Breannyn Delongis: Barista

Spotted in: Downtown Oakland

Occupation: Barista

What's your occupation?

I'm a barista—I work at Farley's.

What are you up to today?

Well, I just finished my first training as a shift lead. Now I'm going to go home and work on some recording stuff that I've been doing with my neighbor, and try to produce that better.

What kind of stuff are you recording?

It's like a weird folk project that we've been working on for a while and it's finally coming to fruition now that we've figured out to record properly! [laughs] It was really holding us back for a long time.

How did you guys go about learning to record?

Basically I've had the recording software for a long time and I just needed the inspiration to actually drive myself to do it. I, finally, was just fed up with not recording and not having a CD out there even though we've had songs forever. So we just kind of sat together and figured it out.

What have been your recent inspirations?

Oakland's a really big inspiration because I feel like a lot of people come here to figure out where they're going next—it's like a city of lost boys. So as soon as I moved here, that was a big inspiration—just everyone being kind of lost and looking for something and trying to figure stuff out. Other musicians have obviously influenced me a lot, too—going to a lot of shows in the Bay Area.

Where are your favorite places to see music in the area?

I go to the Hemlock in San Francisco a lot—they have a lot of weird local shows coming through. So that's probably my favorite place to go. Otherwise, just houses, or random, off bars. I go there the most—they have the best people coming through.

Any artists you particularly admire right now?

Yeah, there's two artists that I'm really into—Chad VanGaalen whom I saw play a little while ago and have been waiting years to see and was so excited to finally do so. And then there's this other singer-songwriter, Sharon Van Etten, who's probably my biggest lyrical inspiration.

What do you like about her lyrics?

Well her voice is beautiful, and really soothing. And what she has to say is—well, she's the only person who's ever made me want to write a fan letter. I just want to let her know how much I appreciate her saving my life. [laughs]

In what way?

If you feel like someone else understands what you're feeling when you don't feel like anybody else does—that's how I connect with music. Her words seem to me like she must have gone through something maybe not similar to me, but she felt the same way that I did at some point. So that just helped me be grounded.

What do you do in the area when you're not working or recording?

I eat a lot of pizza and burgers. [laughs] I dance around in circles in my room, I play ping pong a lot, I hang out with my boyfriend a lot—we like to go for hikes and ride our bikes.
I go thrifting a lot. That's my other main thing that I do. My boyfriend likes thrifting a lot too. I've been trying to find the best thrift stores in the area and so far Fruitvale Goodwill is the best one. It's the Goodwill headquarters for the East Bay so everything's really organized.

Have you gotten any good advice lately?

Actually, yeah I have! My co-worker Therese is really inspirational. She tries her best to make everybody feel good all the time. But she always reminds me, if I feel like there's something I can't do, that: "You are never powerless in your situation." Which is a really good thing—because it is your life. She just reassures me that it's my life and I can always change what I need to change.

I also wanted to ask you about what you were wearing because I loved your outfit!

My get-up? [laughs] Everything that I'm wearing up here was thrifted. I have a thing for crocheted and lacy socks. My best friend always gets them for me. I think these are from Urban Outfitters. And I bought these shoes new in SOHO at the Doc Marten store around 3 years ago, but everything else is from the thrift store.

And are these some favorite headphones you have on?

Yeah these are some DJ headphones. They double as earmuffs in the morning when it's cold and I'm riding my bike to work. [laughs]

Do you recommend these headphones?

These are Ultrasone headphones. I got them when I used to work at Guitar Center—they're pretty cool I guess. They're bulky and big but they flip out and they sound really nice. I'm not the resident expert on headphones but I'd recommend them!

How was it working at Guitar Center?

That was interesting. It was interesting because one, it's a corporation and I'm completely opposed to corporations now after working for so many. Two, I was the only girl there so that was always interesting. Three, it was cool because when we were slow I just got to spend a lot of time practicing guitar and drums and weird instruments that I would never feel comfortable trying on my own. Because you don't want to spend a lot of time at Guitar Center if you're not buying anything. But I was never buying anything so I tried any and everything. That was really cool and that gave me a lot of the technical knowledge base to help me in the future to learn about making music. And it's just good to have people to bounce things off of, who are also making music every day.

So you kind of got immersed in it!

Yeah, I got immersed in it, and then I couldn't handle being corporate any more, and I quit [laughs] but it was cool.

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