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SYML builds momentum on Sacred Spaces tour

SYML builds momentum on Sacred Spaces tour

SYML (Welsh for “simple”) is the solo musical project of Seattle-based singer-songwriter Brian Fennell, previously of the indie band Barcelona. Brian hit it big with his song “Where’s My Love” following its feature on the popular TV show Teen Wolf back in 2018. It received Gold certification in Canada in 2018, and held the number one position on Canada’s CBC Top 20 charts twice.

Flying V Productions presents SYML live in concert when Brian brings his Sacred Spaces Tour to The Spire in Kingston on May 14, 2022. We had a chance for a brief conversation earlier this week to talk about his Sacred Spaces project (which includes a live album and world tour), and his pending performance in Kingston.


You had a lot of momentum in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on your tour plans. Do you feel like you’ve lost momentum and, if so, has it been challenging to kickstart things into gear two years later?

Brian: Sometimes, as an artist, you don’t have the best perspective for where you’re at any given time in terms of momentum. If you’re at a show, you can see actively people who chose to come and spend the night with you and spend that money and sing along to those songs. It has been amazing to come back to live shows after the pandemic break and see people in even bigger numbers than before the pandemic show up for concerts. As far as I can tell, the momentum stayed where it was at, if not grew from where we left off in 2020.

You’re currently on your Sacred Spaces Tour playing sold-out shows in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Sacred Spaces is the title of an album you recorded live at St. Mark’s Cathedral and released in 2021. Can you tell us about the impetus behind Sacred Spaces, the album, and its tour?

Brian: It was mostly meant to be for a livestream performance, but the audio we captured turned out to be so good. There’s something really, for lack of a better word, holy or sacred about going into these places that used to house people. You’d come together, in a church’s case, specifically for church reasons, but we wanted to do music in there, which is nothing new for a church, but, without the audience, it felt like this very human experience, from the stage anyway. We turned inwards. We were looking at each other instead of out at the crowd. From a musical standpoint, I was looking for rooms like that around the world. There are some beautiful spaces here in North America, but, over in Western Europe and throughout Europe, there are these churches and halls where people have gathered for hundreds of years sometimes. To be able to bring my music into those places has been so special and, selfishly, as a touring musician, it’s still much more fun to play in those places than in a dingy rock club. So, I feel very spoiled these past few months. The crowds have been amazing over in Europe and here since we’ve been back.

To be able to bring my music into those places has been so special and, selfishly, as a touring musician, it’s still much more fun to play in those places than in a dingy rock club. So, I feel very spoiled in the past few months.

What can your audience here in Kingston expect from your performance at The Spire on May 14th?

Brian: The thing that I’m having most fun with is this instrumentation setup. I’m traveling with one of my best friends from childhood. We still make music together. He is also named Brian, which makes it convenient. And then we have a third member, and these guys spoil me. I mean, they’re multi-instrumentalists and they bring these really, really special colours to the palette. It would sound good in an office cubicle, but, because we’re in these really special places, it just sings. You can look forward to watching those guys kill the performance and, hopefully, me just be like an angel choir boy and take you to a different place.

You’ve invited a special guest, Flower Face, to join you for this leg of the tour, which includes a few stops in the US. Flower Face is an emerging Canadian singer, songwriter, Ruby Mckinnon. What is it about Flower Face that makes Ruby a great complement to your Sacred Spaces tour?

Brian: Her voice is crazy. Her songs are crazy. The luxury that I have is Nettwerk Records, which is my label and Flower Face’s label as well. It’s such a kindred-spirits-tour feeling. I’ve gotten to do that with artists like Joshua Hyslop from BC, and Harrison Storm from Australia. All these people are label mates of mine, so this is no surprise to me, but, hopefully, it’s a pleasant surprise to everybody else to learn that we’re label mates and we come from the same ethos, which I’m really looking forward to meeting with.

After the Saced Spaces Tour, what’s next for SYML?

Brian: I look forward to being home in the northwest of here in Seattle during the summer, which is the best time to live here, and hang out with my kids. We have a new baby in our family. She’s four months old, so I’m excited to be with her and the rest of the kids and my wife. Also, I worked on a ton of music during the pandemic, which we’ll trickle out over the next year, but I also look forward to recording the next thing. I’ve got some fun ideas rattling around in the studio to be able to focus on, fully being home, so it’ll be family time and locking myself in the studio making who-knows-what next.

Photo credit: Jesse Morrow
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