Female singer/songwriter DORIS BRENDEL on her Last Adventure? (music-wise). Nope, surely not, there's plenty of more great stories to come from this lovely, bluesy, U.K. powerhouse vocalist (ex-The Violet Hour). Using some of the musicians Doris has been working with extensively over the last few years, along with Dave Beeson, who also produced her last album DB Driving, the brand new "The Last Adventure" was recorded in the old-fashioned way — no sequencers or click tracks — giving the album a retro feel in today's digital age. Nevertheless, there are hints of more modern influences too, but more importantly, it's basically a perfect display of diversity as you can find everything from classic Prog-Rock to Classic Rock, Opera/Pomp, Beatle-esque pop, Art-Rock, Skunk Anansie, Funk, and mere hints of the old celtic too. Geez... it's a full platter in other words and the arrangements will constantly keep you up on your toes. Great schtuff! I had a quick chat with "Doz" about the new CD (release date: Oct?) and various things such as Lady Gaga chocolate? - Here's: DORIS 'Doz' BRENDEL...

How has the reaction to your latest CD been?

Doz- Well it's early days yet – at the time of writing this, the press packs were sent out 2 weeks ago – but feedback so far has been very positive indeed. Surprisingly the more mainstream magazines are reacting well to it, especially to its diversity which is unexpected.

Any favourite songs and lyrical highlights on "The Last Adventure" and why?

Doz- I will risk sounding smug by saying 'yes!' I'm actually pleased with a lot of the lyrics on this album. My personal favourites include the title track, also 'Work in Progress' and 'Almost Perfect' both musically and lyrically, being slightly more off the wall, and 'Why Are You Still Here' which is the most progressive of the tracks. 'Latest Fantasy' works well too, and currently some dance mixes are being done of this track by Dave Ball of 'the Grid'.

What's the story/idea behind a title such as 'The Last Adventure'?

Doz- 'The Last Adventure' itself was inspired by the death of my mother. It was the first time that someone really close to me has died, and it inevitably throws up many questions and hopes and musings about what, if anything, happens after death and the wonder of the impossibly unknowable. It's not meant to be morbid, as I hope the song reflects, but to highlight a universally shared mystery.

Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?

Doz- In a word – no. The themes are very diverse, reflecting my character no doubt. Themes include, the problems of relationships, the impossible ideal of ‘love’, wife-beating, death, a bunch of middle-aged women getting drunk and chatting up young men in pubs, selfishness, religion, people who never do anything. 

Would you say it's rather moody and "difficult" album, it takes more than one spin to get the hang of your ideas?

Doz- Obviously I'm not a good person to judge. Some songs are simple and pretty immediate ('Get A Life', 'I'm not Old I'm Experienced’) and others (like my favourites) probably take a few listens...

What's your new record like in comparison to your previous ones? (and the violet hour)'

Doz- Well nothing I do will be like The Violet Hour as I wasn't the main song-writer. There are some similarities of course, notwithstanding my voice and the flageolet and a style which is very hard to pigeon-hole or categorise. As for my other albums, I feel I have improved a great deal – I just started to write some songs I can be truly proud of on the DB album, though it lacks the consistency of 'The Last Adventure'. Strangely the more confident 
and settled I become in my personal life, the better my song-writing seems to become.

Does your vision for music get affected at all by trends and changes?

Doz- I'd like to think not, but inevitably influences creep in. I've stayed away from using samples or sequencers and have kept things live, but there are a few more modern touches too

How much of an influence has Kate Bush had on your music?

Doz- Vocally none. Our voices are completely different and naturally I have much more of a blues influence than anything else. She was of course ground-breaking by writing songs that defied all standard formulae.

So, who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)

Doz- I have very varied tastes and influences. James Brown, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Free in younger days; female singers: Sam Brown, Skin, Alanis Morissette; bands: Muse, Radiohead in particular. But this is just scratching the surface. As for heroes – I've never had any.

What's the 'London' U.K. scene like for your type of music at the moment?

Doz- No-one really does "my type" of music. There are a limited number of bands that do something notably different well.

What's the best/worst thing about being a musician?

Doz- Worst: Organising other musicians and hanging around for hours. Best: writing music, performing live.

What do you do when you're not playing or listening to music?

Doz- Haha! Lots. Writing music of course – I've had a few commissions this year. Also I'm now partner in a record company with a couple of upcoming releases – so mostly sorting out contracts etc. I'm also a property developer. Otherwise I love reading books, doing logic puzzles and cooking!

What 3 words describe you best?

Confident, intelligent…… egotistical!

You are in a balloon with Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Beyonce - who would you throw out as ballast and why?

Doz- What a great question! Not one I can really answer without meeting them first. But I suspect I'd throw all of them over the side.

What is your guilty secret?

Doz- Chocolate chocolate chocolate and more chocolate. Oh yes – and I smoke.

What's your favourite 1980's album(s)?

Doz- No one favourite album, but things that stood out in the 80s for me were Cocteau Twins, U2, Jane's Addiction, The Police, Talking Heads, the Cure, Prince's Purple Rain.

What are your future plans?

Doz- Other than launching 'The Last Adventure' – of course I'm hoping it'll do well and to do some touring. I’ve already started writing for the next album and I'm hoping to get some more writing commissions too. 

If there's anything you'd like to say, add, promote, please do:

Doz- I've written a song for a charity: the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre called 'Emily's Song' (sung by Sam Blue) which will come out later this year to raise some funds for the charity. A Facebook page and campaign will be live soon and it would be wonderful if people could support it. Thank you!

MySpace site

interview by Urban 'Wally' Wallstrom  urban@rockunited.com 
Photos from Doris Brendel's website & MySpace.

15 August 2010
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