Penny Fortune makes music out of “bro-ship”
By Nikayla Goddard, November 29 2016 —
Relatively new to the Calgary music scene, Penny Fortune has gained momentum as a fresh face in the industry. The band is a unique mix of what the duo describes as “a contrast of R&B music with guitar and rap,” according to Myles Olsen, who contributes guitar and vocals alongside Jeremy Braynen, who heads keyboard and rap vocals.
“I think we’re super different, so [it’s] hard to put any of our albums into a genre,” Olsen says. “Our live show is even more unique, keeping it true to the song and the art of music.”
Penny Fortune began as a casual “bro-ship” when the pair met at Mount Royal University — then Mount Royal College — ten years ago. They wound up in Lethbridge to finish their teaching degrees, where the idea of forming a band began when they started casually playing guitar and rapping at a party. Olsen and Braynen both had musical experience before, but decided to take it to the next level and form an official band. Their first paid gig was volunteering to play at a fundraiser for the local surf club. The performance was packed, and the duo walked away with some unexpected cash.
The typically slow transition from basement jamming to club gigs didn’t apply to Penny Fortune and they were quickly set up for several openings, act after act.
After moving back to Calgary, Braynen and Olsen started fresh, re-networking and inching their way into the music scene in the city.
“We’re always writing,” Olsen says. “We’ve probably got seventy songs — I don’t even think that’s crazy because that’s how many we’ve written or produced and recorded. We’ve got out two pressed albums, one of them on iTunes from 2013.”
Their newest album, Loose and Colourful, was released on Nov. 5 following their last string of shows. Since then, a calm has settled with less rehearsals and less of a push for an album deadline.
Despite the hectic rehearsal nights, both wholeheartedly agree that live music is a passion.
“We love performing, and that’s something the album can’t capture. I think we’re both weird-ass dudes that love performing and are no more comfortable anywhere in the world than on stage,” Olsen says.
Future plans for Penny Fortune include heading back to the drawing board to work on evolving their sound and taking a break from shows to focus on their jobs as teachers — for Olsen, high school English, and for Braynen, junior high gym and humanities. As for their rockstar status, Olsen said the enthusiasm of their students is fantastic, especially from Braynen’s students, who he says enjoy pointing out in the comments on his videos that they are his students.
“When I taught grade six they were convinced that I was like a superstar, like I was a celebrity. And I’m like, ‘you guys know that all my views on YouTube are my mom, right?’”