Philadelphia-based Brennan Haleski, a producer/engineer (among other skills) known as Nannerbeats, has toured the country with standout bands such as An Honest Year, Monday's Mona Lisa, Take A Breath and more. Brennan talks about life on the road, anxiety, his multi-instrumental talents, his favorite artists...and bringing Tupac back from the dead!
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi there! Thanks for taking some time to answer some questions for us today.
NannerBeats: No problemo!
TFC: Let's start with a little about the man behind the controls. Who is Brennan Haleski?
NannerBeats: Hmm...that's a tough question considering I'm still trying to define who I am. What I do know is this: I'm a 24-year-old producer/songwriter/live sound engineer/merch guy/drummer who has been taking an awful lot of risks lately in order to really make a deep mark on this planet before I go. I've spent my whole life being musical, and a few years ago decided to make music my life. I have pretty broad goals at this point and want to excel in every area of creativeness and music.
TFC: We've been watching. You've definitely taken some risks but they seem to be paying off. You live in Pennsylvania currently. Have you been there your entire life? If not, what brought you up to that part of the U.S.?
NannerBeats: Yeah, I've been in Philly for the past 10 years, but before that, I switched schools/states like it was my job. My parents divorced at an early age, which left my mom and I moving all over the place until I was in 7th grade, and I've been here ever since. I really enjoy telling people that I'm from Philly, but I'm starting to think I need to be in a more 'musical' area like Nashville (hint, hint), LA, or New York.
TFC: You can't go wrong in Nashville. Besides, WE'RE here...what more could you want!? Your company name is NannerBeats. Where'd that come from? Do you have a special love for bananas or is there no link there? LOL
NannerBeats: To be quite honest, I don't eat bananas (that's cannibalism, LOL). The name 'nannerb' is my name backwards (Brennan) and I make beats, so that's where that came from. I actually used to be BLTProductions (which is my other nickname), but i felt Nannerbeats was a bit tastier and rolls of the tongue quite nicely. It also causes people to ask me "why nannerbeats?", and 99% of the response I get, when I explain the reasoning behind it, is "ohhhhh thats AWESOME". So after teasing that name for a while, i just went with it and the response I got couldn't have been better.
TFC: The "ohhhhh awesome" was literally exactly what our response was going to be. At what age did you know you'd be pursuing a career in music and why do you think you were drawn to this industry?
NannerBeats: Well, I started playing the clarinet in 4th grade as my first instrument, I was too ADHD to sit down and learn how to read music when I was that age. But i figured out what everyone else was playing by ear, and started learning that way. My instructor noticed, and told my parents. In 5th grade I was lucky enough to receive a piano from my mom's friend, and started learning that by ear too. About a year later I got my first drum set, and it was all downhill from there. Later on in 8th grade, I started messing around with computer programs that I could make entire songs on (because i was impatient to rely on anyone else to make music with me). When i got to high school, I played my song for somebody and they noticed it was a lot like a "beat". I didn't even really like rap at this point, but when I connected with a few guys in high school (Gio610, Haze), and started really being creative with recording and making beats, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That just snowballed into the technical side of things like doing live sound, drum teching, and fixing basically everything. I had no depressive/anxiety-like emotions when I was making/working on music, which I have struggled with my whole life. So when I finally had a few years deep into doing these types of things, I realized how natural I felt, and how happy I was with it, and that if I wanted to be happy (which is everyone's goal, right?) I had to make this my life.
TFC: It's incredible how many musicians suffer from depression and anxiety or ADHD. It almost makes you think there's something connected there. Like maybe the most tormented people in the world are the most talented? Hmm...something to look into! There's a lot more to "Brennan" than just one thing. We know you tour with bands doing everything from running sound to rockin' a merch table. You recently did a kick-ass job running sound for the #SweaterWeatherTour with Take a Breath, I the Victor, and Monday's Mona Lisa, and before that you were traveling with An Honest Year on the #ThisYearsNotOver Tour. Want to give away a few "fun facts" from either one of those tours, or others?
NannerBeats: What happens on tour, stays on tour...LOL. (#TFCinsertedthishashtaginplaceofinnapropriateyetreallyfunhashtag). No, but really I have a blast running front of house for all the guys. Monday's Mona Lisa and Take A Breath are quick to let me know how my monitor/in-ear mixes were, and if they were happy so was I. I really enjoy having to make split second decisions on the board.
TFC: Is production your biggest passion? We noticed there's some incredible drumming skills happening there too! You definitely seem to be a man of many talents. What's your first love?
NannerBeats: My first passion is drumming, for sure. Besides mixing, drumming is the only thing that I can completely stop my mind with, and just let it flow. Improv jazz/funk is my favorite thing to drum to. Anything that will stop my mind from racing is my biggest passion, and the only thing that does that is drumming.
TFC: Nice! We'd love to know about some of your current projects, or those coming up. What's going on at your studio now and what can we look forward to?
NannerBeats: I have a lot of content in the tuck. I've always held everything in the essence of having an arsenal of content when I'm ready to push it, because I'm very on/off about being creative. I've been recording a lot of local guys at the studio in Philly, but have been sending beats cross-country. I'm excited about a few upcoming songs with Mic Stew. I'm also working on an EDM-ish remix for a contest that I really can't name-drop quite yet, but it will certainly be a big release for me.
TFC: Make sure you let us know that contest link if it involves voting. We like to help out whenever we can! Favorite artist. ONLY ONE. Go!
NannerBeats: Oh, hell...only one? I'm gonna cut your rules and do one artist for my favorite 3 genres.
TFC: Gotta be the rebel, don't you?
NannerBeats: Rock: Incubus, by far (mostly their older stuff..."S.C.I.E.N.C.E." and "Make Yourself" are my favorite records). Rap: Chance the Rapper. He takes one-of-a-kind to the definition. Electronic: Gorillaz. Absolute stunning genre flips and sounds.
TFC: On the production side of things, do you have a specific genre that you enjoy more than others?
NannerBeats: I really like trying to push boundaries, using sounds that people wouldn't normally use for a song. Electronic music is probably my favorite type to produce, because there really isn't any boundaries, and my type of production style fits perfectly in that area. However i can knock out a rap track quicker than any other song.
TFC: If we could bring back one musician who's passed on, and you were the one to choose...who would it be and why?
NannerBeats: Tupac. I have A LOT of questions. Not to mention we share a birthday. There's got to be a connection somehow.
TFC: Seriously? Born on the same day as Tupac? You're meant for this! If someone reading this article wants to look into working with you, what can they expect as far as services and what all you can provide?
NannerBeats: Well, if they want to hear what I'm working on, they can check my Soundcloud, my Facebook and Twitter/Instagram (@nannerbeats). I can provide custom production for ANY genre, vocal recordings, mixing and mastering.
TFC: How would they get in touch with you?
NannerBeats: Email, or DM me on social media.
TFC: As you may already know, The Fan Connection is a social media & ecommerce platform geared strictly towards artists and their fans. We have a ton of cool features we're releasing this year. Some of which are a new music player with radio-like format, professionally run Fan Clubs, on-demand merch stores, live video streaming and private chat rooms for fans and artists. Of those mentioned, which do you think will be most beneficial to independent musicians and why?
NannerBeats: Video streaming/chat rooms will be huge. Directly connecting the fans and artists together in one spot for everything is going to be huge...no need to visit a million websites for different things. It will all be in one spot. I know if I was a fan, me being my ADHD self, would get distracted having to visit a thousand different sites just to grab merch, connect, or listen.
TFC: Great description there! Brennan...thanks so much for your time. We'll be watching your success as you go.
NannerBeats: Thank YOU!
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