I recently shared a press release from String Factory as they released their latest EP titled These Are the Days. I am now delighted to share my interview with the man behind String Factory, singer-songwriter Dino Brewster!
Read on to learn more about the concept of String Factory, Dino’s musical influences and so much more.
Congratulations Dino, for the release of your latest EP These Are the Days. How has the response been so far?
It’s been amazing, more than I expected for sure. I thought it might be a hard sell because it’s sort of a throwback to 1970s glam and psychedelic rock music, but lots of people from all over the place are giving it some love. It was pretty amazing to get radio play in Baltimore. I’ve never even been to the USA! I’d rate ‘These Are the Days’ as the best song I’ve written, so I’m happy it’s doing well.
This is the second EP from String Factory, the first being Just Another Guy. What are the differences/similarities between the two records?
These Are the Days is the follow-up to the Just Another Guy EP from back in May, they’re both anchored around tracks from my debut album Going South. It’s all cut from the same cloth, very personal screeds about leading an unlucky life, though ‘Just Another Guy’ has me striking out with romance and ‘These Are the Days’ is talking about the human experience more generally. The other tracks on this EP are a lot more modern-sounding than the last one, which had two ’60s throwbacks for the B-sides. Here we have ‘It Doesn’t Matter What I Say’, which is grungy and sort of Incubus-like. ‘Don’t Worry I’m Sorry’ is also pretty heavily influenced by the world of ’90s alt-rock.
Please explain the concept behind String Factory and how this came about?
People wanted me to help out with their projects all the time, in just about any role, as a co-ordinator, performer, producer, what-have-you. But I’d been writing for a long time, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the songs once I’d made a bunch of demos. When I listened back to them, I started noticing common themes of disappointment, lost love, and feelings of disconnection. Travelling up and down the country, knowing my history, looking at how Britain’s in such poor shape today, I settled on a story which chronicles places that aren’t huge destinations for the lucky. Environments full of people who act standoffish and defensive, and the feeling of butting against a wall when you get out and try to do well. The name String Factory fit naturally with this kind of industrial theme. On the face of it, it’s the kind of factory we imagine towns being built around in days of old. But as an artist, I’m putting work out, that’s newly made with the strings of my guitar.
Do you think it is easier being recognised by a concept or as a singer-songwriter?
There’s plenty of decently successful singer-songwriters about, but I’d want to be recognised with a concept. Lots of people with that running thread through their work (say, Father John Misty or Frank Turner), have gotten a lot of appreciation with sort-of concept albums. Especially since the big uptick in record criticism at the start of the 2010s. People love a story, a meaning, a grasp of issues – those are the kinds of thing that build a fanbase who will stick around. I know for sure I’ve done better with my more deliberately thematic projects, than I ever did trying to just play good songs to people!
How did your musical journey begin?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing songs. I taught myself to be a multi-instrumentalist when I was quite young, and formed a band as a teen called The 3rd League, back in Southampton. We did really well for a while… It was when Arctic Monkeys were still releasing top ten singles, so we sounded quite a bit like them. But as I got my first MP3 player, I’d started to accumulate and learn tricks from songs I was drawn to on the radio. I was also getting into The Beatles, and writing sunshine-y pop-rock songs about how good life could be.
Which artists would you consider to be your musical influences?
Top of the list has to be The Beatles. They taught me everything I know, especially about chord sequences. I’m a superfan. I’ve probably listened to more of George Harrison songs than anyone else’s. There’s a lot of Britpop there, like The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Oasis – from them I’ll always be a sucker for Be Here Now. It’s such a unique album, and I’ve always tried to make big-sounding records with dense soundscapes. Radio-friendly pop-rock bands like Semisonic, The Cars, and Supertramp as well. I’m always interested more in songs than albums or artists. There’s a lot of songs by artists that managed to pull it out of the bag perfectly, just once or twice, and it’s a shame to neglect those. I’ve often found unique and beautiful work there.
Will you be performing live at all, this year?
Just to start with I’m playing at the Thunderbolt at the start of May for a charity gig. The proceeds are going to organisations for homelessness in Bristol.
What can we expect from String Factory in the future?
We’ll see what happens!
Thanks so much for your time and sharing your journey Dino! If you would like to know more about String Factory you can find them on all the usual social media platforms as well as staying tuned here for the latest news.