Brendan Maclean – Full Interview

Tell me a little about yourself?

I’m a musician from Sydney Australia. I smoke too much. I love listening to pop and love writing folk music so what I make generally ends up somewhere weirdly in between.

Has house of air been your biggest success to date?

In terms of exposure, yes. I suppose it really feels quite calculated looking back, but then again most things I do are. I don’t really see it as success or failure, more just, “What happens if I poke this button?”

Whats next for you?

Well, I’ve got some singles this year, and maybe an EP of just myself at the piano, and at the same time I’m working on this massive album for next year. It’s all music, music, music, and some acting here and there. And talking to cuties on Twitter.

Where do you spend most of your time?

In the backyard with a joint, if we’re being honest.

Whats your favourite item of clothing right now?

It’s winter in Australia so whatever is baggy and black is a victory for everyone involved. Or tight and black. Just make sure it’s black.

What music are you listening to these days?

Just this 80’s remix of Perfect Illusion

Who are your inspirations?

Freddie Mercury, Rufus Wainwright, Fiona Apple, Eddie Vedder, whoever is reading this.

Lets talk about House of Air

Do you think House of Air has opened up doors for you or quite the opposite?

The answer has to be both. Certainly some companies will never work with me again, I’ll never be on prime time television or in a Disney Movie… but was I ever going to be? I think I’ve always been a little too quirky or too gay for mainstream consumption. But really, I try to make good music, give great live shows and produce good videos – those are my aims, everything else is just done to achieve those goals. Whatever it takes.

I remember being sad to read/see/learn that many people involved with the project had their names redacted afterwards, in one way I can understand they were worried it might affect future job opportunities, but it still saddened me as the over all finished project was so strong and so good. Do you think in time they will change their view?

Some have actually already asked to be put back on, and we are more than happy too. I’m not sure what they were expected to be filming when we told them explicitly their was fisting and scat, but hey, whatever.

Do you think your hankie code video will one day be considered tame by viewers 30 years from now?

Honestly, yeah, I think it will but perhaps only because it will be viewed with nostalgia. Like when you watch an old John Water’s film and know what’s going to happen. But what I don’t think will change is our shame around sex, the body, kink… I don’t know if the human race will ever move beyond that.

Lets talk about your other music

What was it like for you to write the song called Stupid?

Stupid was one of those tracks that kind of fell out of me. I remember walking around the house in my undies, strumming on the uke and singing to the cat, and the whole song just appeared. For me it was actually about a relationship that never happened. Classic boy likes boy, boy doesn’t like boy in that way, boys continue to be friends with one of them forever longing for the other… so he makes up a bunch of reasons why he could never love that guy, he’s stupid, he’s ugly (he’s not really), he got me hot chocolate instead of coffee. But really the dream of settling down and that friend falling for you never really goes away, it just fades a little.

Free To Love – so slick and smooth. Is it about being into bad boys, if they give you attitude you are more likely to be interested?

Ha, that was the song that really found the sound for funbang1. I made it in Brooklyn, and it was just about a cutie who picked me up at a cafe. It wasn’t macho, he just had a confidence about him that was understated, a sort of, “well, I’m going this way and if you want to you should too.”

Only Boyfriend– it’s such a beautiful song and so different. Is it commentary on monogamy versus polygamy?

Oh thank you, I love that song and it really didn’t get out as much as I’d hoped. As for what it’s about, well someone once said, “If what they say is, ‘nothing is forever’ then what makes love the exception?” That piece of wisdom is the lyrics of OutKast – Hey Ya, and I suppose Only Boyfriend is my take on it. I would say I’m single, but it’s a lie to say I’m not in relationships with many people all the time. I have a lot of love and it hurts, but maybe forever relationships are super duper rare and it’s okay not to have them, ya know?

Fan Mail

Questions from staff members of PLANETROMEO

To the best of your knowledge, is the hanky code actually used anywhere anymore?

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are S&M parties where they would use it as a novelty. But in the world of PLANETROMEO where you can quite freely say what you’re into, it’s perhaps now the less discrete choice of promoting your sex life, which is what it was invented for in the first place.

do you think that it’s possible to reintroduce gay symbols/meanings to a digital generation and have them become common again?

Oh, look, I’m just happy when people turn up to my gigs wearing them. I think it’s hot too. Ha!

a pillar of semiotics/anthropology is that culture and meaning is always evolving. If old gay things [totems] are brought back, how do you think they will be reimagined, if at all, by younger generations?

I think the hanky code was a generational fashion code, and I think every generation has their own. It could be an artist you like that bonds a community. In Russia, House of Air is played in gay bars as a protest, that’s what good art is and that’s what will become our totems.


Do you think the hanky code is ready for a comeback? And how would the new gay/queer generations put it to good use?

I doubt it will make a come back, but if it does I’m totally taking credit.

While some elements of the Hankie Code prevailed unchanged – sides and basic colours are pretty much in use in most of clubs in Berlin other elements fell into disuse. I’d be curious why is that, in his opinion, red and yellow are so much more persistent then beige and mustard (let alone the lace thing 😉 )

Haaa! For the record I am winking back. Well, look it could be as simple as more people are into what the red, yellow and blue ones are as opposed to the more niche kinks. I mean, my question is, how can you see what colour hanky it is with all those lasers, I mean that or a dark room!

Ciao for now

And here’s the House of Air music video, but we can’t stress enough, it’s not suitable for work NSFW. NOTE to viewers: the last 20 seconds of the music video are particularly provocative, and may be considered shocking to some people. 

Who’s next?

If you have a favorite artist, porn star, queer public figure you’d like us to interview send your suggestion to

Enjoyed this story? Then you’ll love this one too.

In the mood for something completely different?