Live Virtual Session: SYML

From his home studio, SYML joins Jade of The Current for a Live Virtual Session. (MPR)

The songwriting of SYML, aka Brian Fennell, is soaked in the loneliness--and retribution--of the shadows. The absence of light that dusk brings is not necessarily meant to be feared, though it does force the frontman of Barcelona, his main project, to reckon with the uncertainties and doubts that disrupt his ego.

"I write so often about darkness in so many ways," Fennell told The Current during his virtual concert session. "But also spinning that into a positive because we have to go through the darkness, or at least have darkness in our life, to have that perspective on the good things."

Fennell brings that point of view with his opening song and latest single, "The Dark." A somber, choral affair that is just as hopeful as it haunting, the 37-year-old invokes spiritual themes to express his confusion: "In the dark I learned to love again, a sacred place it's always been, where souls depart and life begins, the dark led me to light again."

It is the expressive, cinematic upswells of Fennell's stripped-down folk that has made him perfect for scoring visual media. The Washington-native has had songs featured in blockbuster TV shows like Teen Wolf, the romantic drama Adrift, and the short film TIM.

"A lot of folks I work with commercially are like, 'maybe do a happy one? Maybe do something that won't make people want to cry,'" Fennell said to Jade, who hosted the Live Virtual Session, during their post-performance interview.

But there appears to be an almost hermeneutic reverence to the natural phenomena of darkness. Fennell drew inspiration for the second song of his set, "Symmetry," from the viral picture taken by NASA's Event Horizon Telescope last year. It was a historic image; the first time a black hole and its shadow had ever been captured photographically.

"I don't consider myself much of a space nerd, but for some reason seeing that supernatural thing--which is actually very natural--that kind of stuff, about the world we live in, the universe...I don't know why but it definitely takes me to a dark place, often. It's not to say I don't find a lot of beauty in that too, and a lot of good things," Fennell explained.

It's a fitting description for the modern moment: we are currently being forced to engage with the most difficult parts of ourselves. But through that forlorn experience, we are gifted a cathartic rebirth.

Songs Performed

7:47- "The Dark"
11:36- "Symmetry"
20:47- "Where's My Love?"


Hosted by Jade
Engineered by Eric Romani
Produced by Jesse Wiza
Article by Caleb Brennan

External Link

SYML - Official Site

comments powered by Disqus