Music stories from the sofa: 12 questions for Brendan Rush

Get inspired with these music stories about musicians just like you and me. When did you start making music? What are your challenges and how do you overcome them? What are your favorite artists and music? Featuring all the talented, passionate and consistent musicians who are not on the top 100 hot acts of the world. But great artists in your neighborhood.

Music Stories #1 – Brendan from USA is not looking for fame but for fun

Music stories that need to be told

All musician we hear about in the media are the famous ones. Those who “made it” already. Those who are well known on each continent of the world and make billions of dollars a month. Media tells us about their personal lives and breakdowns and drug problems. Show villas, cars, and their fabulous kids.

Fair enough, but what about ordinary musicians? Those who are making music because they enjoy doing it. Having a passion for music and a normal day-job. Or independent musicians who make a good living my doing what they love. These people are at least as good as all the famous musicians. Don’t they all deserve to be heard? I definitely think they have some fascinating music stories to tell us all.

So in this series, I’ll introduce you to inspiring musicians from the sofasession community. So give up the funk for…

Music stories #1: Brendan, 43, USA, guitar.

If this was a movie about Brendan, this would be the soundtrack. I highly recommend listening to the song while reading.

What is your sofasession name and/or real name?

Rush27331 or Brendan, I am 43 years old and from Meriden, Connecticut in the United States.

“I will probably never make much money from my music, however, I have always loved the amount of satisfaction I have received from playing. I absolutely love it!” 

When and why did you start making music?

When I was 27 years old, my Uncle John gave me a guitar for my birthday. I remember being overwhelmed with the thought of questioning if I would ever be able to play. After sixteen years of practice, practice and more practice, I feel I am a solid intermediate electric guitar player. I also play harmonica and I try to sing.

This is a song by Brendan in collaboration with the saxophone player DonaMoth.

What do you want people to know about you and your music?

I am really proud of the fact that I have worked really hard on learning to improvise on guitar. I am well aware of my musical strengths and weaknesses and I have consistently set goals and continue to work on improvements. My guitar abilities are often humbled by the amazing people I am privileged to jam with, but I am always learning and getting better. I will probably never make much money from my music, however, I have always loved the amount of satisfaction I have received from playing. I absolutely love it!

Are you a hobby musician or a professional?

I am a hobby musician. Of course being a professional musician sounds very attractive, but I wonder if you change my hobby concept of “play” to the professional concept of “work” if it would be as much fun?

Do you wish to be a famous musician?

No, I would be happy with people just thinking I am a good person.

Do you have tips for beginning musicians?

Take lessons, play with people who are better than you, and have fun.

What are your top 5 favorite musicians of all time?

This is really tough…As I get older, I have much more interest in people who are not famous. Rather I have more interest in really good musicians that I can actually play music with.

In no specific order, nor is this a complete list, but people like Marcello, Toniop, SamBott, Monomane, Manakel, Dona, Natalia, Yalda, Zeno, Chrisbert and so many others on sofasession, musically blow my mind. There are so many great musicians on this planet and online jamming like Sofa allowed me the opportunity to see this.

If I was just going to take a walk and listen to music, I would check out Snarky Puppy, Gramatik, GoGo Penguin, Human Proof, Hozier and Russian Circles.

What are your top 5 favorite songs of all time?

This is a really tough question. I am going to mention a few albums that are fun to listen to:

Not the greatest songs of all time, but these are fun albums.

“The ability to access so much musical material and jamming opportunities are absolutely amazing.”

What are your music plans for the next 2-3 years?

Continue to play and learn. Set reasonable goals and attain them.

How do you deal with difficulties of making music?

Every challenge I find in music is balanced by the fact that I am really lucky to even be able to play. I am blessed by the fact that I get to experience creating something novel through collaboration.

What’s better: Music before the digital age or now?

The digital age is better. There are limitations to today’s technology, but the ability to access so much musical material and jamming opportunities are absolutely amazing.

Do you have tips for new users on sofasession?

I think Sofa is a wonderful community of musicians who are generally open to making music and having fun.

For new users, please understand that there is a diverse group of musicians on Sofa. You have people who sample and remix music, people who mainly play covers, and you have people who improvise. There are beginners to professional musicians on Sofa, but regardless of ability, music is what brings us all together.

The other thing I would say to new users is that playing online is not the same as playing live with others. Latency is an aspect that cannot be ignored. I am in the United States and the latency to Europe tends to be between 60 and 70 ms.
Understanding latency is like thinking about playing with others in a large gymnasium. Every 3 ms equals about 1 meter or 3 feet (for Americans) away from someone else. So at 70 ms, it is like playing with people who are 21 meters or 70 feet away from you in the gymnasium. There is going to be a level of delay you experience in playing. Our absolute threshold for detecting this latency is probably around 30 ms, but 70 – 80 is totally playable.
Having drum machines can be very helpful to set time and minimize the effects of latency. People just need to be aware that if you feel like someone’s rhythm is off, it could be due to latency. Generally speaking, if you are a new user, please be open to others and appreciate the technology.


Tell your music stories during an online jam session
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