An introduction to: brakence

We look at the up-and-coming electronic-pop artist brakence

Zahra Hanif
22nd November 2021
Credit: Brakence via Facebook
At only 19 years old, Ohio raised Randy Findell is gaining traction as an electronic-pop artist. While many have coined Findell, stage name brakence, a hyperpop singer, his work is too emotionally fuelled to truly fit a genre characterised by distortion, with distinctly evocative vocals and equally striking lyrics. 

If there’s one thing he is, it’s transparent - his most popular song, curtly titled ‘dropout’, reveals his backstory and some context for his work. In 2019, the year after the release of his debut album hypnagogia, he briefly attended Ohio State University, but left to pursue his musical career. He puts it very plainly, he didn’t “wanna finish college”, he’s “got hella dreams”. His fans have the privilege of seeing these dreams unfold as he gains even more popularity in the anti-pop scene.

His 2020 album punk2 is the most notable work of his career to date. The range on this project is impressive, and is what’s undoubtedly brought about his more recent cult following. The delicate lyricism of ‘rosier/punk2’, is particularly remarkable, where he sings of “fiending for something to feel”. The slow pain in his voice makes you feel it too, his lost “holy connection”, and the song is both hauntingly beautiful and excruciating. On the other hand, ‘drank 3 of my parent’s craft beers to make eye contact with you’ features less coherent lyrics, but the combination of dreamy instrumentals and enhanced vocals make the song equally evocative. 

Another thing to be admired is his little social media presence, which is almost refreshing in a world where art can often be consumed by the online appearance of an artist. He only allows himself to be interpreted through his work, where he has control of what he shares, and he does use this for good. He sings candidly about substance abuse issues ("mixing dope and LSD") and alludes to mental health problems (his song titled 'prozac'). Him being open about his own struggles allows listeners to relate if they can, and feel comfort in that they are not alone. 

He also does this by having religion as a key theme of his work, more specifically lack of religion. He sings of being "sacreligious" and makes many references to "Heaven". It could be inferred as religious guilt or even just the question of religion as a personal struggle for him. Again, if listeners relate they can feel a sense of belonging in his music, making his work all the more admirable. 

Overall, brakence is most definitely worth the listen. A good place to start is "lovesong//slacker", one of his earliest singles from when he was only 16. By working your way through his older music towards his newer singles, you can observe his development and growth as an artist and appreciate his work even more. He plays his first major live shows as an opening act in early 2022, and I wouldn't be surprised if world dominance shortly followed that. Watch this space.

For fans of blackbear, EDEN, Jeremy Zucker.

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