Behind Words & Music: a Conversation

The latest release from This Intangible Existence, Words & Music, is a compilation album of the artist's previously released remastered original compositions. Terrell Brinlee, the man behind the act, sat down and answered a few questions.

Why did you want to do a compilation album?

“I’ve always been in a state of reimagining these works. Whenever I started recording with Billy Hillman back in 2013, I was doing this: making better recordings of previously recorded material. Recording at Hilltrax Studio, I was able to exhaust my repertoire in a way that I’d never done before. That happened over the course of about three years. Whenever I finished That You Are Mindful of Him, I knew that I wanted to give these songs another shot, and a new sequence to exist in--a final form.”


In previous interviews and essays, you’ve spoken on these songs. Has the narrative has changed at all with the new sequence?

“The concentration for this set-list was to show chronology and progress over a length of time. I wanted to hear 2006 through 2016. These songs have helped to tell my story for so long, and they have defined my artistry. They needed to be cradled together as one story the same way that I was introduced to them. There are four smaller sets within the entire playlist. The first set is a ‘coming of age’ tale, and also renders spiritual exploration in astrotheology. In the second set, Christianity becomes more prominent in the work, though that theme is throughout. The spiritual scope becomes narrow with more Biblical perspective. Thirdly, I talk a lot about accepting who you are as an individual; and lastly, depravity is recognized, and Jesus becomes the only means of salvation.”

Though professing to be a Christian, you talk about dealing with homosexuality.  Wouldn’t those seem like two conflicting positions?

“They are. W&M is a great place to tackle this idea, however. The songs articulate this better than my spoken word can. My opinions about it have varied over the past ten years, but ultimately I believe the truth stands for itself. The Bible is clear about homosexuality, so I don’t think I have to quote the book to define that position. Part of my goal is to share my experiences with homosexuality and Jesus, so that if there is anyone else in my situation they might be helped or comforted. No one has a good answer right now for people who want to follow the Lord but have this disposition. Most of the solutions come from outside the LGBT community, and I don’t think people respond to that well. I by no means claim to have the answer, but I think I have something to offer.”

How that’s been received?

“I’ve definitely gotten hate mail. It’s a bit of a hot topic these days, and the LGBT community is gaining a lot of ground politically. It’s difficult to state your case whenever it goes against an entire people group who are seeking social reform in the exact opposite direction you’re going in. You’re basically a defector or a traitor.”  

You mention That You Are Mindful of Him, which was released earlier this year. What kind of response did you get from your listeners?

“The record has been an absolute blessing to my musical career. I feel like I gained a lot of listenership because of it. I’ve said it many times before, music about the Gospel is ultimately why I do what I do; I really wanted to do a worship set, and concentrate on more obscure songs; many seem to have taken a liking to it. TYAMOH allowed for me to go back into the studio for W&M, and do all the remastering. With new listenership, I thought the timing was right to reintroduce these songs. I feel like Gospel artists are often looked at as if they are morally perfect;  W&M really levels the playing field, and promotes transparency to those listening to my story.”

What happens next for This Intangible Existence?

“I’ve been training with different piano techniques, and playing songs that are out of the norm for my musical vocabulary. I’m really looking to expand my abilities as a musician, and hopefully, my writing will reflect that, as well as my recordings. I’m sure I’m going back into the studio in the earlier part of 2017, but I’m not sure what the result will be. Traditionally I’ve done live set recording, but I would like to branch into more layered productions and create a higher quality product that focuses on one song at a time, rather than a whole set of them. This would leave the door open for later collaboration with other artists.

Words & Music, the new compilation record by This Intangible Existence is now available on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, as well as a complete catalog of covers, worship music, and other original works.