Glen Brady is a former DJ and former member of indie act The Glass, a man who’s lived all over the world, eventually giving up a fairly hedonistic lifestyle for sober veganism and a new act, one he’s entitled ‘Def Nettle’.
Brady describes Def Nettle as ‘funk punk’, and in his lyrics, he explores his own stories and those of the people around him: wild stories and varied experiences; a deeply personal take, all things considered, on his own life experiences. In new single ‘War Machine’, Brady pairs up with former Smiths man Andy Rourke, and sets off on what promises to be an artistic odyssey. He took time out of what sounds like a frantically busy lifestyle to tell me all about it…
First of all, congrats on the new single. I understand characters you’ve met are at the heart of a lot of your music. How do you use them in your lyric writing, and are they aware of it?
This is true. Much of my writing is based around characters I’ve met in my life and on my travels. In terms of how I use them technically, there’s usually an emotional connection. I might have some anger towards them, I might be writing about someone who has passed away. They have to have had some place in my heart. I have to have felt something deeply about them for a story to come out. Of course, this isn’t 100% conscious at first. Something they said to me or certain habits they have usually dictate something that I might find lyrically clever or useful and that’s usually the starting point. Once the characterization is up and running and I’m inspired to write about them I usually then dig deeper into who they are.
Do you think you have a tendency to meet odd people, or do you exaggerate a little when you write?
I definitely have had a tendency to meet people who live outside what most people would consider ‘normal’ society. I’ve worked in music for over 25 years now in different capacities and I’ve been exposed to a lot of people in the arts, fashion, dance etc and a lot of us work odd hours and lead lifestyles slightly estranged from what we might consider the 9-5 mentality. I must say though, there’s a lot of weird characters in what we think of as normal society too, no? I think I’ve always felt a little bit of an outsider myself. I’ve never taken the direct route. I’m even unpredictable to myself a lot of the time. My wife is like that too so our marriage works in that respect.
However I do NOT exaggerate when I write. If anything I tone things down sometimes so people don’t feel called out or embarrassed. I rarely write something so that the characters themselves would 100% know it’s them, though I’m making an exception of that just now on one song…he deserves a good bashing. We’ll see if I ever release it.
Most of the songs start being about one person but by the time I get to a third verse there are several characters that share similar traits being included in the story. I might be referring to the main protagonist as a ‘she’ but the characters could have been different sexes but share perhaps drug addiction or some other compulsion.