Interview: Brett Caswell

Interview: Brett Caswell

I had the chance to sit down with Brett Caswell before playing a show at the Horseshoe with The Stanfields. Brett was gearing up for a sweaty show alongside some East coast fun.

If you’re unfamiliar with Brett’s band, The Marquee Rose, the band is made up Dave Murray (guitar, piano), Brandyn Aikins (drums), Carleigh Aikins (vocals), Lincoln Hamlyn (bass) and Sarah Morano (keys), all from Barrie. As far as how he assembled these musicians together, Brett says, “We were all very close friends, actually. I’m fortunate that way.”

While Brett Caswell does all the songwriting, he does involve the band in the process. “In the last 2 years, some of the new tunes that I’ve brought to the table have just been tweaked and they just kinda put their sauce on it and it takes it over the edge to a good place. Brandyn, especially, on drums, he’s just got these wicked ideas for drum beats. I always have an idea of what I want the feel to be like and he just takes it to another level. I always have all the words and all the chords are there and we just come up with these little twists and turns to make the songs a bit more interesting with the band.”

Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose have made a name for themselves based on their live show. Brett describes, “If you wanna come and see a really true honest, rock show of friends and musicians having a really good time on stage, then you’ll wanna come and see us. There’s no bullshit. We just get up there and we do what we do and we have a lot of fun.”

Brett Caswell also gives time to his bandmates, Dave Murray and Lincoln Hamlyn, to take the lead. He goes on to gush, “And Carleigh is one of the strongest singers you’ll ever meet, hands down. It’s almost a fact, not even an opinion. She’s so good. She just fucking awes the crowds everywhere we go.”

It’s not always possible to have all 6 members present and Brett notes, “All the shows are great, but when the 6 of us are all there, it’s fucking incredible. It’s awesome. It’s an energy that we can’t get anywhere else.”

Brett’s honest performance goes along with his honest songwriting. He says, “90% of the time the songs are very personal. I don’t tell stories from other people’s perspectives, for the most part. If you hear a song, there’s a good chance it’s just my journal in a song.”

Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose will be taking their energetic live performance to Kempenfest this weekend. Kempenfest is an arts and crafts festival held in Barrie, that people from all across Ontario flock to attend, but “this is the first year that they’re actually pushing a music angle.” While the festival has always had a big act to open the festival, this year they’re pushing indie music and “trying to draw younger audiences out.”

“I think over the whole weekend it’s 25 bands, which is pretty decent. The do still have big acts. Sloan is on the Friday night and we’re opening for Sloan. Saturday night is Jim Cuddy, which is pretty awesome, from Blue Rodeo. So those are the main stage headliners. And then we have the indie stage, on the Saturday/Sunday, with Cuff the Duke, Zeus, Dinosaur Bones, The Junction and Paso Mino. And we’re going to play again on the Sunday.”

Brett notes the importance of people coming out to the festival. “If we can’t make it work out this year, we might not get a chance to do it again, so I hope that people show up. ‘Cause it’s a great thing, man. It’s probably the best list of bands in one weekend that the city of Barrie has ever seen, as far as I’m concerned.”

As far as a drunken story, Brett shares a story that starts off before their CD release party. “A few weeks prior to it, I met this fellow randomly at a bar. It turned out he was this multi-million dollar music publisher down in the States. Anyways, we hit it off that night, me and my friend. So it turns out he’s in town because he’s part of the music for this huge blockbuster Hollywood movie with these big stars in it. So he invites us out to go for drinks after we were at this other place – The Orbit Room – and this guy invites us out. We walk down the stairs from The Orbit Room and he’s got this monstrous stretch – not even limo, it was like this huge Mercedes van. We file in the back, with his bodyguard and his driver. So he takes out and we go out for drinks. And then he invites us back to his mansion that he has. He was renting a mansion while he was in town, this monstrous mansion in Rosedale. So I tell the guy about the CD release, assuming he’s not going to show up. Sure enough, as soon as I’m about to strum the first chord for the CD release, he shows up again. And of course for the last 2 weeks, I was telling the band, ‘I just had the craziest night of my life with this millionaire music publishing dude. We partied our faces off.’ After the show, the whole band jumps in the limousine and he takes us back to his mansion again and we just partied our faces off again all night.”

After remarking on the generosity of this gentlemen and the experience of being in the lap of luxury, Brett says, “So the whole band got to experience that after our CD release party, which was pretty cool and we partied hard that night.”

Without hesitation, Brett says Jameson is his shot of choice.

As far as what’s on the horizon for Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose, check them out at Kempenfest this weekend. They’re playing on Friday at 6:45 opening up for Sloan on the main stage and again on Sunday on the indie stage at 7:15. There are also a couple more festivals – Peak to Shore and the Shores of Erie Festival. Check ‘em out!


Categories: Interviews


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