Brian Kahanek creates music + shepherds everything audio. With over a decade at Disney Worldwide Post mixing, recording and editing he now calls Atlanta Georgia and Fortyfive Studios home. With four solo albums under his belt and over 20 years as a touring + recording artist, his work can be experienced on the Guitar Hero Video Game and many feature titles.
He recently appeared on Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks, and gave us his answers on the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.
How did you come to do what you do?
I started playing guitar in 1983. I got my first 4 track recorder in ’85 or so. It found me really.
I still feel the love and intrigue that music seduced me with all those years ago. No matter how many times I say I’m gunna hang it up, I can’t keep my hands off the guitar. So here I am.
What is your first musical memory?
Getting “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” at Woolworth back in the early 70’s when I was 6 or 7 and playing them until I broke my turntable. I would air guitar and jump up and down on my bed for hours. I blame the Beatles for all of this!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
How I view the world and feel about my life are the main catalysts for me. I still get turned on by my favorite artists but It’s more about how they move me more than deconstructing how they got there.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
“Copperhead” is no holds barred aggression. It is a byproduct of me channeling my anger and hatred brought on by huge betrayal. The gift music has given me is a constructive place to put all my emotions both positive and negative. In the end the best revenge is living well and in peace, ergo this track.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
I have my bag of tricks and methods like everyone else. The biggest challenge for me is to break out of those, typical to me, arrangement choices by taking more time to develop the dramatic feeling I’m trying to get across. I know I’m onto something when the melody just jumps out. The chords and production choices become fun and natural at that point.
What is your method of songwriting?
Sitting on my porch in the evening with an adult beverage or sipping coffee in the morning with a guitar. If I wait long enough the flow starts to develop and the ideas start to come. From there it’s just being in a mossy and quiet enough head space to get out of my own way and trust that what’s coming is something worth pursuing.
How do you see your music evolving?
Well, being on this compilation is really fun for me. Jason Rubenstein has been a good friend for over 15 years and hangin with him and other musicians I trust is a positive influence. I have spent a good portion of time in the Blues Rock vein as that’s what comes naturally to me. Expanding from that feels great, however, with film music projects and more challenging choices in repertoire. I don’t want to subconsciously limit myself to genre anymore.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
The bottom line is if your music is carrying your truth then it will eventually find an audience. Give people the opportunity to discover you by leaving the hype out, that’s what the magic of music is there for. The cream rises so if you aren’t getting the reaction you’re looking for then perhaps it’s time for a trip to the woodshed.
What are you looking forward to?
The return of the creative middle class and having music drive culture again. It may not be in my lifetime but I am trying with every fiber of me to be a part of the solution.
Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org