggled making for the past two years. It’s important we stay in this mode for a while, otherwise no one will hear this album.
“Creative works almost never blow up overnight; you have to show and tell to the world for a few years. It’s a long slow burn. We’ve got to be optimistic and forge ahead,” he said.